As usual it has taken me longer than expected to write this blog. My aim is to blog once per month however there are so many current developments underway with it's just a feeling (To improve my service and reach out to more people), as well as making contact with all the people who write to me that I seem to miss my opportunity to sit down and blog on time. My aim is to get better at this in the future!.
This blog is all about being able to find the ability to stand back from the spaghetti that makes up your Anxiety and see the bigger picture, the bigger cycle going on. I know from my own experience that learning to have the ability to do this effectively will have a real positive impact on your recovery. It will give you the ability to stand back and see your Anxiety and it's symptoms from a different distant perspective, over time giving you the ability to step in and out of it and most importantly, to back away from it at the times that you need to.
I will try to explain my point:
Anxiety is not you and it does not and should not define you as a person or be allowed to become who you are. Anxiety is a condition that is here temporary just as Chicken pox or flu would be. They consume you for the duration of their time with you and then they go and leave you alone to get back to who you were.
There is no real difference as whatever you "get " will consume you with symptoms and feelings for a time but the difference with Anxiety is that people do not see it like that, they see it as utterly consuming and a part of them that will never leave and that is just not true. In doing this we actually make it a part of us. Our perspective is different.
If you were to have Chicken Pox your perspective would be very different, you would see it as a temporary thing and would EXPECT certain symptoms such as spots or a fever to happen. You would allow them and accept them even if you didn't like them and understood that they would make you feel bad for a short time.
This acceptance and understanding allows the symptoms to come and to pass over, with you then returning to normal function. You do not make the symptoms a big focus, you just try to live life the best way you can while they are there.
Anxiety is actually no different. Whatever triggers your Anxiety to start in the first place, you make it worse, continue it and make choices that strengthen it, keeping yourself stuck and making it bigger and bigger until it does take over, does consume you and does become your life and who you are. You have to firstly understand that the responsibility of this lies with you. You may feel out of control and powerless, but you are very much in control. Your own choices are making this worse, Anxiety has not got the ability to hurt anyone, however bad it feels it stops you doing nothing, you do.
So going back to what I was saying, like Chicken pox causes spots, fever and uncomfortable itching, Anxiety has its own symptoms going on too.
The mistake people make when they suffer from Anxiety is that they focus on the symptoms and thoughts and get caught up in them, living them daily and limiting their life's to accommodate how they are feeling. Continuing this will mean that Anxiety stays firmly with you and does become part of you because you are making it part of you, no other sinister reason!
This is all Anxiety is and can do, trick you into concentrating on the Spaghetti and fearing the thoughts and symptoms enough to stay stuck. It cannot do anything else because all of its makeup is actually harmless
If people were to change their perceptions enough to stand back from the noisy spaghetti and symptoms that Anxiety throws at you to scare you and keep your focus, such as scary thoughts, horrible physical symptoms and sensations which create behaviours, then they would become aware of the bigger cycle that is going on. They would start to see the condition itself and the SYMPTOMS it creates rather than having extreme concentration of the content of thoughts and fearing the physical sensations for example.
Focus on the symptoms and sensations keep you stuck and locked in the cycle, living the Spaghetti.
Standing back from the thoughts and symptoms and beginning to see this as "Anxiety" as a condition making these symptoms come, allows a change in focus, perception and can totally begin to reverse how this affects you and the fear you feel.
If I use myself as an example, if I were to have a scary obsessive thought 15 years ago, It would have immediately raised my fear levels and internal alarms. I would have questioned why I had the bad thought as I am essentially a good person, I would ask myself questions such as "Does this thought make me a bad person" or "If I have this thought enough will it make me do it", I would then try not to think the thought, which would make it come more and each time I had it, I would trigger all the fearful feelings and terrible physical sensations associated with Anxiety. I was trapped in the Spaghetti, losing my focus on the outside world and staying locked in the cycle, seeing no way out.
If I had a thought now, my response would be very different as my whole perception of my Anxiety and the way I view it is very different. I now understand things a lot more and have become much more self aware. I know that if I get overly stressed or take too much on, the way that stress manifests within ME is to give me some symptoms of Agoraphobia and maybe some distressing thoughts. My response now would be to note the incoming thought, and naturally pay no attention what so ever to the content of it. I would be more inclined to think , oh why is ANXIETY trying to throw some symptoms my way? Maybe that is a signal that I am maybe doing so much or worrying excessively about something. I would know it was time to step up my maintenance routine, go to the gym to burn off my excess adrenalin, watch my eating to make sure I am not eating foods that would continue to stimulate my nervous system, and I would take it as a warning that I need to slow down my routine, limit my stress and work though it. I wouldn't see the thought as a threat at all, just that it is a warning signal that I am maybe slipping in my routine of looking after myself.
Can you see what I mean? I no longer see the symptoms or worry about the physical sensations, I only see the bigger cycle going on and I understand the mechanisms of how that works and what makes it up. Nothing more.
This whole change in the way I view any Anxiety I fell and it's symptoms has completely changed the way I react to it and also the way that Anxiety can affect me. I just don't see it in the same way I did when it had the ability to affect my life and make me ill.
I believe the ability to start to look outside the "Spaghetti" that makes up Anxiety is one of the key elements to successful remission of your symptoms and the way it can affect you and impact your life going forwards.
I really hope my insight as a pervious sufferer and my sharing my experiences and what I have learnt during and beyond my own recovery helps you all in your own journeys. Anxiety does not have to be a lonely and impossible experience with no hope, I for one am right there with you and it is entirely possible to learn to change your own perceptions of this, overcome your symptoms and regain your quality and zest for life once again.
Sending very best wishes until the next time I blog,