Anxiety

Everywhere I look I see deep resignation to a life of constant anxiety. No one gets enough good sleep. Everyone takes CBD or a glass of wine to take the edge off and debates which works better… Wellbutrin or Celexa? The shadow of anxiety pervades so thoroughly and for so long that we’ve lost hope of it being any other way. We wear busy like a shield, as if we can chase away the quiet desperation by simply outrunning it.

I’m here to tell you — stop. You’re not the victim of anxiety. It doesn’t have to be this way, but you’re going to have to do some heavy excavation to uncover the ways in which you’re hiding from doing the work you were put on this planet to do.

Anxiety results from energy being trapped instead of released. Releasing the energy feels great. That’s what orgasms are — a release. Energy becomes available when our thoughts align with our highest excitement. Imagine an old collie three-quarters asleep on the sunny couch. As soon as she hears the food bag rattle she snaps into a wiggle and starts barking enthusiastically. What happened? How did Ms. Fluffers go from bored and sleepy to ecstatic in a blink of an eye? Our bodies constantly adjust up or down to meet the demands asked of it by our thoughts.

When you’re stuck in anxiety, there’s energy available to do the task that needs doing but instead of moving forward in some way, you’re blocked. That block could be for any of a million reasons - you don’t actually want to do the task, or if you do, you haven’t given yourself permission. You don’t believe you’re capable. You’re scared of hurting someone. You’re terrified of your own real power. You’re afraid someone will notice. You’re afraid no one will notice...all of those add up to — no, I can’t/won’t do this right now. Maybe later but not right now. And so by thinking about doing a task you’ve summoned the energy to do it, but then blocked that energy from doing the work.

So much of the advice about dealing with anxiety assumes you can get rid of it by calming yourself. It’s no wonder drugs for psychiatric disorders are prescribed to one in five adults in America. We don’t like the lesson our anxiety whispers – we’re doing way too much shit we resent. We’re not aligned with our true needs and wants. Everytime we agree to do something we resent, we’re guaranteeing that when we try to get started, anxiety will rear its ugly head. It’s doing its job — signalling that our commitments aren’t in line with our real desires. If we let it, the anxiety will give us the energy to have the uncomfortable conversations to release ourselves.

You can start that conversation by owning your feelings thusly — “I’m feeling anxious that I said I’d come to dinner on Thursday. I’m overwhelmed. I’m sad I’m not going to make it.” One of two things will happen. Most likely, they’ll move on with their life. A whole raft of casual friend obligations will be 100% fine. You fear they will be disappointed in you, but reality tv shows it’s really no big deal. Stop doing these things immediately. The next possibility is that someone does take issue with you declining to do things they want. Certainly this is the meat of the work. The concept is simple but the execution sucks.

Stop doing things you resent. Move in the direction of being in relationships and jobs where they honor your fuck yes – meaning you follow your highest excitement.

It seems as if an unending miasma of anxiety covers us all. At least from where I’m standing. I sound like a crazy wild woman crying in the wilderness that it’s possible to be happy. Spend time with friends, cook dinner, sleep a full night through on clean sheets, wake up without an alarm. How did that become radical? How did we consent to such a life of faux wealth of cheap consumer products but a poverty of the soul?

I went hard down the anxiety rabbit hole. I ran a $96k kickstarter which rocketed my company off to a roaring start with 100 customers and press in Fast Company, The Verge, and The Atlantic. It was surreal and thrilling to see my name in a real live magazine. My college flew me back to speak at graduation. Everyone cheered on the Southern girl who done good. Fast forward two years to see me fire and sue my business partner, sit for a month in the the hospital with my romantic partner who was assaulted at a Christmas party, and 10 months later dump me in the resulting identity crisis. It was interesting times to say the least. I tried and failed to raise $800k to fund my company in the midst of all this. I thought my job was to be competent throughout all of this. That pressure resulted in exactly as much anxiety as you’d expect.

I don’t think I need to explain to you what anxiety is, sadly. We’re not in competition for who has the most either, though it certainly looks that way.

How can anxiety be a gift? It’s a compass to tell you what’s not in alignment. Unfortunately, not a very precise instrument. Anxiety, like fear and anger are such big emotions it can be hard to tell what they’re telling you. They can be blinding until you get more rooted into your body.

My mother only feels one emotion — anxiety. I suspect, though I don’t have proof yet, that it sits in a special category. Sort of like vinegar does to smell. My grandmother had a stroke and lost her sense of smell, but she could still smell vinegar because that’s actually processed through the taste buds. Anxiety seems like a next-door neighbor to emotion in that way. I suspect it represents the temperature gauge between well being and emotional sickness.

In any case, anxiety is blocked energy. The energy only comes up to enable us to do what needs doing, to deal with the situation one way or another. We are so out of alignment with our purpose in life from a child, at least the vast majority of us. For whatever reason, we all struggle. Even that struggle blesses us. It makes us who we are."

You’re not the victim of anxiety. It doesn’t have to be this way, but you’re going to have to do some heavy excavation to uncover the ways in which you’re hiding from doing the work you were put on this planet to do.

Anxiety results from energy being trapped instead of released. Releasing the energy feels great. That’s what orgasms are — a release. Energy becomes available when our thoughts align with our highest excitement. Imagine an old collie three-quarters asleep on the sunny couch. As soon as she hears the food bag rattle she snaps into a wiggle and starts barking enthusiastically. What happened? How did Ms. Fluffers go from bored and sleepy to ecstatic in a blink of an eye? Our bodies constantly adjust up or down to meet the demands asked of it by our thoughts.

When you’re stuck in anxiety, there’s energy available to do the task that needs doing but instead of moving forward in some way, you’re blocked. That block could be for any of a million reasons – you don’t actually want to do the task, or if you do, you haven’t given yourself permission. You don’t believe you’re capable. You’re scared of hurting someone. You’re terrified of your own real power. You’re afraid someone will notice. You’re afraid no one will notice...all of those add up to — no, I can’t/won’t do this right now. Maybe later but not right now. And so by thinking about doing a task you’ve summoned the energy to do it, but then blocked that energy from doing the work.

So much of the advice about dealing with anxiety assumes you can get rid of it by calming yourself. It’s no wonder one in five adults in America have a prescription for a psychiatric medication. We don’t like the lesson our anxiety whispers – we’re doing way too much shit we resent. We’re not aligned with our true needs and wants. Every time we agree to do something we resent, we’re guaranteeing that when we try to get started, anxiety will rear its ugly head. It’s doing its job — signalling that our commitments aren’t in line with our real desires. If we let it, the anxiety will give us the energy to have the uncomfortable conversations to release ourselves.

You can start that conversation by owning your feelings thusly — “I’m feeling anxious that I said I’d come to dinner on Thursday. I’m overwhelmed. I’m sad I’m not going to make it.” One of two things will happen. Most likely, they’ll move on with their life. A whole raft of casual friend obligations will be 100% fine. You fear they will be disappointed in you, but reality tv shows it’s really no big deal. Stop doing these things immediately. The next possibility is that someone does take issue with you declining to do things they want. Certainly this is the meat of the work. The concept is simple but the execution sucks.

Stop doing things you resent. Move in the direction of being in relationships and jobs where they honor your fuck yes – meaning you follow your highest excitement.

It seems as if an unending miasma of anxiety covers us all. At least from where I’m standing. I sound like a crazy wild woman crying in the wilderness that it’s possible to be happy. Spend time with friends, cook dinner, sleep a full night through on clean sheets, wake up without an alarm. How did that become radical? How did we consent to such a life of faux wealth of cheap consumer products but a poverty of the soul?

I went hard down the anxiety rabbit hole. I ran a $96k kickstarter which rocketed my company off to a roaring start with 100 customers and press in Fast Company, The Verge, and The Atlantic. It was surreal and thrilling to see my name in a real live magazine. My college flew me back to speak at graduation. Everyone cheered on the Southern girl who done good. Fast forward two years to see me fire and sue my business partner, sit for a month in the the hospital with my romantic partner who was assaulted at a Christmas party, and 10 months later dump me in the resulting identity crisis. It was interesting times to say the least. I tried and failed to raise $800k to fund my company in the midst of all this. I thought my job was to be competent throughout all of this. That pressure resulted in exactly as much anxiety as you’d expect.

I don’t think I need to explain to you what anxiety is, sadly. We’re not in competition for who has the most either, though it certainly looks that way.

How can anxiety be a gift? It’s a compass to tell you what’s not in alignment. Unfortunately, not a very precise instrument. Anxiety, like fear and anger are such big emotions it can be hard to tell what they’re telling you. They can be blinding until you get more rooted into your body.

My mother only feels one emotion — anxiety. I suspect, though I don’t have proof yet, that it sits in a special category. Sort of like vinegar does to smell. My grandmother had a stroke and lost her sense of smell, but she could still smell vinegar because that’s actually processed through the taste buds. Anxiety seems like a next-door neighbor to emotion in that way. I suspect it represents the temperature gauge between well being and emotional sickness.

In any case, anxiety is blocked energy. The energy only comes up to enable us to do what needs doing, to deal with the situation one way or another. We are so out of alignment with our purpose in life from a child, at least the vast majority of us. For whatever reason, we all struggle. Even that struggle blesses us. It makes us who we are.