Anxiety is really, really crap! It’s crap if you’re the person who has it. It’s crap if you are a parent watching your child. Desperately trying everything, anything to help, but getting nowhere. Since lock down was imposed upon us and Covid 19 became a reality, anxiety has spiked. It is likely to spike again. Regardless of age or gender, it is now for many, a regular guest in the kitchen, in the living room, and during long sleepless nights in bed, accompanied by loneliness, fear, stress and depression. So many of us who are usually up-beat and positive, now feel the niggles of doubt as we pay closer attention to the little voices feeding us negativity, and reminding us to be scared. We have felt a wave of internal panic wash over us leaving our emotions, quite frankly, strewn across the beach (ahhh the beach). Emotions that are in parts and are frayed. We scramble to pick everything up, and hold it all together. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s bloody hard. But anxiety, is curable. It is not something that anyone has to live with. In this article (part 1 of 3), we first take a look at what anxiety is, before I tell you how we get rid of it.
Why we need anxiety
I believe, there are three types of anxiety that we as humans exhibit. In my humble, opinion*, the first two are an essential part of the human psyche, helping to enable us to evolve. There, I’ve said it. Not a popular theory maybe, and certainly not something the parent of a child or teen demonstrating anxiety wants to hear, but bear with me. Keep reading.
Type 1 – Anxiety: The Warrior
Since the dawn of (wo)man, anxiety has been there, arms surrounding tightly clasped, holding us. Protecting us, like an invisible shield. Called into action, she acts swiftly. Often, before we even glimpse the possibility of danger, anxiety is there. Our warrior! Anxiety protected the cave men who were dumb enough to consider going up against a hairy arsed nasty beast, with a small stone flint as his weapon of choice. Today, anxiety prevents us from walking down a badly lit footpath late at night. Or dashing out too quickly in front of the 602 hurtling towards us.
But more than that. Anxiety is there as our champion, giving us the energy that we need. Firing us up and lending to our creativity when we are centre stage.
Type 2 – Anxiety: The Adrenaline Queen/King
Before we present to an audience, big or small, anxiety pops it’s head up, just to make sure we are paying attention. Are you ready? Did you prepare? Do you know what you’re going to say? These questions aren’t designed to intimidate or scare us. They are there to help us work through what we need to do. They encourage us to dot the I’s and cross the T’s.
Before we go into a meeting, or take that proposal that we’ve worked so hard on to our boss. Before we press send on releasing an article to a website, anxiety is there. Those nerves that we feel, push us to be our best. They connect us to our archetypal adrenaline Queen (King) who takes the throne and encourages us, to keep our eyes on the prize, stay focused and makes sure we do our best work.
Both of these types of anxiety, are on our side. They have our back. They want us to stay safe and do well.
But what happens when we give anxiety longer reign than it should have? What happens when we can’t turn it off and the anxiety that we do, starts to run the show?
To understand more, to continue your journey of how overcome anxiety, and to find out how to get your life back, make sure you read parts two and three of Anxiety Be Gone.
*I believe education to be a journey. You can be educated on a subject but continue to learn about it. This is where I sit, which shouldn’t negate the fact that I very much think I’m onto something.
I work with young people who struggle and suffer with anxiety, and who want to "feel normal" again. I do this by stopping their anxiety and giving them their life back, without them having to commit to a lifelong sentence of counselling or therapy.