The many strands of our anxiety and depression?
I am going to explain what I come across in my working and social life with people. Anxiety affects all walks of life, all ages, from birth to the elderly just like depression, cancer, diabetes etc. There is no set look to those who get anxious or depressed. It is not classified by wealth, creed, or country origin.
I often get asked by clients, "why am I anxious?', 'I used to be so calm'. 'I was never a worrier'.' I was also so strong and suddenly I feel as if I can't cope'. 'The pressure never got to me before'. 'Every little thing annoys me now and I am getting so angry and frustrated in situations that I was able to cope with before'. 'I was always full of life and buckets of energy'. Some of you may relate or know someone who has mentioned words like this.
I get this response a lot and dare I say it but a lot from men because they feel they have to be macho, nothing is supposed to bother them. Women get so anxious too but sometimes over different things and they tend to discuss these areas more with family friends etc. So after years of observing what triggers most people you would be very surprised from what I have found.
Firstly, anxiety and depressive tendencies don't just happen over night. For most people I have found they accumulate this state gradually over time. And its really sneaky, it sets in like a little weed in the garden and before you know it , it's all over the place. Every time you go to plan something, there it is. It will talk you out of something with justification quicker than a toddler who doesn't want to go to bed in the summer evenings because its bright. Anxiety affects people so differently, it can start out with not sleeping and then building up to pure panic attacks where someone might not be able to catch their breath or have symptoms like they feel they are think are dying. Whatever your symptoms are or the type of pattern it had created for you, there is a few tips that I will share that may or may help for you. I have found that in understanding a bit more about how it started you can resolve the root cause or certainly reduce the impact and therefore train your body not to fear it.
Our bodies are amazing on how we are put together, and we can function in a fairly normal environment under normal day to day activities. When changes occur it can and does have a major tantrum in our bodies and we have these nerve responses which changes the electricity in how we function as a human body. Electricity or energy either too much or too little changes the chemicals or hormones which help keep us balanced and well. I'm going to keep it as simple as possible. So if the electrical response goes out of whack what do you think may happen? Well it can blow a fuse or two to stop the body exploding altogether. So our fight or flight response is what happens, if we are in a dangerous situation we will have a surge of power to get us as quickly as possible out to safety. Now we are not talking, escaping from lions and tigers here, but for some their intimidating boss or family member can feel like a wild animal who is attacking your personal safety. That's an example, but for others it could have been sexual abuse, a car accident, bullying or any trauma of any kind. You will know your own situation. You may actually have been so small that you may not even remember. And that's perfectly ok too. What happens though your body is made of 70 trillion cells all working in tandem to keep you ticking over, each cell with its own memory just like your head.
As we get older, our physical body grows and we may move forward from the said incident, but the sad thing is each cell in your body remembers everything. it remains stuck at the age when this situation happened first. It remembers the hurt, the force of someones words, the physical effect if there was physical violence, sexual blockages if the boundaries or it was forced upon you. All of it. For some it creates PTSD for people who may have never been diagnosed. have you ever seen someone react in anger and blow something out of proportion and wondered what theevck just happened? Usually the person feels threatened or not believed if questioned and their inner being is trying to protect itself from a similar situation that may have happened before. or a parent will sometimes appear to be going over the top at protecting their child and rather than let the child build resilience and earn how to figure out how the stand up for themselves the parent bull dozes in and robs that child from learning the lesson.
The problem is we live in a society where to fall down under pressure it is perceived as a weakness, so most people never talk about their situations again, they bury it. Your body learns to live with your new friend, these bad memories or traumas. Its as if they becomes the black sheep of the body's family of cells. Your cellular structures takes on this new members and puts up with even though it can be uncomfortable to live with at times.
Sometimes, like an unruly child, these memories will want to break out. But no, we want to shut them up and silence them for fear of showing ourselves up. Why, because more often than not a physical pain is easier to cope with rather than rehashing the trauma of a past hurt or traumatic experience. Our brains find a way to hide the signal to release the information. Believe it or not people don't like to feel the humiliation of what they went through, of not being strong enough to fight back, looking stupid, maybe getting upset, feeling the anger all over again, all sorts of reason really. They can't forgive themselves for not being able to handle it the way they now think as an adult they could?
So after many days, weeks or years of suppressing these ugly memories your body electrical response will show itself up again. Therefore, rapid thoughts occur, fast breathing, mind exaggerating impending death, body functions increase in all area, urinating frequently, bowel movements increasing like irritable bowel etc.
For a lot of people the simple act of talking it out really helps. Exercise works too for some to release some of the nervous energy, movement of any kind can shift the intensity. The trick is to listen for the signal that is building inside your body. The anxiety shows up as this little voice that was never listened to and had to wait for you to feel almost paralysed for you to take notice.
Earlier when clients present with their symptoms, it is really never about what is going on with their current life situation, You may think it may be the straw that broke the camels back but I will always dig a bit deeper to trace the root. It can take a little while but when it surfaces clients are often shocked at what comes up for them but then they fell their reaction at how calm their body feels, how light they become as if years of heaviness has lifted in a session. I find it helps because I share my story and they can identify with my own past anxiety and sure I didn't even realise I was that traumatised at all until I wasn't.
I have nothing to hide anymore, my past is my past, it caused a shit load of grief however it has shaped me into the person I am today and I am proud of the work I have done with myself. When I am introduced to someone with anxiety, it is easy to spot, I can recognise the walk, the body language, all the symptoms because in truth I had them all. Feeling suicidal, depression, weight gain, being a pleaser, not liking myself, making jokes and putting myself down constantly, over loaded with distractions to avoid my mind slowing down to avoid becoming rational for 2 seconds so I could self regulate. No, wouldn't happen I was completely off the charts. However overtime, I had no choice but to figure this stuff out otherwise I was looking for a way out of here. I had 3 girls to look after so that wasn't an option back then.
As I am typing this post, I am smiling to myself at how many may identify with some of the symptoms, because I see people are amazing and we all learn to function with huge amounts of resilience and courage and live incredible lives under extreme traumatic experiences. maybe like me, you might not want to admit some of the above traits. I always used to think no that's not me but Mary or Johnny fits the type with anxiety and depression.
Truthfully we all carry anxious energy, it was designed to keep us on alert but turns against us and gets a bit out of whack when overused.
Would it shock you to tell you that the root of it all is either fear or the past and fear of the future, the unknown?
Depression is usually when we get stuck and disconnected from our lives because or from a trauma, and anxiety is when we are afraid of what might happen. Most people actually identify with both depression and anxiety. They may have a hyper disposition so don't fit the typical stereotype of depression. Depressive states are believed by many that you are stuck in the bed, no energy and want to kill yourself. That's not true at all. A lot of people are depressed due to disappointment in their lives, unfinished business, regrets on opportunities not grabbed, communication breakdown in relationships, not being happy in relationships but made to feel guilt or shame for wanting to leave the unhealthy space and be happy, or not being believed in some situations. So the fear of moving on, standing up for oneself, can cause great anguish in people that may lack the courage or the permission to move forward.
The amount of people that come to me that don't know that it is their right as a human not to take crap from people in their life is so sad. Their body may be deteriorating because they cannot confront certain sore topics with their spouses, parents, children and have given up.
Just to let you know who ever reads this and may be afraid to confront someone, because of threatening reaction or being manipulated into thinking you are being selfish for standing up to be counted. Ask for help or contact me or a trusted friend to assist you in letting you have your say. I find writing it out helps you to get rid of the nervous energy first. It helps to sort it in your head first.
People who go through anxiety, need to understand everyones brain works and responds differently, so not everyone will be able to see things from your point of view. Telling someone with anxiety to calm down is not great If they don't know what it feels like to be so out of your body, for starters they may not even hear you because their body is going through episode of rapid heartbeat and racing mind.
What we have discovered is a lot of people can was in the middle of the night in panic, because somewhere their brain is trying to process a memory that needs to be released.
what I would suggest is Breathe, Breathe deeper and Breathe deeper again. Focus on wiggling your toes, feel the bed or chair where you are, if you have to stand up, concentrate on what the floor feels like. This is called grounding, and sometimes your soul has left your body and the panic is designed to call it back. Only we are not taught how to do this safely. Breathing works, and when you feel yourself getting calmer, sip some water slowly. Place your hand on your heart, feel your heartbeat slow down with the breathing. If you have someone nearby, open up and talk about what you think happened or what may have triggered the panic, even if it feels silly or stupid. If you are on your own, get the pen and paper out and ask yourself where did that come from, you will be amazed at what pops up in your mind.
This lockdown is creating a lot of anxiety for people because we don't know what the future holds, so if you can, focus on the now. In this moment feel the peace and stillness of what's around you.
You are safe, You are loved, You are amazing.
For most of us growing up, we never heard those words, not because we were bad, or disliked or hated, but our parents or elders never heard them and lived without knowing the power of what they can do to help someone feel relief from living in Fear of either their past or their future.
I am safe at all times in all places in all situations
My body is constantly telling me what I need to do to release old memory baggage
I am excited at releasing old hurt and pain that I did not know existed in my body
It is safe for me to open my lungs and draw in cleansing air in order for me to feel energised
Life is amazing at giving me much needed time to look at how I can recover and live the best version of me
It is safe for me to stop controlling my thoughts and I understand fully why it is ok to be fearful at times.
Being fearful and anxious is normal, it allows me to take time to slow down and breathe.
If you or someone you know feels anxious or depressed, there is always help. Contact me, I do understand, and will guide you in the best way I can. 087 1612517
I mentioned earlier that what men worry about and what women worry about are different, so here are two examples.
Men feel in adequate about not being good enough. Women feel in adequate about their bodies.
Behind the mask of these worries lie the main real reasons like rejection from parents, teachers, school buddies, past relationships or current lovers.
Remember you are not alone, ever. some one somewhere can help you release the panic.