Interview With My Old Friend Anxiety
Anxiety is a trip you never know when you are going to take. I’ve been feeling empowered since a couple of days after the election out of sheer mental necessity. Today, out of nowhere, indigestion pays me a morning visit which leads to negative thinking which leaps into full on anxiety. At first I try powering through, put your dukes up, Anxiety you’re no match for me! But my Anxiety starts doing 100 mph jumping jacks through my chest cavity. I think, pretend he’s not there, watch youtube. Before the ad ends, my Anxiety is flying fighter jets through my being. So I hand over the keys to my mind and let my Anxiety drive my body. I cancel my Life Coaching Session with my client, tell myself there’s no way I’m sending out queries for my novel, “The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues” or performing Stand Up tonight. My Anxiety has stolen another precious day.
My Anxiety and I have hung out since before I knew his name. In middle school he was what made me awkward and why kids bullied me. Freshmen year of high school he was why I cut myself with a razorblade, eventually slicing my face up, and contracting a Staph Infection which led to my left ear going deaf. In my teens I was diagnosed with every “mental disorder” in the book, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Narcissist Personality Disorder, the only common theme was my Anxiety. Luckily the meds never worked and in my early 20’s I was forced to find something that did, my own spirituality, my relationship with my “higher” self.
Through hallucinogens, meditation, and just walking around thinking, I found what I believe to be my “Soul,” the deepest part of myself. The part that loves without limitation, that knows everything is working out, that lives to give, and that never gets stuck in the drama of the physical world. So…um…how the hell do I fit my Anxiety inside my Soul?
That’s what I’m asking as I pace, freaking out, thinking I’m having a heart attack. I say, breathe, then go to breathe but my nose is stopped up. Fuck, I’m experiencing shortness of breath, I’m definitely dying now. My girlfriend gives me a hug, but her love feels bad. Plus I don’t want to be around anyone as my Anxiety makes me feel embarrassed. Not only am I terrified, having a panic attack, thinking I’m dying, but I also feel so stupid I want to be far away from everyone, even if they can help me.
Fuck it, I’m sick of this shit, if you’re killing me then fucking kill me, you asshole panic attack! It is after this powerful thought where I feel the rapidly enclosing walls of panic slow down. As if a speck of light shined through a crack and in that inch of space I no longer feel powerless. I ask, why the fuck are you doing this? Then another inch of space materializes. Holy shit, I’m talking to my Anxiety, let’s see if my Anxiety can talk back so I can understand why he freaks out.
There is an enormous lack of understanding in our world. We do not understand each other. We especially do not understand ourselves. Understanding is the first step to inner peace. When I was a child there was a bully in my neighborhood. He made riding my bike scary. I never knew when he was going to show up and throw something at me or threaten me. One Saturday morning I rode by his house to see his father verbally then physically assault him for how he raked the leaves. A feeling of understanding flooded my being. From then on when he tried to bully me it was never the same. I understood why, I understood his pain, I understood it had nothing to do with me so he had no power over me. No longer stirring fear within me, he eventually left me alone. In a state of panic, I sit down at my computer, and question myself to understand…
Justin – What’s wrong?
Anxiety – EVERYTHING!
Justin – The sun’s shining. Nothing wrong with that.
Anxiety – Shut the fuck up! That’s not getting you anywhere.
Justin – What’s specifically wrong?
Anxiety – My heart’s about to explode, you idiot! I’m having a fucking heart attack!
Justin – I think you‘re just having indigestion. We’ve had it before and everything was ok. Maybe just be more conscious of how, what, and when we eat.
Anxiety- How do you know? You’re not a doctor!
Justin – Well, you’ve been experiencing it for almost an hour and you’re not dead.
Anxiety – Holy shit, what if I fucking die?
Justin – Then you’d be dead.
Anxiety – That’d be horrible. I don’t even know what happens when you die.
Justin – You’d find out.
Anxiety – I don’t want to. I’m scared.
Justin – I know it feels like you need to be afraid, but you’re not dying, you just have gas.
Anxiety – How do you know?
Justin – I don’t but if you were, would you rather die relaxed or freaking out?
Anxiety – Relaxed.
Justin – So if you are dying then freaking out is making it worse?
Anxiety – I guess.
Justin – So then why do you freak out?
Anxiety – Because I get scared.
Justin – Why do you get scared?
Anxiety – Because I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.
Justin – That’s nice. But do you understand freaking out about not wanting anything bad to happen makes something bad happen, i.e. you freaking out?
Anxiety- I guess.
Justin – Basically you just want to protect me because you love me so much that you don’t know how to effectively handle it?
Yeah. Justin – Cool. Since I understand where you’re coming from, if you freak out, I know it is from a place of misunderstood love and you’re not trying to hurt me or put down. So I will not give you that power anymore. Instead I will work with you to teach you how to productively keep bad things from happening. Thank you for this conversation.
And just like that my chest relaxes a little bit, my breathing normalizes, my Anxiety reduces. I still feel the momentum of it, but I’m not giving it power. I’m treating it like a rambunctious child. I’m letting my Anxiety wear itself out until he falls asleep. With my new found understanding, if it comes back, I can most likely catch it in the early stages and remind it, hey, you’re doing that thing again where you are loving me all fucked up like. Let me show how to love me productively.
Now I’m not saying if you have a panic attack just interview it and everything will be okay! But I am saying we can get creative with our Anxiety. We can listen to ourselves better and understand why we are experiencing it. We can take its power away by knowing who we truly are! We are soul! We are powerful creators. We are the everything is working out. We are the limitless love. We can access the tools that can teach us how to give that limitless love to ourselves and how to understand ourselves deeper. For when we better understand ourselves we better understand how to make the most out of each experience and create the life we desire.
Much Appreciation To You,
Justin Blackburn is a Life Coach. His new coaching program “From Negative To Positive via The Law Of Attraction” is helping human beings change their negatives into positives. If you are interested in discovering how Justin can benefit your life, set up a free discovery call, by emailing Justina at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Justin Blackburn and to read Part One of his powerful novel, “The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues” go to www.justinblackburnwrites.com.