You are not your Anxiety

For most of my life, I’ve experienced anxiety. For a period of eight years or so in my 30’s, I experienced regular panic attacks. Sometimes for me, anxiety comes in anticipation of doing something unfamiliar and other times I just have an undefined sense of anxiety that hangs over me as I go about my days.

I’ve been practicing all sorts to support myself around anxiety for a long time now. Thankfully I’ve found some solid techniques and ways of helping myself feel better and have developed a deeper understanding of the root of my experience.

I’ve shared before about how anxiety has caused me to not do things in my life due to overwhelming fear and how I’m determined to not let fear and anxiety hold me back any more. I feel called to share a recent experience of how I managed sensations of anxiety leading up to doing something new.

Recently, I was preparing for a couple of sessions I’d been asked to offer that were new in some ways to me. Knowing how anxiety can take over, I decided to use the upcoming events as a way of practicing good self-care and experimenting with what helps to make me feel calm and able to act.

What helped me to prepare, was to research well and get a good sense of what was expected of me, prepare what I was going to be doing ahead of time (but also allowing space to be able to be flexible and responsive on the day), get all my materials ready and know where I was going and how I was going to get there. With all this practical and thinking preparation done, I could then focus on reassuring myself and supporting my body when waves of anxiety came to visit.

As the day approached, thoughts about the event came into my mind. I remembered what my coach Emma Jane Argent once said to me about how she practices not thinking about what she needs to do until half an hour before she has to do it. Great advice – so as the thoughts came, I acknowledged them and said, ‘There’s plenty of time. I’ll deal with that when the time comes.’ I then practiced coming back into the present moment, breathing, pausing to listen to nature or doing a quick nervous system regulating exercise (I highly recommend Sukie Baxter on YouTube). I also made time to do some intuitive process painting and some fun mixed media painting – both sure fire ways for me to experience being in my body and present to what wants to come through me in each moment.

A couple of days before the event, I decided to do some channeled writing and asked my higher consciousness, ‘What do I need to know right now?’ This is what came through:

The Truth of You

Your fear is not real.

Anxiety hovers over the truth of who you are.

The truth of you is rock solid, unwavering, and peaceful.

The truth of you is powerful and magnetic.

The truth of you is unshakable and enough –

More than enough.

Equal to the truth of every other person you meet, regardless of the clothes you wear, the education you’ve had, the experiences you’ve experienced.

At the core, we are one.

No lesser than or greater than.

The same – one and the same.

Learn to meet this truth in others.

When you’re feeling inadequate or fearful, drop into the truth of you and see this same truth within those you’re with.

We are all seekers, looking for love.

Be the love you seek and show others they are the love too.

To connect with the truth of who you are, feel your feet on the ground, anchor yourself in the present moment, rein back your future or past oriented vision and come back to now.

In the here and now you are safe.

All is well.

You are present to what is.

Anxiety is based in ‘what if, what will they think of me?’ catastrophising thinking.

Stop and notice.

Be present to what is in the moment, anchor to the sensation of your feet on the ground and to your breath coming in and out.

All is well.

You are enough.

Enter ‘point zero’ – a state of openness to the expansiveness of the unknown.

Let yourself stay in this state of freedom from grasping knowledge and certainty.

Open to the beauty of not knowing; to things being unfathomable to the brain, but somehow knowable in the body.

Sensing truth, rather than knowing it in the mind.

Be OK with not knowing, with questions not being answered.

Be patient to what is and what is to come.

And the result?

The sessions came and went and do you know what? They went well and I was absolutely fine!
What I dreaded happening ie. my body letting me down in some way – fast breathing, sweating, not being able to think clearly or speak, didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happened. I actually loved speaking in front of 20 people in one of the sessions and singing on my own in front of 35 people in the other session (it certainly helped that half of the group were under three years of age and I was singing action songs)!!

I know my body is now going to store these positive experiences as new examples of how it is for me to be around others. Hopefully this will help to give my ‘inner threat detector’ less reason to amp up my nervous system response to this type of activity in future.

I accept that my body will probably always feel sensations of anxiety prior to doing something new (after all, my body is just trying to keep me safe) but I know I can trust myself enough to gently go towards experiences that scare me.

I can move forward. I can be of service.

And I know you can too.