Anxiety: A Hate-Love Relationship

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

I like most people experience anxiety.

Not a big shocker.

I used to hate having anxiety. It made me feel completely helpless in a world of complete and utter chaos. For a long time, I did not know how to deal with the hours long, and sometimes days long anxiety and panic attacks. My nervous system was completely depleted and I was always on edge.

It would take weeks to get back to normal state of “calm” at the time. Which, looking back, was just numbness to my extreme overwhelm at all times.

It was so common that I began to define myself by it. I have anxiety. I am having a panic attack. I am losing control. I am losing it. As you can tell, it is a slippery slope to utter defeat and destitution of one’s own power in this crazy world.

When I began to try and overcome my anxiety. I first had to separate myself from it. I no longer was a person who had anxiety, but became someone who experienced anxiety. It did not work. All I did was become someone who experienced anxiety multiple times a day, every day of the week.

I then had to find all my triggers of the anxiety. After about six months of failed attempt after failed attempt, I realized that everything triggered my anxiety because there was so much overwhelm within me that everything became too much.

Over the next three years, I began to work deep in my own mind and let go of things. I heartbrokenly learned the art of non attachment to things that most hold closest. It was the most painful experience of my life. But it was what ultimately set me free.

I began to notice that the panic attacks, and even slight anxiety attacks were more of a once or twice a month occurrence than an every day occurrence. I thought that I had finally overcome anxiety!!!!

Then, just like all things, life took its strong hand and slapped me right in the face. I decided to choose myself over a relationship I was desperate to save and let go of my mother. It took me years to realize it was not a healthy relationship and that the voice inside my head was her’s. I decided that I have tried everything I could to fix it and it is no longer in my hands, so I let it go.

Once again, learning how to let go of attachment to things and people that we hold most dear.

I attempted to give her an option for growth or to end the relationship on her terms. She chose the latter and while it crushed me, I was able to peacefully let it go. Over the ensuing six months, she would message me and I would be completely destroyed because I could not stand the disrespect. What I did not realize was, that over those six months, I was building up an anger towards her because I just wanted to be free of it all and move forward. Then I had a massive realization that I was heading back into my depression and anxiety state that I had worked so hard to get out of.

I began intently listening to Ram Dass along with reading the Tao Te Ching, Bhagavad Gita, 9 Life Altering Life Lessons, Ancient Egyptian Mystery Teachings. A large part of me understood the teachings behind what they were all speaking of. Non-attached love and becoming the observer of life. Yet, I was not practicing what I was learning.

Like all wonderful six year olds, mine woke me up to screaming and crying because a shirt felt weird. This was at 07:00 on a Tuesday morning, during summer vacation. I spent most of the day in a ball of overwhelm. I tried all my old tricks to get me out of it, and they inevitably failed. I then tried something new, I realized that it was not serving me, I worked on the art of non-attached observer, saw what I was full of and then just let it all go.

It took about three hours for the energy to release from my body, but for the first time in my almost thirty-four years, I released a panic attack.

I then began to see that I could actually do it. I began to see anxiety as a tool to work with instead of something to work against. While I do not actively seek things to make me anxious, I now realize that every time it arises within me, when I am aware enough, I am able to work with it and get better and better at releasing it.

I will probably fail a thousand times more. Each time I fail, it is a lesson in learning how to over come it.

Tonight, while working on the ambulance, I met a man who was having a massive panic attack. He was doing everything he could to calm it down and it was not working. He was working against it, instead of releasing it. I tried to help him out with everything technique I knew to help his relax and be present in the moment.

In that moment, it was no longer me speaking to a patient as a Paramedic Medical Provider. It became a moment in which I was speaking to another version of myself. I just took my time, sat there and did everything I could, within myself to calm my mind so that I could be present with them. I attempted to put them into the present moment we were experiencing together to help them release their anxiety.

While it may not have meant anything to them, it helped me see that this life is not about how much money we make, what clothes we wear, what name brand item we have or what we have to our name. Can we see the divine within ourselves and connect with the divine that is in each and every other person that we encounter.

That moment, in the back of a fast food restaurant, it was moment of divinity. The divine within him, met the divine within myself. I now see the work that I do in this crazy chaotic world that we all in habit, as an expression of learning with each new experience and finding moments in which to meet and greet the divine in new and exciting ways.

I titled this a hate-love relationship because over time the things that we push against and hate, become the things that we begin to love. We begin to love them because the teachings that they offer help to not only help us understand and love ourselves at a deeper level, but they help to set us free.

If you are experiencing anxiety and wanting some tips on how to handle it in the moment, all I can give you are tips to help you put yourself in the present moment.

  1. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method.
    • 5 things that you can see
    • 4 things that you can hear
    • 3 things that you can feel
    • 2 things that you can smell
    • 1 thing that you can taste
  2. Box breathing
    • Inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds.
  3. Visualizing your breath
    • As you breathe in, visualize the air going into your lungs, traveling through your body and exiting your lungs as you breathe out.
  4. Ask yourself three things
    1. What is causing this panic attack or anxiety to flare up?
    2. Can you do anything about it in this moment?
    3. Can you work to change it in another moment?
    4. Then allow the thing to be in another moment, and just sit in the moment you are in.

All these things sound easy, yet in the moment they can be tricky. What they are all working to do, is to put you in the present moment. I’m not sure what the cure for depression or anxiety is. I do know when you sit in the present moment, you want and need nothing, because you realize that in the moment you are present, you have all that you need.

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