I decided today to develop a post based on a deeply personal concept which has increasingly taken over my life and proved to be a never ending stumbling block to my pursuit of happiness within this existence. I amongst many others suffer from this notion which is as frustrating as it is at times utterly debilitating; that being anxiety. When I made the choice to write about this today, I did so in an attempt to explain how deeply this affects my day to day existence and what living with it is like. I certainly am not composing this piece to void myself of responsibility for my actions, but instead to admit that this is a part of my life which I struggle with every day but continue to fight against with every breath I take.
In trying to explain how anxiety affects my life and that of many others, it seems an almost impossible pursuit. However, I’d best describe it as an all encompassing fog that never seems to lift. As if as much as I try to evade it, I simply cannot avoid its mystifying pull. It’s that little voice in my head that tells me that all is not right and questions every decision I have ever made in addition to those that are ahead of me. I’ve often expressed the feeling as an impending sense of dread and doom which never seems to dissipate no matter how much I attempt to distract myself.
The sensation of being anxious seems to take its formation in a plain of consciousness which is too deep to consistently keep under check in the lived reality. I would liken the worrying sensation as feeling as if an object is being lowered onto my chest and slowly constricting my breathing. As I’ve gotten older the levels of my anxiety have seemed to increase to the point in which I cannot explain why I feel the way I do or what exactly it is that I am anxious about.
In the past I’ve been instructed about a whole gamut of different actions in order to keep all of this under check. This includes that of attempting to stop a thought pattern before it develops and avoiding the journey of going down that proverbial rabbit hole. However, this was just a band aid solution for me and the sensation that I so carelessly pushed down at that particular time would undoubtedly come up again later when I was even less prepared to deal with its existence.
What seems to work for me is identifying the thought, the anxious sensation and acknowledging its presence. By doing this, it seems to take some of the fear out of the sensation itself and helps me to rationally unpack why it is that I am feeling the way I am. By reminding myself of the core reasoning of these emotions I am somehow better able to root myself in reality and the things I am grateful for, ultimately pulling me out of that downward spiral.
In saying all of this, sometimes none of my efforts work. There are some days in which I am consumed by anxiety to the point where none of my coping mechanisms work. On those occasions, I attempt to remind myself that sometimes it’s okay if the only thing I do that day is to simply breathe, get through it and try again tomorrow.