“Nervousness is the dizziness of freedom.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
Let’s be clear:
This isn’t an article about constructive considering.
This isn’t an article about how silver linings make the whole lot okay.
This isn’t an article about how your perspective on anxiousness is all unsuitable.
The youngsters name these issues “poisonous positivity.”
No poisonous positivity right here.
This is an article about my lifelong relationship with anxiousness and what I’ve discovered from one thing that received’t go away. At occasions the anxiousness spikes and feels nearly crippling. I’ve a tough time appreciating the training at these occasions, but it surely’s nonetheless there.
That’s what this text is all about.
Please don’t confuse me studying issues from one thing that received’t go away with me endorsing that factor or saying it’s a very good factor. I’d commerce the whole lot I’ve discovered from anxiousness for much less anxiousness. I don’t even like writing about it as a result of specializing in it this a lot offers me anxiousness. However I wish to write issues that assist individuals.
How a Naked Butt Sparked My Nervousness
Stranger Issues has proven how cool the eighties had been. For probably the most half, that is true. I miss arcades and the music. I miss the liberty I had as a child that I don’t see youngsters having today. I miss a few of the vogue. I don’t miss individuals not figuring out something about psychological well being.
We used to play soccer daily after faculty at a baseball discipline/park in our little city. This was unsupervised deal with soccer with youngsters rather a lot older than me.
I keep in mind one time a man broke his finger. It was pointing again at him at a ninety-degree angle. He took off sprinting towards his home. One of many older youngsters stated, “He’s working residence to mommy!” and all of us went again to taking part in.
Oddly sufficient, probably breaking my finger didn’t fear me. What did fear me was sooner or later when a child was working for a landing, and one other child dove to cease him. He solely caught the highest of his pants, pulling them down and exposing his naked butt. He made the landing anyway, however whereas everybody else thought it was hilarious, it scared me to demise.
What if that occurs to me?
I began tying my pants up with a string daily, pulling it tight sufficient to make my abdomen harm (keep in mind, this was the eighties—I used to be carrying these neon-colored pajama-pant-looking issues). I began to really feel sick earlier than we performed soccer, earlier than faculty, and earlier than the whole lot.
You’ll assume it was apparent that I used to be coping with anxiousness, however you must do not forget that within the eighties and nineties, we didn’t discuss psychological well being like we do now. We didn’t throw round phrases like anxiousness and despair. I used to be simply the bizarre child that threw up earlier than he went to high school.
The anxiousness has gotten slightly extra noticeable over the previous few years. It appears to have gotten worse since having COVID in 2020 and 2021. I don’t know if that’s a factor, but it surely appears like it’s. It has pressured me to cope with it mindfully and with extra intention. It’s by no means nice, however I’ve discovered a couple of issues.
1. Nervousness has taught me to be current.
The crushing presence of excessive anxiousness forces me to be precisely the place I’m at that second. I’m not capable of learn or write. I can not play a online game or watch a film with any sort of enjoyment. There’s nothing I can do.
This roots me within the second in a really intense, genuine means. That may appear unhealthy since I’m anxious, however there’s one other layer to it. Once I may be fully current with the physiological sensations of hysteria, I acknowledge that they’re power within the physique. Once I’m tremendous current, I can see how my thoughts is popping these sensations into the emotion we name anxiousness, and that’s the place my struggling comes from.
2. Nervousness has taught me about management.
I’ve been instructed that my hyper-independence and have to be ready for something is a trauma response. I used to be a therapist for ten years, and I nonetheless don’t know what to do with this data. I do know that anxiousness offers me a crash course in what I can management and what I can not management.
The unhealthy information is that I can’t management any of the issues that I believe are creating anxiousness. The excellent news is that I can management my response to all these issues. Nervousness forces me to do that in a really intentional means.
Nervousness additionally places my thoughts firmly on one thing larger than myself. Possibly it’s that increased energy we hear about in AA conferences and on award reveals. It’s good for me to get exterior my head and do not forget that I’m not in command of something. It’s useful to solely field inside my weight class.
3. Nervousness teaches me to have good habits and limits.
I’m unhealthy about permitting my habits and limits to slide when occasions are good. I begin consuming poorly, I cease exercising, I keep up too late, and I watch a bunch of reveals and films that beam darkness and distraction immediately into my head.
I additionally begin to enable unhealthy and even poisonous individuals to have a extra outstanding position in my life. That is all beneath the guise of serving to them as a result of individuals attain out to me rather a lot. Through the years, I’ve discovered I’ve to restrict how shut I let probably the most poisonous individuals get to me, regardless of how a lot assist they want.
Once I’m feeling good, I begin considering I can deal with something, and my boundaries slip. Nervousness is at all times a reminder that the unhealthiness in my life has penalties, and I clear home when it spikes.
4. Nervousness jogs my memory how vital progress is.
As soon as I clear home, I begin taking a look at new tasks and issues I can do to really feel higher. I begin taking the subsequent step in who I wish to be. This has been troublesome over the previous three years as a result of the waves of hysteria have been so intense, however I see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel as the nice habits I put in place and the brand new tasks and issues I began are starting to return to fruition.
I selected to let my counseling license go inactive and concentrate on life teaching as a result of it’s much less traumatic, and I’m higher at it. This may not have occurred with out anxiousness. I’ve modified my eating regimen and train in response to blood stress and anxiousness, and these are good habits to have whether or not I’m anxious or not.
5. Nervousness taught me to be light.
I’ve written and spoken rather a lot about my want to be gentler with individuals. I’m not unkind, and I’ve quite a lot of compassion for individuals, however that is usually expressed gruffly or too immediately. It’s how I used to be raised, and I usually really feel like I’m patronizing individuals if I stroll in verbal circles once I’m making an attempt to assist them with one thing.
Once I’m experiencing excessive anxiousness I really feel fragile, which helps me perceive how different individuals may really feel within the face of my bluntness. I began engaged on being gentler round 2018, and I used to be upset in my progress.
It was additionally round that 12 months that anxiousness started to grow to be a fixture in my life once more. As I look again now, I can acknowledge that I’m rather a lot gentler with everybody round me once I’m anxious. Being slightly fragile helps me deal with everyone else with slightly extra care.
6. Nervousness taught me to decelerate and ask for assist.
Once I began experiencing elevated anxiousness, it led me to make fast selections and alter issues to attempt to cope with it. This is smart. Evolutionarily, anxiousness is supposed to immediate us to motion.
The issue was that these selections hardly ever turned out to be my greatest ones and infrequently led to different penalties I needed to cope with down the road. Due to this, I’ve discovered that an anxiousness spike will not be the time to make huge selections.
If I’ve to decide about one thing, I decelerate and attempt to be very intentional about it. I’ve additionally discovered I would like to speak it out with someone else, one thing I’ve by no means been inclined to do. Asking for assist is an effective factor.
7. Nervousness helps me velocity up.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that is the alternative of what I simply stated.
Let me make clear.
Some of the vital quotes I’ve ever learn got here from the people singer Joan Baez: “Motion is the antidote to anxiousness.” (Years later, I discovered she might need stated despair as a substitute of hysteria, however I heard it the primary means).
Some duties carry anxiousness that I don’t wish to cope with. These normally contain telephone calls or emails to bureaucratic organizations or errands that I discover disagreeable and anxiety-inducing (avoiding these additionally is smart—our evolutionary legacy can not perceive why we’d do one thing which will really feel harmful).
Through the years, I’ve discovered that anxiousness diminishes if I take the steps I must take to deal with these duties. The cool factor is that this has translated over to lots of my day-to-day duties.
By appearing within the face of hysteria, I’ve gotten fairly good about doing issues after they have to be performed. I mow the garden when it must be mowed, take out the trash when it must be taken out, put the laundry up when it must be put up, and get the oil modified in my truck when it must be modified.
As soon as we begin addressing duties instantly, it turns into a behavior. Nervousness helped me do that.
Nervousness Nonetheless Sucks
So there you go. Seven issues anxiousness has taught me. I’m grateful for these classes, however they don’t make anxiousness any more easy within the second.
Nervousness is supposed to suck. It’s meant to make issues troublesome and uncomfortable for us till we do one thing to deal with the issue. The issue, sadly, is commonly un-addressable today.
We fear about issues like dropping our job, not having sufficient cash, divorce, and the final state of the world. Nervousness didn’t develop to deal with any of these items, so typically being comfy with discomfort is the very best we are able to provide ourselves.
Possibly that’s the very last thing anxiousness is instructing me.
About James Scott Henson
James is a author who needs to assist individuals overcome challenges and make vital adjustments of their lives. He has labored for over twenty years as a social employee, meditation instructor, and licensed skilled counselor. Having discovered his residence in life teaching, he helps others obtain their targets and create the life they need. As a author, James shares useful posts on Substack, writing 1000’s of phrases every month to encourage, problem, and inspire his subscribers.