Anxiety. Does It Have to Be Like This?
The anxious and curious mind
What motivates anxiety? In a sense being human is experiencing discomfort, then doing something about it. Whether that's the fear of mice that means a better mousetrap or dissatisfaction with the world that raises great ambition.
Anxiety makes me question everything. It forces its way into my head, fills it with future discomfort so that I fear not only probablity, but possibility. Natural questions become difficult to bear and I'm walking on eggshells with the weight of 'why?', 'what if', 'does it have to be this way?', because I cannot answer. My feelings and my body reply, with adrenaline and a forever-burning fire in my core, legs, lungs. As though, before I take my first step, I've taken my last. That swiftly kicks off all sorts of trouble, in a way satisfying those all too pressing questions except it isn't in a good way. It isn't even in an emotionally satisfying way, but it's almost relief.
Psychotherapy and anxiety
For all the logical arguments I know (and, if I had to guess, if you have an anxiety disorder you know many), logic itself is never going to rule the day, which is where the limits of many current anxiety therapies stand; Psychotherapy for anxiety often consists of varied attempts to tame the anxiety-plagued mind such that it comprehends the merits of rational thought, and is able to put aside, for a time, the state of helplessness and panic conjured up by the questions, curiosities, frustrations of life.
Injustice can be eliminated, but human conflicts and natural limitations cannot be removed. The conflicts of social life and the limitations of nature cannot be controlled or transcended. They can, however, be endured and survived. It is possible for there to be a dance with life, a creative response to its intrinsic limits and challenges ...
To that state, to the pre-conditions of anxiety, there must be another answer. It isn't something one generally comes upon in a 12 week course of CBT, DBT, meditation or mindfulness. For many it comes in the finding of a psychotherapist who'll not only understand but go the distance. Someone with whom to dig deep, discover where anxiety ends and the rest begins, to break apart the world and unearth new rules for living.
We all need tools to do the job, clearly that comes first, but afterwards, in the not-so-quiet of the night, when the questions come knocking again, and again, what do you hold onto? What can treat anxiety, after the second panic attack, and just before the dread of waking up tomorrow?
Panic and preoccupation
Anxiety is not relieved by the sublime because it is preoccupation, so reassurance sounds like fantasy, misdirection. It is that pre-condition which needs treating if anxiety is to be overcome. It is not enough to comfort, or explain. Anxiety must be met with ingenuity. Whether we consider ourselves creative or not.
Its really only been in moments where I've been responsive to my states, needs and difficulties, that I've been able to manage anxiety, see it for what it is; Not the whole world, not bigger than I am, but a slippery darkness with which to contend. A night which seems to stretch into and beyond forever but which in fact has borders and which I can oppose with a sense of security and, perhaps more importantly, adequacy.
White, K. (2011, September 18). Anxiety. Does It Have to Be Like This?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2011/09/anxiety-does-it-have-to-be-like-this
Author: Kate White
[...] ComorbidityPosted on November 16, 2011 by Holly Gray / by Holly GrayKate White writes about what living with anxiety is like. Natasha Tracy shares her experiences with bipolar disorder. New HealthyPlace blogger Jack [...]
Your blog on anxiety really resonates with me. Anxiety causes paralysis of analysis for me and affects every phase of my life, sadly.
I wrote about anxiety and depression in a recent post and wonder still which comes first, my anxiety or my depression.
A link to that post is here....I would welcome your thoughts.
Hi One Man,
Thanks. :) I'll pop along and check out your post.
Thank you so much, Kate for "hitting the nail on the head !"
As a survivor of incest and after YEARS of therapy and the uncovering of volumes of memories I continue to experience anxiety daily as well as frequent panic attacks. Sleeping through the night is a RARITY !
I have been told by many well-meaning friends that I "just need to remember more abuses" and then I will magically be healed.
I have found that I do better when I am able to accept the anxiety in my life and realize that it was formed in my cells by countless occasions of being abruptly awakened during the night and put in nightmarish situations for years.
I embrace the wounded child and realize how precious she is. Then I surrender my frailties to a Loving God who comforts me and opens my eyes to spiritual truth. I am a wounded warrior for the cause of healing for all children. For this I am grateful.
I will not run away in fear during my anxiety but surrender to a greater plan for gaining depth and more love in my life and ultimately in the lives of many other wounded souls.
Hi Celeste, and thank you!
If we had a dollar for every well-meant comment 'eh. :)
You may also get something out of the blog a friend of mine writes. From what you said, I think perhaps Jaliya's perspectives on trauma and coping have much in common with yours -both in terms of wisdom, and experience.
Hi, I am an anxiety coach. I started having panic attacks and migraines when I was 13. I TAUGHT myself recovery and I am now teaching others with my gigantic toolbox!