FYI: your anxiety is COMPLETELY NORMAL.
It makes you human, and confirms you’re alive. Phew. Can we all get a bit real about that for a minute?! I think it would make things a lot easier for people.
I get so frustrated when anxiety is discussed as some kind of abnormality, or abomination.
Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly empathise with people going through periods or attacks of anxiety – it happens to me too, very regularly. If it didn’t, that would be super-weird and make me some kind of robot.
Befriending and working with anxiety is a big part of my work – on myself and with clients.
BUT, I think it’s really important not to pathologise anxiety, as that only makes people feel a whole lot worse, when anxiety itself is already difficult enough to go through. It’s adding insult to injury.
An extra dollop of shame or criticism to boot, that’s really rather unnecessary.
It makes me sad to see a client suffering extra from the idea that it’s somehow bad or wrong that they even have anxiety in the first place.
Normalising anxiety actually creates an opportunity to work constructively with it, and get yourself back to a more grounded, even keel, so you’re not living daily from a highly-activated stress response, or a fried nervous system!
Anxiety is our pathway home to wholeness
It actually points the way home to our true selves, whether it’s an urgent need in that very moment, or a creeping, underlying anxiety telling you that the job or relationship you’re in is really not right for you.
… Which exactly is why we like to make anxiety itself ‘wrong’, rather than look at healthy ways to manage it and work with it:
Anxiety often carries with it a truth we are not yet ready to hear.
Yet the best antidote to existential anxiety, is to live your own life fully and well. To live an authentic life, as only you can.
Anxiety comes from deeper places within you, that are wanting to be heard… beyond all the ‘shoulds’. It can be coming from too much stimulation and not enough real rest, from your inner child, from a traumatised part of you, an un-seen / un-heard part of you, the primal animal in you… or it can be coming from your bigger, Soul self, aching for you to course-correct back onto your own, unique Path to Wholeness.
Make anxiety your compass
Then it becomes easier to take practical, supportive steps to live well, despite it.
Anxiety is mightily inconvenient and a bloody pain in the ass at best, but it always ‘points out or task’.
If you try to escape or bypass it, you may loose an important piece of yourself. Your true self. If you listen to its messages, you follow the pathway home to wholeness.
This is a superb article, which I have forwarded to a number of people and it deserves wide distribution, for example, I’d love to see a version of it in the Health Supplement of The Irish Times or the Health & Wellbeing section of the Irish Independent.
I really appreciate your feedback, thank you. So glad to hear you found it relevant. And thanks for the encouragement – perhaps I should submit a piece or two to the papers indeed, to reach a slightly bigger readership with my thoughts!
All the best,