Thoughts Running. Heart Pounding. Hands trembling.
These are just some of the manifestations of anxiety as I talk to this very familiar being. His thoughts made it to appear as if the world is ending tomorrow. His actions were determined by an impending doom that is unlikely to happen. He seems to have kept a friend, a nosy one, whom he let himself to be a part of.
Anxiety serves to be a primitive survival instinct embedded within our minds. It keeps us alert from danger. It helps us to solve problems. And it is what makes us feel alive. Yup, anxiety creates more meaning in our lives than harm depending on how we utilize it. If there is nothing to be anxious about, then meaning cannot exist. Having an anxiety disorder feels like having a broken safety alarm system. It will create panic in you even though it just calls for a false alarm. No real danger, no real threats but, it could make you feel as if something menacing is about to happen.
This person that I talked to has been affected psychologically and cognitively by thinking, “I’m no longer safe! I have to escape! I have to live! This could not be happening to me now! Then, he starts to feel confused with the rush of thoughts that come into his mind. It is followed by physical sensation of fear and anxiety. His heart pounds fast, he trembles, he starts to feel lightheaded, he gets these hot/cold flashes flowing through his body, he perspires, and his legs feel jittery. His whole perception settles in as if the danger is happening now. His mind creates a pattern of worry after worry. After he resolves one anxious thought, his nosy friend whispers another. It victimizes him as if all the bad news in the world will chase him and eventually, get him. His friend overly warns him of the things that won’t probably fall in one place where he is, but trusts him anyway because of possibilities.
In the event of his anxiety, the possibility and our vulnerability to experience everything is what escalates it. It starts to take advantage of his desire to control things that are happening in his life. He is having a difficulty to let go because he wants to be prepared of something that hasn’t even happened yet, then again, because of possibilities.
He goes, “I’m afraid I won’t be prepared when something bad happens”
He sounded as if letting go will only create fear within him because of the insecurity it could bring. His mind automatically switches to a “fight or flight” mode even in the absence of a real jeopardy. He sees right through himself, a fragile being and therefore, he should protect himself.
As I hear all these seemingly reasonable notion, I started to feel frustrated and whispered in my thought,
“Why do you just seem to hold on to the negative possibilities? Doesn’t that ring a bell that something faulty is wired in your mind?
Then I go, “All of us will experience possibilities. But, one will not experience all the possibilities.”
I continued, “When you went back home from somewhere did you encounter an accident?”
“No”, he uttered.
“When you woke up in the morning, were you dead?”
“No”, he said again.
“When you checked your bank account, did you lose all your money from a hacker?”
“No, I didn’t”
“And now, did anything in your thought as of the present actually happened to you?”
He responded, “No… not to me but someone experienced it and that is scary because of the possibility that it might happen to me as well.”
As I listened to his answer, I took a deep sigh and said,
“The possibility they experienced is not the same possibility you will experience. Let go of possibilities because it will always be unknown. Live your life and stop living in the misery of others. Accept vulnerability and you will be flexible in facing the anxieties that come with living. Grow in the present and your future will be nourished. Though you may face trials, you are a human being capable of actualizing. You will grow and move on. Be in the moment of your existence.”
He responded with silence. Then, I saw the both ends of his mouth gradually stretching upwards as it collide with his cheeks – a smile builds up. We looked right through each other’s eyes for a moment. Took a deep breathe, nodded at each other as if we came to a clear understanding and had a last glance.
Then, I walked out leaving the mirror hanging beside our staircase.