Anxiety would have to be one of the most common complaints women tell me about within the private space of their health consultation.
These anxious feelings can range from low grade and occasional, due to a certain life event such as family trauma or financial stress.
And then there’s ‘free floating anxiety’ where we feel it’s not for and particular reason. More like a constant debilitating (pit in stomach type feeling) most of the time.
Here, it’s also common to think there’s something ‘wrong with us’ for feeling this way, especially and ironically considering, that we actually have a pretty blessed life!
Hearing women’s varying stories on how they experience their anxiety has led me to write ‘Getting Yourself Some Peace of Mind’ which I hope is a helpful and simple resource for women who want to ease all of this and actually strengthen their stress ‘tolerance’ in life.
That thing where you feel you once handled stress a lot better than you do now!
One of the best things I’ve read on anxiety lately is written by Sarah Wilson in her book “First We Make The Beast Beautiful.” She has been a life long ‘struggler’ of anxiety and this is what she wrote:
“I’ve always loved the parable of the little spec of light that lives in the middle of the sun. The Little Speck calls out to God that she’s ready to find out who she is.
So God took the Little Speck and deposits her far away our into the darkness of the universe.
There the Little Speck is surrounded by pitch black, which freaks her out. Against the darkness, not surrounded by the other familiar specks of light in the sun, she sees herself alone. She cries out to God, ‘Why have you forsaken me? I wanted to see who I am! This is not what I asked for.’
God says, ‘To see that you are light you must first go out into the dark.’
In other words to see yourself – to see that you are part of a big, magnificent whole – you have to go to the depths.
I believe this now more than ever.
We get anxious if we feel we’re not connected with out true selves and what matters. Something is not right, something is missing, we don’t understand, what life is all about, and this gnaws at us. It doesn’t have to get particularly woo-woo.
It plays out as a general social uneasiness (which we think we’ll just get the knack of eventually), as a sense that we haven’t got to where we’re meant to be (in our career, in our relationships), as a persistent cynicism that it’s all a facade (the white picket fence imperative, the smug dinner party talk, the sea of selfies) as inflammation in our bodies, as a desperate need for more food, more wine, more friends, more likes, more shoes, or more throw cushions. As a dysfunction.
We’re unsettled, we grasp and we grasp out for something in the external. It’s like we’re bobbing for apples in a big barrel of water, but we come up with none of them.
But – oh glory be – by being in anxiety, by going down into the varying depths of darkness, we finally reconnect with ourselves again (probably the last time being was when we were a child.)
Because anxiety, eventually and inevitably, makes us sit in our own sh#! It takes us there, to the darkness. It forces us to do the journey. And only then can we see what we’re looking for. We can see the truth. We see it all as it is. No more facade.
Anxiety makes us come in closer and eventually we arrive at something particularly and un-spectacularly un-w00-w00. That is ourselves. Phew, hey. Phew! The exhausting outward chase can stop. It’s all right here. No need to run anymore.
We let go; we join the flow of life. It makes sense. We belong. Because that’s all there is. That’s what anxiety does for us. It guides us home. To ourselves. And when you think about it, how many of us can’t stand being in our own company for very long. We do anything to distract and fill up empty space.
And when we veer or we deviate from the truth, anxiety steps in a forcibly tells us ‘Wrong Way Go Back.’
Can we find untold wisdom and learn about who we are as a person without going through the ringer of anxiety? I guess so. But seriously, would we go there un-prodded, knowing the sheer uncomfortable grit that it takes? I doubt it.
As W.B. Yeats wrote, ‘It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.’
To grapple with anxiety is finally to understand the human condition. It is a riddle, It’s a wrangling with the truth in ourselves that gets us closer, stronger and more warrior-like. We can view anxiety as something to accept and live with.
But I prefer to say that anxiety is my superpower.”
And so I hope this resonated with you on some level or perhaps you know someone else who may like to read this (please share.)
I have written a free resource for anyone who is wanting to nourish their anxious selves – Called ‘Getting Yourself Some Peace Of Mind.’ Here I’ve put some simple steps, a few of my favourite nutrients and herbals which help strengthen and soothe your perhaps overstimulated mind, which may be the case, especially this time of year. I hope you find this useful.