EMDR

Anxiety Is Information

Anxiety Is Information

My therapist recently challenged me to start thinking of anxiety as information.  I must admit I left her office feeling a bit miffed by the idea especially as I started to contemplate how my anxiety plays out. It’s usually a full body and mind phenomenon. Heart racing, mind running laps around me, sweating, and searching for a way out. Sometimes I’m awoken this way in the middle of the night too and then the insomnia side takes over. If anxiety is information in these moments then what could it be telling me?  I’m dying – That’s usually the only answer I can come up with. Even though my rational self knows that’s not true because I’ve lived through each anxious moment and period in my life thus far it still feels that way.  Then, I spend my remaining energy focused on ways to find relief in those moments instead leaning into them. Apparently, that’s what might be missing.

This concept had swirled through my consciousness for weeks until I finally decided to give it a try knowing I wouldn’t get it right the first time.  Embracing something as uncomfortable as anxiety must take some practice to perfect and I felt up for the challenge.  Afterall, I am known to be a pretty good listener so I should be able to pick up on what my own anxiety is trying to tell me! Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long.

Anxiety has been my bestie today. It’s ok. I’m letting her take the lead for now and I think I know what her message is-- at least this time.

I need to slow down. Take some time for myself. Meditate and journal. Perhaps there has been a trigger and I should look out for it. Not let it consume me, just notice it. Don’t let it derail me. Instead, consider what it can teach me.

I am ready to learn.

I wish I could share that I am on the other side of this already and that I’ve gained so much insight and I’m feeling great. Though that is not the case, I am hopeful it soon will be. As I work towards finding my peace again, I challenge you to search for ways to lean in to what your anxiety is telling you instead of focusing on the methods by which you can numb it, erase it, and tolerate it. Rather, try and find ways to acknowledge it, embrace it, and grow from it.

Finding Ways to Grow

With a new year ahead I find myself focused on finding ways to grow in 2019.  I want to expand my reach, find new ways to share my story, touch people whose shoes I’ve been in, and remain grounded enough to take on these lofty goals. It’s crucial to still take good care of myself because I don’t plan on sliding backwards now.

I’m in a good place. I feel like a good majority of my healing has been done (I’d say 80%). I string together more good days then bad. I feel mentally healthy and strong. I still have set backs but they are fewer and farther apart. I remain in trauma therapy and under the care of my naturopath. And I can feel my brain healing as my cognition and memory seem to be getting better. All good things! So I wonder how I can still manage to grow from here.

I started thinking yesterday about how plants grow and perhaps some of the answers I’m seeking about my own growth are rooted there.

A tiny seed gets carried and dropped by a bird or the wind and finds its way under leaves and brush to a patch of dirt.  It nestles itself down below soil’s surface and waits for rain and sun to work their magic so roots can take shape. Then a baby shoot appears and decides where to grow. Some grow straight up, confident of their path while others grow outwards looking for space among friends. And once they start off in their own direction their leaves, fruit, and blooms take shape. Always changing. Storms come, summer sun scorches, winter freezes, and still that plant changes. Birds, bugs, and bees become visitors too taking what they need to live. Still the plant grows and changes with the understanding of its environment. Always ready to embrace the changes.

PTSD was a huge environmental change for me. It shook my branches and rattled the earth below me and still I’ve managed to grow. Now I have all of these baby shoots growing from my trunk and I am so excited to see how they will take shape.

Growing. Blooming. Healing. Changing.

I’m not sure how I’ll accomplish all these goals, or how they will shape me, and change me and that’s the scary part. Until I get there I’ll just embrace my experience and see where I grow.