Anxiety and fear…two words that pop into my world more than I would probably like them to. With what is going on in the world right now, I figured it would be a good time to bring these feelings into discussion. The uncertainty, lack of routine, and what is to be the new normal has triggered some of the qualities in one another that we often don’t acknowledge. For me, its trying to dig deep within myself to keep the strength I have gained from many years of therapy and work within myself present on a daily basis.
From a young age, I was taught that anxiety and fear of the unknown are to be a part of my daily life. I wasn't given the tools to cope with these feelings. I was more given the tools that perhaps fed these emotions. My identity was created through the idea of perfection. The idea that I am on this earth to please others and to only respond in ways that are appropriate in the eyes of the people that surround me. A bit robotic perhaps. Yes I tested these "rules" that were put into place only to be shut down rather quickly. My entire confidence within myself depended on and revolved around being a human that only thought for other humans. A lot of pressure I know. With this pressure comes anxiety, which in turn often transitioned into fear.
I was programmed to fear mistakes, negative responses, or situations that I simply did not know the answers to. As a young girl, this pressure lead me to seek abuse, self hate, and the inability to truly trust myself and any decisions I made. There were moments in my life where I was so controlled by fear and anxiety, I would try to plan each day, each moment, both good and bad. I found myself wallowing in the darkest of thoughts filled with possible situations of what "could" be. Day in and day out, I would do this, thinking I was somehow protecting myself. This destructive path lead me to find more and more unhealthy ways to control my anxiety and fear filled world. I believe with my whole heart that when we don't have the strength, tools or power to dive into the feelings of anxiety and fear, we self destruct because our souls do not know how to cope. In my personal journey, as terrible as it sounds, I found comfort in self destruction. Rather than seeking true, painful answers, it was much easier to turn the hurt to myself. To this day, I feel sorry for how I treated myself. I often say "if only I knew". I think that is why I write the way I do, so open and so vulnerable. The thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming, but what if a simple word resonates so well with someone that perhaps it saves them from a moment of destruction.
As a human being, we must be flexible with our thoughts, our emotions, our actions, and our beliefs. Life is a learning experience. If we are never taught how to learn and comfortably make mistakes, our systems will begin to find some comfort with overloading ones self with control. I am by no means perfect when it comes to dealing with my fears and anxiety, but coming from someone who was once debilitated by these emotions, trust me when I tell you these subtle tips can help.
The most impactful statement that I constantly remind myself is to breathe. My anxiety and fear heightens during the night time. The world seems so scary. Its as if every fear is HUGE, literally the only thing my minds eye can see. Every ounce of positivity or hope is blocked. I sit up in my bed, open my eyes as wide as they go, and simply breathe. I breathe loud and I breathe with purpose. I tell myself, "there is nothing I can do in this moment. Tomorrow is a new day. My kids are safe. My husband is here to protect me. My dogs will hear with anything that happens out of the ordinary. You will be more understanding of all that is floating in your brain the second the sun comes up." From here, I pray. For those of you who do not believe in this, I whole heartedly support you. What I ask is for you to speak to a higher power, spirit, or even to yourself, but out loud. For me, praying is my meditation when I am full of fear, uncertainty, and disheartening thoughts. I ask for my Poppie (my guardian angel) and God to hear me; to protect me and help these unhealthy thoughts lay to rest. For tomorrow, I will write them down and hope that they fade into an emotion that is present but not over powering. Once a new day has begun, I ask for Mother Earth to take the pain. See, we as humans think we need to take every single thing that is thrown our way. Truth be told, I personally am not strong enough to take on every single hardship. Some times my anxiety is caused from triggers from my past, changes that are out of my control, or people that say things to me that are so hurtful, the only thing I know how to do is cry. These are the moments I try to share with Mother Earth. I close my eyes, plant my feet firm onto her. I imagine all these emotions, triggers, fears, piercing words, and painful moments going into me. Yes, we must still acknowledge them no matter how painful. Once they enter me, I watch them in my imagination going through my body, creating a feeling, but not a scar. As they creep down my body to my feet, I free them into the ground. I literally give them to Mother Earth to take and release from my own being. As I write this, I can understand how crazy I may sound! But trust me, it works. I use this tool when I am around toxic humans as well. I let the earth take their poison because God knows my soul doesn’t need what they are giving.
Be kind to yourself my friends. It’s a lot right now. Heck, it’s a lot on most days. Try to not be so hard on yourself or so angry when emotions like fear and anxiety come up. They are a part of being human. As I told my son this morning, do not shut down any feeling, even if it’s a bad one. Cry if you want to cry, even if you have no reason to. Anxiety and fear are energy. They will be present unless you free them. Part of freeing them is confronting them. I know we are not all together, in person, but for once, in a long time, we are all together in spirit. We are all feeling similar things at one point or another. Perhaps this is the universe pulling us together. Forcing us to work on things within ourselves that we would otherwise claim we have no time for. Perhaps this is the universe bringing man kind back to reality, back to truth, back to what is important. Taking care of our home, our loves ones, and above all ourselves…mind, body, and soul.