There is a difference in whether you are anxious or if you feel anxiety. Defusion can help you in your process of getting better.
There may be a big difference in your perception of being anxious depending on whether you have had a short period of anxiety as an adult or if you have struggled with it for many years. Maybe you’ve even never experienced anything but a life with anxiety.
Feeling united with anxiety
If you have experienced anxiety over long periods of time, the consequence might be that you almost forget how it feels to be you without anxiety, nervousness and a pounding heart. Since you, for a long time have been accustomed to consult yourself with the anxiety as a supervisor, it may be almost impossible to find your own inner voice. The voice that like a breath tells you who you are, what you like, what your values are, what makes you happy and where your natural limits are. Anxiety has been your companion for so long that you have added its whims and given the anxiety nourishment chunk for chunk from your body, soul and inner core. Because of that, it grew big inside of you, took space from you, until you backed into a corner and no longer were present.
Your expression has eventually changed you. Instead of getting a rush, palpitations, tensioned muscles and fingers that shakes you starts referring it as anxiety. Your anxiety. Anxiety that tells you what to do, when listening to it. Just as if it had fur, were able to speak and scares you the wits out. It has become a monster. Inherented in you. Anxiety is no longer a memory you have from a certain and specific situation, it is everywhere, in the past, and in all the performances you can show yourself about future situations.
You are not anxiety
The anxiety is not a monster. It is a feeling. A feeling which is specifically associated with certain situations, or related to stress or as a result of depression or other mental disorders. Anxiety is a basic condition, we as humans have to live with. A feeling and a danger-alarm that in its natural function is to provide us with knowledge and options for survival. Our reptilian brain has just not kept up with the evolution and we’ve got a danger alarm which is out of function and calling “danger” again and again.
You feel anxiety. You experience anxiety. You remember anxiety. You think of anxiety. But you are you. Anxiety is just a terrible state, a feeling that hits you and a feeling you relate to all the time.
And I know it from myself.
Since I have never experienced an adult life without anxiety I had almost grown together with it in my mind. I was the anxiety itself. Until it occurred to me one day when I sat as a trainee in the school of anxiety disorders. I was among those who saw themselves as united with anxiety the most. I discovered that many of the others from my team saw their anxiety as temporary and as something indescribably uncomfortable but that it was not them. I have since then worked extensively with it. To separate “me” from the anxiety. Discovering myself, finding out that I am more than anxiety.
I’m Lise. I am a woman, married to Peter, mother to my son. Daughter and sister. I am independent, wise, warm, outgoing, sometimes distant in my thoughts, slightly absent-minded (or much, some say), efficient, strong-willed, temperamental, annoying, and much, much more. All kind of things – a human. But most importantly in this context – even without anxiety.
Anxiety is not my core. Anxiety has taken a lot of space. Yes! But, it has not deprived myself from living a life. A life where I, in spite of the anxiety, have managed to create myself a life that enriches me and touches me deeply. I’ve managed to find my values, my desires, my needs and my limits, because I, in my search through the, sometimes all-consuming anxiety has demanded that I had to find my own way and separate myself from the anxiety. Separate myself from it.
How do you separate yourself from the anxiety?
- Search information that explains you about anxiety and learn about how it develops
- Describe who you are when you do not feel anxiety
- Describe your values, your needs and your limits
- Describe all the things you have achieved even if you have felt anxiety
- Imagine the anxiety is just a highly uncomfortable feeling which slides of you when you show who you are and what you want
- Write a letter to the anxiety