Anxiety sucks the living life out of a person, and will leave them flat and fearful of the world. Gentle steps into the day can quickly escalate into agoraphobic like responses, whereby the sufferer is unwilling to face anything.
Something I would rarely fess up to until recently, is that I live with anxiety. And I can tell you it’s not a game anyone wants to play. My wife recently told how she had anxiety towards the latter half of a particular day, which reminded her of my own struggles to which she said: “I don’t know how you deal with it”. Neither do I. It’s just simply something that exists, and you learn to live with it and the palpitations, sweaty palms, misperceptions, disorientation and general fear. I guess it’s like a fire drill, if something happens, I know where to go and what to do.
When anxiety digs its filthy claws into us, we clutch our skin, digging our fingers into the body part it projects itself onto, in an effort to minimise its effects. But that only aggravates it. Clicking, twitching, fiddling, digging our heels or toes into the ground are symptoms of the mental oppression of our bodies. Historically, I have created blisters on my feet from excessive force when walking, subconsciously telling myself that this is a method of self-medication.
Sometimes, feelings projected from the actions of others synchronise with my own. Like being late, which I dislike it with a passion. So, when I know someone is going to be late, it stimulates my anxiety monkeys.
Anxiety is a mental health condition, likely a symptom of something else such as depression or bipolar disorder. So if you’re living with it, confirm your symptoms with a doctor, (an innocuous web search can leave you wondering if you have every and any condition￼) before settling on just anxiety.
Attending support groups can help, but it may also complicate things. It’s a little like being around toxic people, only, the difference is, they suffer from the same disorder which might magnify, even worsen your condition. So weigh this decision before you pursue it. One-to-one conversations with friends with similar conditions can help though.
In order to move past anxiety, you need to play your brain at the same game. Which is a difficult hurdle to overcome, considering what we’re going through.
Much like OCD, anxiety happens because we have convinced ourselves that our fears and apprehensions exist. Our brains have bought into the notion that what we fear, is an actuality we will have to compete against. It has approved our logic and will begin to prepare best for the situations to come – whether they happen or not. The truth is, our anxiety induced beliefs are mostly irrational, and we shouldn’t serve them.
The next step is to convince ourselves that these circumstances are not real and to do this we will need to decline feeding energy into it. Once this begins, momentum must build in order to ferry the normalisation of a life without negative feelings, relinquishing behaviours associated with abnormal tracks we set ourselves each day.
This can both be simple or complicated, and to facilitate this I will usually symbolise anomalous gestures/thoughts by saying out loud ‘intrusive thought’, which feels strange. But it works. Normalise this process to ascend past the bullshit, as in amongst the mindless chaos that anxiety brings, we can forget to do what is necessary.
There is only one way to do this. Force yourself regardless of how uncomfortable it may feel.
There are a multitude of different treatments for anxiety, such as shinrin-yoku, meditation and exercise and it mostly boils down to personal choice. Drug treatments are also an option. They don’t work for me personally, but they may do for someone else.
Having discussed the range of negative particulars of anxiety, it can also be a good thing. Ideas, precautions, art, lifestyles and technologies have been forged from the trampoline of this problem. Anxiety can be a helpful ally, but having too much can be a sapping venture and decorum must be formed to preserve identity and the malleability of your psychology.