I did not know that anxiety ruled my life.

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I’m only just able, after going through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, to look back and realize the anxiety I lived with on a daily basis throughout my life and thus, how anxiety ruled my life.

I remember early on, in my twenties, when meeting new people for the first time, that I froze and didn’t know what to say or do. It was uncomfortable but for all I knew, everyone was experiencing this.

Then, in my thirties, I started noticing that when I had to meet new people for the first time, I actually felt like I was weightless, the ground underneath me was moving, and even though I moved forward, shook the hand and politely said what needed to be said, I was in a full blown anxiety attack.

I always thought that I walked with my head down throughout my life because I was afraid of tripping when in actuality, I was afraid to look at anyone. Because of the trauma I experienced in my childhood, I lived in fear of anyone around me physically hurting me or worse, emotionally hurting me. This was anxiety in action. People have teased me throughout my life for walking with my head down.

Now, I understand why I did that. It wasn’t me – it was what happened to me. This is why “PTSD” changed to “PTSS” by the mental health community. The “D” for “Disorder” is replaced by “S” for “Syndrome” because “Post Traumatic Stress” is “EVENT” related.

Anxiety with Head Down
Anxiety with Head Down

Even now that I am acutely aware of these behaviors within me, I still get nervous enough when speaking to a new mechanic or a hair dresser over the phone for the first time, that if I don’t give it forethought, I experience anxiety, stumble over my words and appear, in my mind, very foolish. So, my life is one of pre-thinking and planning to avoid these very uncomfortable feelings of ‘less-than’, ‘fear of reprisal’, ‘appearing stupid’, etc.

Is there resolution to my story? Yes. Some days are very good days but I have to stay balanced in everything that I do. If I don’t, the wonderful thing for me now is that I can see my unbalance and patiently take steps to re-balance myself.

I’m not a doctor nor a therapist. I derive my thoughts and feelings from my own experience, what I read, and the world that is evolving around me. For this reason, it is very important to me to know what other people think and feel. If you identify with my experience or if you have comments or questions – whatever – let me know.

Warmly, Susan
Together we light the way

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