Meet My Anxiety

Having generalized anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder means that from time to time, I get really anxious about things.  Things that logically, I know will be okay.  Logically, I know that I am resilient, adaptable, and capable.  But physically my mind is panicking.  My heart is racing.  I am in some imminent danger that does not make sense but I feel it.

This happened this week, the day before my interview.  Granted, I have a wonderful full-time job (and I realize how fortunate I am to say that given today’s economy).  I am actually looking to advance in the company. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. And yet the panic, the overwhelm, the fear, and the anxiety were relentless.

I made an appointment with my therapist.  And we talked about it, and I thought I would share who/what my anxiety is. After all, it is a part of me. And perhaps it will help those of you who are like me – who are sensitive to the world around us, and who may have been through some difficult experiences.

I was told to identify my anxiety. Describe what it looked like. And it was this large, overwhelming, hairy, dark, beastly looking creature. With red eyes and a panicked face. I sat with it, and we “talked.” It showed me flashes of images of all of the horrible things we had been through.  The abuse, the yelling, the hurt, the pain, the loneliness, the fear, the loss of self worth… And I put my arm around this hairy beast, agreeing that it was all really horrible. I remembered how horrible it all was. And the anxious beast (wanting to be called The Fear because it sounded cool) began to sob.

We consoled each other. And I reminded The Fear how good things were now. That even though changes were happening, it did not mean we were in the place we were before. I offered The Fear my cat, and it reveled at how cute he was.

Ultimately, we reached an agreement – where I would handle things from now on, and if The Fear felt like it needed to tell me something, I would listen.  And The Fear could do whatever it wanted while I handled things. The Fear chose to run in a meadow full of flowers.

So now, The Fear is running in a field. Happy as can be. Hair flowing in the wind. Chasing butterflies and making friends with chipmunks. And I am relieved. I was able to walk into the interview, and feel it went really well.

I tell you all of this, because I thought The Fear was forever. That The Fear would be encroaching on me for as long as I live. That The Fear would forever be scary and horrible… but it’s not.

The Fear is part of myself trying to protect other parts of myself. It is not evil or bad, even if it looked that way. It comes from a place of hurt. Of pain. And if we shed Light and love on it… It heals.

Think of it this way – every time we have been hurt, it has been because of a lack of love. Whether it is heartbreak or violence. Love was not there, and that is what hurt. So it only makes sense to bring love back – to understand and bring compassion. That is the key to healing (as corny or simple as it may sound).

So try to send the parts of yourself that you don’t really like some love. Honestly, they need it.

 

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