A Layperson's Guide to Dealing with Anxieties

Posted by Susan Dyson on

They say those of us who have the most anxiety do so because we are sensitive and aware of the misalignment in the world. We easily see what is not working. I wasn't sure at first if this was entirely true. There are people with anxiety who are so not aware. They do not manage their anxieties well at all. Maybe they play the victim archetype and act like there is nothing they can do about it. Or the sick person archetype and play out that there is something wrong and unfixable about them. My kids talk about their anxieties all the time. I could be more grateful that they recognize their feelings; I know that their ability to recognize their own feelings is a direct result of me doing my work to break the toxic coping behaviours in which I was raised.  

Fight Club

I'm grateful my children are aware of their feelings. Really, it’s what I’ve always wanted for them, being in such opposition to how I was raised. Except their free expression has left me in this weird no person's land where I recognize my anxiety (like my children do) yet never say anything about it (as I was raised). Rarely express it. Or 'admit' it out loud. Because, like generations before me, we do not talk about it. Number one rule about Fight Club. You don't talk about fight club. I learned from my family of origin to (ab)use substances to handle feelings. All of the feelings.

What is kindness, if not toward yourself as well?

I have spent my life giving my children better than I had. And it is biting me in the ass today. I hold back way too much. I keep it in. I am always “helpful” and supportive toward others as they deal with their worries, anxieties and concerns. I rarely offer the same kindness toward myself until I recognize I’ve got all this resentment inside of me and wonder where the heck it came from. I am learning, though. I don’t share my anxieties when they arise with others partly because I am hyper aware that dumping my crap on others is not a loving act of kindness. I also know that not asking for help is a trauma response. 

Childhood Trauma Hangovers

I am not 'over' the trauma that my sensitive soul was subjected to as a child. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it was for me growing up in the family I did. I feel fortunate. I have learned healthyish ways to cope. But I won't ever get over it. The trauma made me who I am. It made me even more sensitive. And it followed me into adulthood as I dragged my childhood hurts into relationships with two men, one after the other, who had their own unexamined childhood wounds. Honestly, I don't know how to have a normal relationship. I suspect it goes something like we try to recognize when one or the other has their stuff come up, you look at it together and separately, and you help your partner heal. Hopefully your wounds don't arise at the same time. And. It would also involve a partner who gets this. Who is evolved enough to get this. 

Hope and faith in possibility

I am having to do all in my power to hold on to hope and faith that this is even possible. I don't know. Can it be done? When I choose to believe anything in this magical, mystical human experience is possible, it feels better. But it is so hard day after day and I get tired, you know? Yet. THIS is life. This is what we are made for. This anxiety arises. This urgency, especially this week while Lion's Gate is opened, to heal the pain in the world. But the only way to do that is to heal the pain within myself. What is expressed outwardly in my experience, is nothing but a reflection of my inner experience. Contrary to what my upbringing has me believing (less so as I get older), I am not responsible for the healing of the planet. Neither are you. We are only responsible for our own healing. So, being capable of seeing the misalignment of the world does not make you responsible for cleaning up the mess. Feeling the associated anxiety, unaware of the reasons, and therefore unaware on a conscious level, is not your responsibility.

Love In Full Expression

Life is this process of unawareness, then awareness. What was unconscious rises to the surface and is made conscious. It is only then, when we become conscious of our wounding, that we can begin to heal our lives. Until then, we can only learn to manage our anxieties, be gentle with ourselves, and keep asking the question, "What meaning am I giving this?"

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

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