The anxiety timeline

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 5:10 PM | comments: 0

In my ongoing battle to understand why anxiety has become such a problem for me, I learned with my therapist that experience tends to form so much of our modus operandi in daily life. This isn't really new information, but it's interesting to take inventory of so many life events and show how they influence behavior today. My anxiety, I'm starting to learn, is rooted in the desire to ramp up defenses before something bad happens. Logically, you can understand that in a particular circumstance, a bad thing happened once in a hundred times. Unfortunately, the brain may take that one instance as reason enough to assume the worst.

This is an important thing to understand, because if the causes of my anxiety are things that already happened, I can't do anything about those. They can't un-happen. But what a crazy thing that the past can affect the now because of what could happen in the future. That's a real space-time mind-fuck if I ever did see one! It makes it harder to live in the moment and be content in it. Of the three places in the timeline, now is the only one that you can effectively manipulate.

I have to wonder then if all of the coaching and suggestion about letting things go is effective at all. (Suck it, Elsa!) This is how I went into the therapy sesh, thinking that I needed to talk through how to let go, because that will help reduce anxiety. But as she pointed out, and as I already know to a degree, life experiences can shape how you respond to things in the moment, and I've got a shit-ton of experiences that have programmed me to enter DEFCON 1. Knowing hasn't changed the battle parameters.

So I've switched the focus to how I deal with the anxiety, in the moment. This is not going to be easy. Some of it is the constant thought spiral that I have to endure. It is so, so hard to break out of that cycle. I do know of things that help bring contentment in the moment, but it's hard to think of them when the brain is full. I'm also very reactionary when anxious, especially when it comes to Simon, and that's not good for either one of us.

I don't have a lot of concrete solutions just yet, but I have self-awareness and frequency that hopefully will make it easier to break out in the moment and try to mitigate the anxiety.


No comments yet.

Post your comment: