Updated: Jul 2
I can recall the day, weather, and time in great detail of when worry ran roughshod throughout the corridors of my mind. With no end in sight, my immediate thought in concealing my anxiety was to decorate it with a half hearted smile, relaxed affect, and a swift prayer, so that no one would notice that there's an Amber Alert ringing in my soul of missing the days when life was so much simpler back in elementary school. I didn't have a care in the world. My concerns back then consisted of playing outside until the street lights came on, and hoping that I got a chance to partake on a fun summer camp excursion of some sort. What was your defining moment when you realized that anxiety and worry had been plaguing you for quite some time now? The thought of anyone knowing may have been just as terrifying as coming to terms with the dismal reality of not being in control of every minute detail in your life. For me and so many other people that is what's usually at the bedrock of our anxiousness-control. Truthfully, none of us were ever in control to begin with, but we repress our insatiable desire for control by attempting to micromanage spaces in our lives where we don't have much say so as to what the outcome would have been in the first place. For example, in writing this blog, I may have inhaled and exhaled at least 50 or more times by now, now ask me how much contribution I had in this matter to ensure that I continued to breathe. That's right, none. It goes without saying, that this has been the rhythm of so many different areas in our lives, but we continue to live in perpetuity of braving our fears, goals, and concerns all alone when truthfully we were never created to do such a thing. We've been stranded on the Gilligan Island of self sufficiency that has left our hopes and optimism stranded and forsaken for quite some time now. If you're reading this, my hope is that you would see that not just Americans, but people in general are shadow boxing with a myriad of concerns on a daily basis with little to no hope of any relief in sight. With that being said, I'm a therapist, and at times, I've even felt worry and doubt cascading over my mind leaving me drowning in despair. I'm sure you have as well, but my question is how have you been dealing with this? Better yet, has your anxiety reached epic proportions, such as experiencing panic attacks or phobias?
Right now there's just a plethora of microaggressions that are occurring in your life that may be contributing to your level of anxiety, such as Covid-19, economic downturn, racial inequality, or just the overall fear that things will never get back to normal. Normal? At times that phrase can be just as terrifying as the Coronavirus, but I digress. Lol! How have you been handling the everyday stress of quarantine life? Either we discover healthier ways to deal with the day to day stresses that are accompanied by our worries, or we remain imprisoned within the confines of our own minds. Oftentimes therapists would tell their anxiety riddled clients to first get out of their own heads, but when you've been held captive there for so long by the onslaught of an overabundance of automatic thoughts coupled with not enough time and helpful resources, it can be quite overwhelming. In obtaining a better handle over our anxiety, I would encourage you to try and be more present of the moment. We've been endowed by God with the beautiful gift of now, and our anxiety will throw jealous fits and cause us to lose sight of this by living in the future. It's hard to enjoy what's in front of you, when you're fixated on what's to come. Secondly, one of the quickest ways to stop over thinking situations is to give other people including yourself the benefit of the doubt, unless you've been proven otherwise. Overthinking a particular situation and feelings of anxiousness goes hand in hand. Thirdly, find ways to relax, whether that's rekindling an old affinity with your favorite hobby, or just spending some quiet time with yourself to take in the beauty of the present. That can look like going to the beach, that's if they're opened. Lol! Or doing something as simple as turning the television off, grabbing one of your favorite books, a cup of bean water, and just taking in the moment. If you have kids, this may have to take place after hours. Lol! In the times that we're living in, I encourage everyone to take some time to do the hard work of embracing your vulnerability. This by far has got to be one of the most liberating steps when dealing with anxiety. Sharing your worry and fears with someone else can be life changing. Don't put off for tomorrow what you can start doing today to improve on your mental health. We all struggle with anxiety on some level, but the bigger question is, what are we doing to help regulate our emotional state? So I ask you, what has anxiety got you thinking about?
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