Anxiety Hijacks Your Life
For anyone who has ever experienced anxiety, you know all too well that it can hijack your life. Anxiety keeps you stuck in stressful patterns of fight-flight-freeze by making you believe that around every corner something terrible is going to happen. This feeling can chase you in the middle of the night, arise in an important meeting, or even attack you when you are on vacation.
I have worked with hundreds, if not thousands of people in my practice who have had anxiety that is intertwined with illness. It is one of the underlying reasons why people get sick. With chronic anxiety, your sympathetic nervous system is on almost all of the time. Therefore stress hormones are constantly flooding your body. It has now been proven that constant flooding of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, can lead to many different types of chronic illness. These illnesses include: heart disease, autoimmunity, gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and the list goes on and on.
Anxiety is Pervasive in Our World
Why is there so much anxiety in the world? We don’t have to look far for the answers. To make it short and simple, it is due to the western civilizations paradigm of GO. This paradigm says you must always be achieving, doing, going, further, farther, and faster…you know how it goes. This paradigm is pervasive and insidious. I see it all the time and it is often masking trauma underneath. Think of it as a survival mechanism coming from the subconscious that says, “If only I push enough, and succeed enough one day I will be good enough”? Sound familiar? For many, this belief is running until they just can’t push themselves anymore and collapse in a heap on the floor.. as I did years ago.
Recovering Type A Personality
I am a recovering Type A personality, or you could say a recovering stressed out anxious over do-er. This all changed years ago in my 30’s, beginning with a New Year’s Eve ritual. I was at a small gathering with a few dear friends, and we had an intention setting ritual as part of our NYE celebration. In that ritual, we wrote down our intentions for the year and then ritually burned them in the fire. One of the primary things I wrote down on that paper was that I was ready to release being anxious and stressed out all the time. I remember sitting with that fire for a long time praying to God to show me what I needed to know to release and move beyond living with this high anxiety and stress…whatever it took! Now, I look back and say it worked, but be careful what you ask for…
Dark Night of the Soul
Little did I know that I was going to get what I wanted, but not in the way I wanted it. Instead of the anxiety and stress magically disappearing everything fell apart. My marriage, my work as director of a program at a liberal college, my financial stability all disappeared in a matter of months and with it my inner sense of safety.
After my physical reality fell apart, then my inner reality started falling apart. I was thrown into a multi-year dark night of the soul experience that led me down several dark pathways of remembering trauma that needed to be healed. To read more about my experience click here.
During this time my anxiety and stress were commonly off the chart. However, what I learned was significant. I discovered that my anxiety was a lid on top of what my subconscious believed was too much for me to deal with. What was underneath this anxiety were layers and layers of trauma from this life and beyond that needed healing. As I started removing the lid, coping with the wounds, and healing them low and behold my anxiety started to dramatically decrease! As I brought more capacity and healing into my being things began to shift dramatically, and the old anxiety began to melt away.
Finding Inner Peace
Little did I know that my life falling apart would eventually lead me to what I most deeply longed for…an inner peace beyond what I could ever imagine. Before my life fell apart I was too busy doing to pay attention to the more profound healing that was really needed.
I feel that one of the primary reasons why patients who are anxious feel so safe with me is because I get it. I know what chronic anxiety and panic attacks feel like. They are no walk in the park and should not to be minimized or negated. I also know the pathway of healing…because I have walked it myself.
The good news is that your life doesn’t have to fall apart, like mine, to heal your anxiety. You can make choices to courageously show up to the anxiety, to look underneath the lid, to see what’s there, and to deeply heal it. It’s worth it, for with this healing you step into the freedom and peace that you really long for.