What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. Fear is an unconscious biological response based on your belief that something or someone is going to cause you mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual harm. Your fear circuit is activated by an internal thought and/or an external event based on your past memories about fear. Your brain projects into the future possible outcomes, based on your past experiences, and then reacts by lighting up your fear center in the brain like the event is happening now! These past experiences are stored in our unconscious and after the age of 6 we no longer have access to this part of the brain. We now operate in our conscious part of the brain only to have our unconscious fears arise when our brain perceives a threat. The role of the unconscious is to collect all dangerous events and experiences in your life in order to keep you safe.
How do I get relief from my anxiety?
I understand anxiety because I live with it. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in my late 20’s. When I was in my early 30’s, and in graduate school, I had my first full blown panic attack. I had no idea what was happening. Eventually it got so bad that I could not leave my house! I experienced the typical symptoms people describe but in addition, I experienced the depersonalization that some report. This was so frightening! I felt like I was living in another world. I did eventually, with some hard work and support, work through my fears and today I am free from panic attacks and anxiety no longer controls me.
It can be very difficult to overcome anxiety without first learning exactly what it is and why it has a hold on you.
Anxiety can be tricky. It seems to go away and then bam shows up just when you thought you had rid yourself of it. It’s the fear and worry of why you are feeling so horrible that keeps you anxious. You find yourself obsessing about it and trying to fight it because that is what you do when faced with an enemy. Unfortunately obsessing about your anxiety and trying to “control it” just makes it more powerful. When you do that you are creating a “worry loop” that triggers your thoughts and body. This cycle just feeds itself until you are debilitated mentally and physically.
Help can be achieved by educating yourself as to what is really going on when you are experiencing anxiety. Also, it’s important to take the time to re-train your brain through mindfulness and adjust your attitude. Relief comes when you can befriend your anxiety and not run from it or try and control it. I have heard it said before that the only way around anxiety is through it! So true. I have done it and I will walk you through it!