“To worry or not to worry? This is the question.”
Today’s story is about the way I witness anxiety and continuous worrying.
Have you ever been anxious? That feeling is weird, am I right?
You are on an endless alert mode. All your senses are sharpened and skilled to smell the danger. The ablest jungle hunter is waiting for its chase in a painful stillness. All muscles are in the proper position and tightened. When you notice a trigger, even if it is not accurate, it starts the entire defense mechanism of your body. You speak to someone. It may be a familiar discussion about the weather, shopping, or any small talk. You feel something is not right – it could be the tone of the other person’s voice or simply the feeling of your overwhelming thoughts trying to make themselves in pole position, right there in your mind.
The avalanche begins.
First, with a thought, “Something is not right.” It continues with the question – should I worry or not? Of course, the answer is always yes. Then you develop, categorize and count proves that sustains the decision to worry. “I felt that inadequacy. It has to be something. This part of my body hurts. What can it be?”
Here is when the worry comes to place, with a simple what-if question. And damn! After that “if,” there is never an optimistic premise. “What if he/or she is upset? Is it me? Is it them? What if she is hiding something from me? Why did my body hurt? What if it is bad?” And it goes on and on. It unfolds, exploring all the shaded corners of the mind. These”if”s are digging the mind’s dust, getting tangled in the spider nets of your being until you reach the darker of your darkest places. “Am I going to die? Are they going to die?”
Sometimes goes beyond developing, categorizing, and gathering proves to sustain this paralyzing fear. For example, you remember a person who had the same thoughts and pains, and something terrible happened to them. Then, of course, the answer to the death question is more inclined to yes.
Paralyzed in senses for minutes, sometimes the body shakes and increases blood pressure to shiver this imaginary worry cover. You breathe in and out, in and out louder and louder. Then is when the mind starts the fight back. The anxious, overwhelming thoughts are finding their calm and slowly shut up. The logical arguments make their way back to prove that what is happening to you right now would pass. They come to hold your mind’s hand, and slowly, sometimes a bit more tired, and you come back from this ordeal.
You won again this time.
I remembered a story I’ve heard at Richard Bandler – one of the founders of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming).
“One person came into the doctor’s office and said. “Am I going to die?” and the doctor answered, “Yes!…. (pause)… but not right now. But, of course, all of us are going to die one day. It is certain. It is the only certainty we have in this life. But, what is also certain is that you are not going to die right now. One day, for sure. But that day, for you, is not today!”
For that person, reframing it this way was all that he needed. And for me, it is sometimes too.
I am curious, when you are anxious, what is that you need to overcome the moment? What is your winning strategy?
P.S. For those of you who are experiencing prolonged or often anxiety episodes, please consult a doctor or a psychologist. This blog only aims to share my experience and not to offer any medical advice.