Is it time to face your fears?

I've been working through some anxiety I have carried for the past four years. It was the result of having some health issues right at the time when I was dealing with a few other big blows in my life. Things seem to happen in clusters. (My mother always says things happen in threes. In this case it was the third thing that had happened. Maybe she is right.) I got through the initial crisis but then struggled emotionally for quite some time. Until my doctor suggested perhaps I talk to a therapist about it.

My first session with the therapist I just sat and cried. I'm not a huge crier. And I really don't like to cry in front of other people especially somone I have just met. But cry I did. For almost an hour. Sobbing, out of control with the occassional attempt to reassure her I was fine and this behaviour was unusual for me.  She assured me that this was not unusual in her experience. She said that finally giving yourself permission to face something in your life can unleash a lot of emotion. 

I've met with her about four times now. I would go every week if it was in the budget! And we've really worked through the trauma and anxiety that had been my companion for four years. I'm feeling much better.

Yesterday I read an article titled, "How we can outsmart our primitive responses to fear." (I couldn't find a link to it but I will add it if it becomes available.) The author, Kate Murphy, writes,  "If you can sense and appreciate your fear - be it of flying, illness or social rejection - as merely your amygdala's request for more information rather than a signal of impending doom, then you are on your way to calming down, and engaging more conscious, logical dominated parts of your brain. At that point, you can assess the rationality of your fear and take steps to deal with it."

 Leaving during a major snowstorm on a 16 hour flight to Taipei was definitely anxiety producing for me. I had to give my brain a lot of extra information!

Leaving during a major snowstorm on a 16 hour flight to Taipei was definitely anxiety producing for me. I had to give my brain a lot of extra information!

I found that so helpful. My anxiety and fear is just my brain saying, "Hey Sandy - I need a little more information here to process this situation."  Dealing with fear and anxiety is something that I avoided for a long time in my life. I just pushed it down and lived with this constant low level anxiety. Learning how to sit with it and acknowledge it has allowed me to put strategies in place that have been very effective. It has been hard work. It is ongoing work. But not having those physical symptoms of anxiety constantly present has been such a relief. 

It's Day 9 of the 30 days of blogging. Writing about this topic may have at one point sent me into what Brene Brown calls a 'vulnerability hangover'. I know that there are lots of people who don't even realize that they are in a constant state of anxiety. We are constantly bombarded with  information that makes us fearful of the world we live in. There are ways to deal with it - help your brain get the information it needs to deal with it. 

And if you need encouragement to get help with anxiety or depression feel free to email me.