Anxiety is a Weed in Your Garden
Human beings are much like beautiful gardens. Within each of us are many different types of lovely flowers. Everyone’s garden is unique to him or her; indeed, we have different flowers—different personality traits, strengths and talents, and interests and abilities. That said, all of our inner gardens, like the dirt-and-plant sort, have a similarity. They can become peppered with, and even overrun by, weeds. For people, a very common, very noxious weed is anxiety. What happens when our inner gardens become infested with the weed of anxiety, and what can we do about it?
Everyone experiences anxiety. Everyone. It’s part of being human and thus is part of our inner gardens. (Some experts call this existential anxiety as it relates to our very lives, our existence on this planet.) Sometimes, though, anxiety escalates into an anxiety disorder. (Explore the difference between ordinary anxiety and an anxiety disorder).
Effects of the Anxiety Weed
If anxiety lies low and doesn’t bother us too much, our gardens can flourish.
Unfortunately, anxiety really can act like an insidious weed. It creeps, it chokes, it prickles, and it pokes. Like a weed in a garden, any anxiety disorder:
- Takes root deep inside of us, and its roots finger their way painfully up and down our entire being;
- Grows and overtakes our inner flowers, choking them and strangling our thoughts and emotions;
- Wraps itself around us, sometimes so tightly we remain paralyzed in one place rather than moving to a new spot away from the weeds;
- Stabs us with its thorns so we painfully feel its physical effects;
- Demands our attention so that, like the gardener obsessed with his/her weeds, we become obsessed with our anxiety; no longer can we live the beauty of our own garden because we are looking only at the anxiety that has overgrown almost everything inside.
Garending 101: How to Begin to Remove the Anxiety Weed
When the weed of anxiety has overtaken so much of our inner selves, it often feels like all hope is lost and that the weeds have won. That’s just an illusion created by the weed. The flowers are still there, and you, as your own gardener, can help them thrive.
- Look at your garden not as an overwhelming whole, but as a collection of individual flowers (strengths, interests, etc.). Where is anxiety most bothersome? Start with just that simple area and begin to unravel the anxiety flower by flower. It’s not so overwhelming that way.
- Don’t yank at the weed. You may remove a few “leaves,” but it won’t truly disappear. It’s much more effective to be patient and gentle with it and to care more for the flowers under it than the weed itself.
- Go after the roots. If you’ve ever tried to pull up a dandelion, you probably know that if you just pull at the stem, a new one will grow. You have to dig gently down, loosen the roots, and gradually extract the plant. Gently get to the root of your anxiety, and when you do, you can address it and remove it from your garden.
- Sometimes pharmaceuticals are used to remove both weeds and anxiety. Some things are dangerous and toxic, so consult with a doctor and stick with what’s safe. Otherwise you’ll damage your flowers in the process of going after the weed.
Even when anxiety overruns your garden, the garden isn’t gone and you are still there. Your status as a beautiful flower hasn’t changed at all. Anxiety weeds might have grown among your flowers, but you can, bit by bit, tend to that pesky weed and reclaim your garden.
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Peterson, T. (2014, May 21). Anxiety is a Weed in Your Garden, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, May 31 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/anxiety-is-a-weed-in-your-garden