PAIN-2-POWER FOR ANXIETY
Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows how painful it can be. One of my clients described it as feeling as though he is on hold—for hours—for a doctor who will be definitely be delivering catastrophic news. Another likened it to feeling, except for hours, the way she once had in high school after getting to class and seeing that everyone was ready to take an exam which she had forgotten about.
One of the reasons for anxiety is that people do not feel in control of their own existences. They can’t seem to get their hands on the steering wheel or reach the brake pedal as their lives move—seemingly perilously—forward.
I sometimes liken their experiences to what someone might feel if instructed to open a novel to page 171, read to page 225 and then start writing new pages. There would be a similar sense of unease, lack of direction, lack of control and worry that a significant misstep could be made penning the next paragraph. Anxiety. “I don’t know this character,” the person might complain. “I don’t understand why the things occurring in the story make any sense for her. Why are they happening? How can I keep writing her story when I might take it in precisely the wrong direction?”
Part of the process of healing anxiety is helping people go back to the pages and chapters of their own life stories that they’ve skipped over (which creates the same anxiety-provoking dynamic as I described above). We skip over those pages and chapters of our lives because they’re the painful, frightening, confusing or frustrating ones. It’s natural to unconsciously try to bury them. Yet, without understanding them, we don’t feel grounded. We don’t feel centered. We don’t feel balanced. And we become unsettled, often to the point of panic.
Pain-2-Power has its name because it is a unique process of self-discovery—including discovering the anxiety-provoking parts of ourselves we ran away from that ended up eroding our self-esteem and self-confidence. Turning and facing them frees up massive amounts of positive energy, including optimism and faith—which are the antidotes to fear.
There are other elements of a powerful anti-anxiety program, as well. Particular forms of meditation, breathing and journaling can help. Supplements can be very helpful, including lavender oil and saffron. I’ll put a blog together about those, as well.
For now, it might help just a bit to know that anxiety—which could seem unconquerable to many who suffer from it—is completely conquerable. The strategy is not to oppose it by taking up arms, but to turn and face it. Let it visit, remind yourself it will pass and reassure yourself that it will leave you still standing. Breathe through it. Then, begin to dig up the roots feeding it. They’re traceable. And they’re closer to the surface than you might ever imagine.
Dr. Keith Ablow