Feeling anxious feels terrible. I get it! But the truth is that feeling anxious is supposed to feel terrible. Your body wants you to feel terrible because it is supposed to set off the alarm signals to make you aware of a dangerous situation and mobilise you to flee or fight. The problem is that most of the time our lives are not in real danger. Our brain is reacting to a perceived fear. Our brain reacts really fast and imagines something dangerous and our body reacts. Our brain doesn’t know if it real or not, and the body will react no matter what.
Sometimes we are triggered into a fear response without even knowing about it. It can be a smell, a colour or something that your brain remembers as something dangerous and starts the alarm signals in your body. This can happen in a split second that you don’t even realise and before you know it, you are having a panic attack and you have no idea why.
This is super frustrating because it makes us feel like there is something wrong with us. Why is my body reacting like this now and everybody else seems to have it all together. It is so messed up to feel that you are less than when you compare yourself to others.
For me, there was so much shame and guilt involved in feeling anxious, so I wanted to hide and never come back. On really dark days I wanted to end life and other days I wanted to be a bear that could hibernate for months on end. I wanted to dig myself into a big hole and only come out when this feeling would go away.
Today, I understand that my body is reacting to something. I understand that my thoughts are not real, they are just thoughts. I know that there is nothing to be afraid of. I still react. My body still reacts. I get scared and I want to flee or fight. And I should, because the energy needs to go somewhere.
I also understand that the feeling will go away.
One of the most terrifying things for me, was that I felt I was going to feel like this forever. This feeling will never go away. There was no hope. When there is no hope, all is lost. I might as well give up. Whats the point.
Then, I have people in my life that remind me that I was feeling the same last week and life has been pretty good since then. They remind me that just yesterday I said that I had the best day ever.
“Oh… that’s right 🤔”
Hope returns. Maybe I don’t have to feel like this forever.
I remember the tools I have learnt to calm my anxiety and I do them. My body calms down and I can think rational again. I try to figure out what has happened and what I can learn from this.
Why is it important that you learn more about your anxiety?
Because awareness is what will set you free. This is why people see coaches, because you become aware of your behaviour and your feelings. When you become aware you can do something about it (which coaches also help you with).
Feeling anxious feels like dying. Your body literally thinks it is going to die. And it is supposed to feel terrible. If it didn’t feel terrible, we would die as a species. The body needs you to do or change something.
Next time you feel anxious, ask yourself; what is really happening? What thoughts are going through my mind? Remember that this feeling will go away, so stay with it. If you push it away, it will come back. Understand that your life is not in danger – unless it is and then you must ask for help. Understand that your body is reacting to a trigger of some kind.
One of my triggers is responsibility. When something is my responsibility I can really freak out. Today, I know it comes from having too much responsibility when I was a child and my child brain couldn’t handle it and it reacted with fear. Today, every time I am responsible for something or someone I get triggered and react with fear. I calm my body down. I tell myself that I am safe. I tell myself that I can handle this and there is nothing to be afraid of. I breathe. I get through it.
You can too!
Tell me about your fear. How do you react? What triggers you? What do you know about your anxiety? Send me an email and tell me about your fear.