Have you felt anxious lately? Maybe you’ve recently experienced self-doubt, sadness, worry, upset.
Many of my clients (and I) have reported unusual amounts of anxiety. From frequency to quantity to duration, anxiety has been hyper, rearing its head with lots of displays of sadness and tears, feelings of stuckness and concern that the choices being made are all wrong.
There’s even been a conspiracy theory that September 23 was the “great shift gateway” or an energetic frequency causing all of the turbulence and tumult in the world and within ourselves. Do I believe this? Not exactly. But, I do believe there are vibes and energies and we pick them up if we’re attuned.
Back to the anxiety. I wrote about Nighttime Anxiety a few months ago, but this anxiety I’m describing is different. This anxiety feels like “it will always be this way.” My clients and friends have called me, panicked and frantic, with questions like “what if I’m making the wrong choice and I’m bound to repeat this for my whole life?” Or, “I haven’t made any progress.” And, “I can’t stop feeling this way and I’m worried it’s forever.”
When anxiety talks, it emphasizes unusual minutiae, focusing on tiny details that become larger than life. You see, when this form of anxiety takes hold, it grabs on to us. We’re no longer in the driver’s seat. We’re silent passengers along for this scary ride. We feel all of the terrifying elevator drops and lose our sense of space and time. We’re not screaming, we’re shrieking. Anxiety, like the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland (formerly Tower of Terror), defies gravity. We can’t hear the other sounds in the universe over our yells, we can’t open our eyes to see the people who support us, we can’t smell anything, we are searching for a railing or friend to hold us into place. The thirty seconds or minute of the ride feels like years. We can’t catch our breath, our hearts are beating out of our chests, our legs and arms shaking with fear. We get dizzy or disoriented. We can’t concentrate on our surroundings. Anxiety is harrowing, utter panic.
Anxiety is grim and ghastly. It makes us feel alone, like we’re on a faraway glacier ready to crash. It feels like the snowball becoming an avalanche, destroying everything in its path. Nothing feels sacred or happy anymore. We have difficulty seeing our merits or the things we are actually doing well. One friend put it best, “I’m on an island and it’s getting further away from the mainland. It was Catalina, but now it’s Guam.” She says that as her anxiety rises, she gets more distant from her loved ones and feels less connected. She questions staying around or joining the Peace Corps. She has designs of running away.
This type of anxiety feels insidious and seems like it’s forever. But it’s not. Remember that. It will blow over and life won’t be this way always. It serves for a reason of calling attention to things that aren’t working. It makes us question or reflect, two important aspects to the human experience.
Why does it come in the first place? I believe anxiety is an opportunity, albeit a scary, gross one, to review what’s not working. It’s usually the culmination of a series of seemingly small events and thoughts and then bam! We’re fatigued and our brains connect to all of the problems that are lingering in the background.
So what do I do? First, I ask my clients to slow down (and pull over if they’re driving or get to a safe place at home). Next, it’s time to drink some water and take long breaths. Then, we start talking. I do a lot of listening. I believe the antidote to anxiety is connection and helping someone feel less alone. Sometimes these conversations are brief, but lately, they’ve been long and difficult, exhausting for my clients. My hope is to quell or reduce some of the fear and return to a peaceful state. As cliched as it sounds, it won’t last forever, and you will get through this. I promise.
For more information on working together, please visit my Coaching page. You might also like these posts: You Need A Coach, Other People’s Problems and When You Want To Say F* It