It’s getting better right now. You have found your way to the beginning, the middle, or someplace in between in your mental health improvement process by just engaging with it.
Self-help is as its name implies. You are participating in self-help the moment you’re doing things to help yourself. The moment you begin reading a book, writing, praying, meditating, being of service, or doing one of a myriad of other things, it’s getting better for you.
Regarding how you feel, it will likely take time for you to feel better, even though you are in the process of getting better. If you recently quit some type of physical addiction, you’re probably going to go through a detox in order to get your chemistry back to normal. But for every mistake that you leave out of your lifestyle—drugs and alcohol, tobacco, lack of sleep, responding inappropriately to your anxiety, etc.—there will be an immediate improvement in your chemistry.
It’s not possible to say for sure when you’ll feel better in terms of your ability to feel complete victory over debilitating anxiety. No one (including yourself) can look inside your head to the degree of being able to determine what’s going on with your circuitry. But you can feel better each and every day in which you take positive actions to improve yourself. You can be aware of what you did and in effect give yourself a “gold star.” You can have a positive attitude, even if you must force yourself to have it. Slowly but surely, it will change your mind to the extent that you’re feeling good about yourself, your recovery, and your station in life.
I’m not recommending that you deny your feelings in order to feel better. But keep in mind that your feelings are not facts about what’s going on in the material world. If you feel anxious about a perceived doomsday coming near, you can simply tell yourself that everything is satisfactory now and that your perception of doomsday might be false. In a sense you may be denying your feelings and your instincts in such a moment. But you’re doing yourself a service by taking the positive action of not letting your negative feelings overwhelm you.
Essentially, there’s a “balancing act” that has to happen in your mind. On the one hand, you cannot deny negative feelings that are telling you important things about what’s going on in your environment. On the other hand, your negative feelings can very easily get out of control and give you false perceptions that are destructive to you and your desire for healthy living. At times you cannot deny negative feelings about what’s really going on, and at other times you must override some negative feelings in order to lift yourself up.
I don’t think it is a form of denial to count your blessings in the morning before you wake up. And I don’t think it’s denial if you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself in spite of what you may feel to the contrary.
If you continue to work on yourself then things must improve. You may have some setbacks, and you have to be prepared for that. But you have to set your mind on success. The same way that a winning professional athlete visualizes success before they walk on the field, you must see yourself a winner.
Every time negativity seeps into your mind, you must override it with a positive message. Work hard to counter negative messages with positive ones. Do it continually, and do not quit doing it.