Are We Hiding in Our Anxiety??
I believe that we do “hide” in our anxiety. Or more accurately, get stuck on it and the symptoms that it brings.
You see, anxiety is perhaps as close as we can approach or get to the actual trauma, that caused the anxiety in the first place.
Imagine little children going up to the attic door in their home, where they have conjured up the notion of a boogie man hiding in the attic. The anticipation is too much and one screams and then they all scream, as they run downstairs with hearts beating and the adrenalin rush they were looking for.
In the case of anxiety; it starts with a seed, a feeling. Then and right then, we project the entire scenario, or at least where we know its heading to, because it has probably happened before. Next, we jump right into our role, and go for the ride that leaves us depleted. We unwittingly play the role of that weak person plagued with anxiety. Oddly, the anxiety becomes our “happy place.” A place we can go to that is familiar, however uncomfortable. And that becomes the relief, the small satisfaction of at least knowing what is happening to us. It’s like the fetal position for the brain. It doesn’t help when it becomes panic and takes you for the ride. And for us it’s like, “Okay let me roll over and assume the position.”
However!!! There is a point when the spark happens that can be a fork in the road. However weak and helpless we may feel, there is a choice. Unfortunately, this self - reinforced behavior creates a groove. A familiar place. Perhaps a name for the condition and a drug or therapy to address the symptomology. [I understand the need for medication and therapy, as long as resolution to the persons suffering is the goal and adjunct therapies are utilized.]
Is it possible that we are suffering from anxiety because we are fighting it. instead of going past the discomfort to find out what our anxiety is actually trying to tell us?
Over fifteen years ago, a woman came in for a massage. I saw her two or three times a year. She was a marathon runner and a healthy person. This particular time she seemed “off” to me. I asked, “How are you doing?” She reluctantly said “okay.” Then she said “Well, I have been going through some things lately.” I asked, “Like what, anxiety?” She said if there was anyone in the town she could talk to about it, it was me. [I thought, oh man! L.O.L]
She worked at a local school as an administrator. While standing in the cafeteria during lunch, she was overwhelmed by a bright light that came up through her body. Her condition prompted the staff to bring her to the emergency room at the hospital where all pertinent tests were negative.
I said, “I bet everyone is overly concerned about you.” She said they were, and kept asking if she was “okay.” I said, “That’s because you went to a place that scares the crap out of everyone. The greatest fear is losing your mind and grip on three- dimensional reality. If you had lost your arm it would be tragic, but final. And we live in a co-dependent society, so its like, “okay, are you, you yet? Because we’re not sure how to be around you.”
I told her that there was nothing wrong with her. I said that the anxiety was a messenger that was bringing her a message. I told her that something in her life was not in harmony with her highest good, and that’s why the anxiety was coming to her and getting her attention!
I told her it would probably happen again, and that her hospital visit ruled out any pathology, so she shouldn’t fear the anxiety. And instead, to keep the feeling going so she could get the message it had for her. I told her to tell everyone to back off and that she wanted to go home. I said she would make it home, so she wouldn’t have a meltdown on the highway. When you get home, draw a bath and do whatever you do to relax, and leave a paper and pen on a table. While you are relaxing in the bath, in the safety of your home, try to see the message and feelings that the anxiety is bringing you. Write down the message and the feelings you have.
Well, seven or eight months later, she came in for another appointment. She was smiling and radiant. I said, ”Wow, you look great!” She said “I feel great! Everything happened just as you said. I had another one three days after seeing you. I told them to back off and that I wanted to go home. While in the bath I realized that I had been an administrator all my life, but I always wanted to do something like you do. So I quit my job and have been enrolled in college to become an occupational therapist. Her husband was supportive of her decision. Over a year passed, and while at a county fair, she and her husband came up to me. She had a smile a mile wide as she said “Guess what Paul? I’m now in my chosen profession. Her gratitude was touching.
If we as a society would have given her medication and therapy she might have gotten stuck on the messenger and never received the message. But instead, this “crazy guy” says “Oh no, anxiety is your friend, and it has a message for you!”
I guess “Rumi” the twelfth century poet was crazy too. He says, “My friends, when fear, anger, and shame over your past come to your door, [meaning into your thoughts and mind] when these strangers come, do not turn them away, they have come to free you!” Do we need to consider the possibility that our standards for treatment of anxiety is incomplete?
The thoughts and understandings of alternative approaches goes further to psychotic breaks or breakdowns. I had a friend who grew up in India. He said that in his town when a person had a break-down, they would bring them to a quiet home. They gave them massages every day. Fed them nourishing food, spoke gently and kept them company. He said that after one month, 30 days, they were fine and well and returned to their lives having passed through the experience.
Our standard approach is “Jump on it, because something is wrong. Let’s get them right. We treat with drugs and perhaps confinement or restraint. [I realize that extreme cases require extreme treatment, but not all.] And by one month, 30 days, they are more than likely depleted. They have a name for their condition and the drugs to treat the symptoms. And instead of passing through this ‘Dis-ease” they get stuck in it.
I shared this insight with a psychiatric nurse. She agreed, and shared a personal experience that supports this unique and perhaps un-orthodox approach.
Her mother had a nervous breakdown. They found a unique facility for her treatment. It was founded by a woman who had a breakdown and was put in a straight jacket. She was shocked by her treatment and their approach to her condition. It inspired her to create a facility of her own. There was a separate location for extreme cases, however, the majority of the population received massages, proper diet, and alternative therapies.
And what do you know? After one month, 30 days, she went back to her normal life. Are we dragging out something that is meant to be a temporary passage through our psyche and emotions?
I’m going to go a little further down a rabbit hole. The word Shaman does not come from Lakota or other tribes. It is borrowed from from the Mongolians. There, to be a Shaman, you have to take the leap and completely lose your mind and all grip of three-dimensional reality. Then you have to heal yourself and find your way back which can take years. Then you are honored as a Shaman and can truly help others. Either you know where the huckleberries are, or you think you do.
So was the psychotic break of the Shaman to be, a bad thing? Or a powerful, personal rite of passage, and the refreshing of ones’ life, a respite and a chance to re-group.
I might expect some criticism from the mental health community. What I am suggesting is that we look at the soulful nature of the conditions that we are treating as a disease.
Lastly, I will say that “Your Issues are in Your Tissues.” Massage and energy work done by a true vessel is invaluable in treating anxiety, panic, grief, and p.t.s.d.
Paul recently published a book on anger, titled “I hate you and you know why” available on amazon.
His u-tube video, “Paul Odian working on the elderly has over 50,000 views
Paul facilities hands on energy work in Chewelah, called Divine Energetic Healing. For more information go to paularmenodian.com.