Worry, concern, apprehension, happens to you.... It's inside of you. Haunting you.
Sometimes it is uneasiness, fearfulness, intrusive thoughts. It separates you from the world around you. It can even block you from the people and things you care about.
Perturbation moves through your membranes...that mind-racing irritation, that tension-nerves-are-fried angst. It's crabby agitation, a sense of misgiving, a living nightmare.
You hope no one sees it.
It happens... feeling misunderstood, frustrated, electric, can't-shake-the-feeling-someone's-looking-at-you.You-feel-surrounded-by-dry-heat-like-bread-in-a-toaster-set-on-HIGH. When you look into someone’s eyes, you find you look away. Otherwise, they might see something you don’t want them to see.
You are afraid to lower your guard. Your shoulders are so tight. Clenched teeth. It's difficult to take a deep breath. Someone told you that you have RBF. Resting Bitch Face? You can’t hide the face. It’s yours. But does it really look that bitchy when you are just sitting there?
It happens.The feelings...ghosting in-and-out-of here...heebie-jeebies, butterflies, jitteriness, the jitters, twitchiness. You just can’t shake the raw sensations of discomfort.
Your heartbeat-beat-beatbeatbeatbeatb-b-b-b-b-beat...oh...yeah...that...bad b-b-b-bad feeling...something will go wrong... You think “I don't want to die. But then again I might just not want to exist when things are so weird inside me.” You wonder if something is really what’s wrong with your heart. With you.
The mantra feeling is something-bad-is-going-to-happen.You can't go out...you just feel tired...distracted, pre-occupied, pressured. Like springs are going to pop out of your head, or your chest will explode.
You want to sleep but your mind is racing… You wonder, Will it ever stop? Do I have to take a drug? Do I need more psychotherapy? What coping strategy won’t take so much time or cost so much money? Am I doomed to look forward to wine-o’clock every day? Are gummies my future nutrient?
Self-doubt, self-denial, self-hatred... Is it shame or am I just super self-critical because I am so wired? (Does anyone else feel like this?)
You keep it a secret. You are waiting for a solution to show up. You don’t want the same old same old. You suffer through the brutality of worry. You fight your electric-tense muscles. Your head flip-flop-flip-flops on your pillow.
You wonder how you can stop these feelings.You have to stop it. You have a lot to do...to be… You are smart, accomplished. You can get stuff done on the outside. Why is it so hard on the inside?
You wonder, Who out there can help me?
The truth is, you do have a hunch that there is an explanation, and you want to use it to solve this problem. You know there is an answer. And, when you find it. This will be done.
I know it feels awful. But I am going to urge you: Don't get attached to the label "anxiety".
It will take away all of your power. (Better said, the people who assign this label to you make it convenient for you to give away your power.) It only became a label in the 80s. A committee sat around a table and made it official. There was something to sell (pharma), and it needed to match to a diagnosis (voila! "anxiety" was born).
It is natural and normal to experience anxiety. The experience of anxiety is unpleasant...even horrible.
But, please know: Your brain is hardwired to give your body and mind feelings of danger and dread for a reason.
Anxiety is not a condition. It shouldn't be a noun.
It is a collection of emotions. It should be a specialized verb that describes the collection of emotions that take over your psyche and your body.
The moment you grab that label - anxiety - and attach it to yourself, is the moment you agree to look at yourself and the world through the lens of someone who suffers from anxiety.
Don't do it.
Say NO to the label.
What the heck? How is it that 40 MILLION Americans 'suffer anxiety'? (And the rest don't? ...like ever?)
“You HAVE anxiety,” proclaimed your doctor, or said your therapist.
What is it supposed to mean, anyway? Really. What does it mean?
• One person experiences agitation, easy anger, jumpiness and dread.
• Another person experiences worry mixed with anguish, and shortness of breath.
• Another person experiences muscle tension and repetitive thoughts.
• Another person experiences a fluttering heart, racing mind and easy crying.
• Another person experiences a fear of death and constant questioning of the unknown.
• Another person experiences self-consciousness, easy embarrassment and sweating.
There is a unique person for every and any combination or permutation of a long list of related signs and symptoms describing typical responses to what is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. So the list goes on and on.
And each one "has anxiety"?
I'll tell you what the label "anxiety" is good for. It's great to use as a bucket for a long list of sufferings. It's easy to dump just about anything in there. In addition to the miseries I've shared above, there is a vast array of signs and symptoms too long to list in this here manifesto that even includes headaches, back pain, indigestion, constipation, insomnia, menstrual problems, menopausal challenges, erectile dysfunction...and more.
Dump everything into the bucket. Then sell some drugs.
Fair Warning: Nouns used as labels can be dangerous.
You already know this. Someone in your life must have told you it's rude to call people names, spread rumors, or talk behind someone's back.
"She is fat."
"He is stupid."
"She has herpes."
"He has issues."
Oh, I know. I know. It's hard to avoid using labels. And, yes, I suppose it is kind of satisfying to call someone a name now and then. And, who hasn't gossiped once or twice? And, yes, we have all talked behind someone's back. So, yeah, nouns can come in handy when we are in the mood to criticize...or just blabber on to hear ourselves talk.
Better, yet, wouldn't it be fantastic to use nouns for less nefarious purposes? For example, what kind of blast would it be if we could do a little more of this:
"I am a genius."
"I am one-in-a-million!"
"Look at my inspiration!"
"I have luck!"
No matter which words we choose, it's amazing how a single noun can conjure up an entire encyclopedia of feelings, images, emotions, judgments, expectations.
You've gotta respect those things called nouns.
Just a bunch of letters lined up in a row...can mean so much.
Now, just imagine what kind of powerlessness happens when either you label yourself - or you allow someone to label you - with the word anxiety.
Slap the word "my" before it, and it's worse.
Put the word "my" in front of any noun, and you own it. It's YOURS.
I advise you to separate those two words at as far a distance as you can. Put a mile between your "my" and "anxiety". Don't let them within an inch of each other.
I am not an Anxietist.
I don't believe anxiety can be had.
I do believe it can be experienced.
Poor anxiety. It should have been a verb.
Laughing. Crying. Anxieting.
That way, it could have been transient.
Just passing by like any other emotion in the human biodrama.
I call anxiety a happening.
That way it can remain a noun, but act like a verb.
Stop kneeling in front of the Altar of Anxiety. Get up. Turn around. Walk away. Or, run up there, grab Anxiety by its feet, turn it on its head and shake it silly.
You decide if you are an Anxietist.*
Do you really believe it has power over you?
I don't. No sirree.
I know where the power is.
It's inside you.
Before we go further, how's that working for you? Having a diagnosis?
Who gave you the diagnosis? After what kind of work-up? What kind of exam, questionnaires, evaluation was done before the word was jotted down on your permanent health care record?
Did you know that, officially, to get the diagnosis, the health care professional has to have concluded from your history (that you've explained, in detail) that you've had 3 or more of the following 6 things happen "for more days than not" in the last 6 months:
Are those six things general enough for you?
Also used as criteria are these two beauties:
Then there is "If these persistent 3 of 6 things are not explained by another mental disorder or by a substance that is causing them, they are, indeed, indicative of the diagnosis, ANXIETY." Ta-DA.
Hey. If these offerings don't strike you as lame generalizations in a timeline, I don't know what to say. You are on the wrong page.
If, however, you are wondering, yourself, what is the value of such a wave-of-the-hand diagnosis for you when you still feel like crap, then you belong here. Because, my friend, this is all about solutions for the stuff that is being labeled anxiety.
(Oh, yes. There is this. The one value that you might not benefit directly from, but that is as real as the nose on your face; That is the pharma revenue of an estimated 10 Billion USD $$$ this year, alone. Cha-CHING.)
I assure you. Anxiety is not a diagnosis. It is a happening.
You do have all you need (to resolve this thing called anxiety). It's right inside your own body and mind.
You may not know it yet, but I do. And you will, too.
That's why I am here. To help you. To get you some connection. Strategies. Tools. Thought-provoking lessons. Know how.
You can be DONE with anxiety. I'm not kidding.
(If I could do it, anyone can. And, I've done it.)
*Definition of ANXIETISM
1: the origin and perpetuation of the existence of an uncontrollable, abnormal condition that cannot be resolved but can only be controlled. The condition is marked by overwhelming feeling that include an irrepressible sense of apprehension and fear; often accompanied by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate); characterized by intractable self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it.
2: the teachings formulated by American healthcare intelligentsia and introduced into the American culture and perpetuated by the pharma marketing egregore, that emphasize the existence of an abnormal unchangeable state, that is characterized by feelings of powerlessness to overcome one's inner stress dynamics, and the inherent inability to cope with threatening events that result in anxious feelings, moods, and emotions.
If you are like me, you are not an Anxietist. No. No. Au contraire, though we do not deny the phenomenon of stress, we believe what is known as anxiety is a transient condition. We believe it is feedback that a limit has been reached. We believe it can be interpreted and stopped, without having to rely on drugs, psychotherapy, or costly or expensive coping strategies. We believe we can feel as right as rain...once we learn how to be the bosses of our own brains.
I love that word.
(I just made it up. I will admit: It looks like a type-o. And that's why I love it.)
It means High Functioning Anxiety Survival Kit.
It's time to start collecting some tools.