How do we first suffer from anxiety?
Many people come to me and say “I don’t know why I feel like I do or how it started”. Well, I was pretty much in the dark myself as to why I seemed to get worse and not better over the years, and why these feelings had come on in the first place. In most cases it is because of a period of worry and stress. There are other causes, but more often than not, this is the reason why. I receive emails from people who are bewildered and cannot understand why they suddenly feel like this. I then ask “Have you been under a period of stress recently?” They reply with such things as, “Well, my mother has been ill recently; my partner left me six months ago, my daughter has just left home and I lost my job a couple of months ago”. It is only when I ask them this question that they realise the stress they have been under for the last few months. All of this stress takes its toll on the mind and body.
What I had was a nervous breakdown. This basically occurs because your mind and body can only take so much. When you are going through a prolonged period of stress and worry, your body cannot cope, so it breaks down. It was not built or designed for what you have been putting it through. It has reached breaking point and has said enough is enough. This may lead to feelings of anxiousness, feelings of panic, and the feeling of detachment. It does not matter what the symptoms are, it is your body saying “I can take no more”. This is where the word breakdown comes in, because that is really all it is. Just like a car will break down if you run it beyond its capabilities or don’t look after it, then so will your mind and body.
Now all your mind and body is asking for is a rest and time to rejuvenate itself. Do we give it that time? No! Through no fault of our own, we then worry about these symptoms, worry that we are going mad and wonder why we feel so tired and emotionless. This puts more worry and strain on our already tired and over worked mind and body and so we then usually begin to feel worse. We tell ourselves we must get a grip of this thing, so we fight it and worry even more. Well I think you can now see the cycle we get into and why these symptoms persist. This is exactly what I did for all those years while I suffered. In fact I was worrying because I had been ill so long and my days were filled with fighting and worry. Looking back, it seems crazy that I did not recognise the cycle I was in or how I thought I could feel better through worrying and fighting.
Through my understanding of anxiety and the knowledge I gained, I was able to reverse this habit of fighting and worry, and give up this constant battle I had with myself. I understood that what my mind and body needed was a break, but in my desperation to escape I was creating more of the problem I was trying to be free of. One day I just accepted that, OK, this is me now. I actually understand why I feel like this. I have created my own suffering and kept myself in this cycle, there is no outside force doing this to me; there is nothing to defeat or fix. I just need to give my mind and body a rest. I need to stop trying to make myself feel better; stop trying to feeling different than I do and just live alongside these feelings. When I give up this battle with myself, then my mind and body will heal itself. It never needed nor wanted my constant interference.