So what is this anxiety thing then?
I have been contemplating this question for a while now, and as today is a high anxiety day, I figured I would try and make some sense of it now. What set me off today? I have to fill in some forms for a workcover claim I am lodging. Something about putting down my story on an official form overwhelms me. I am sitting here shaking like a leaf, head is swimming and I feel sick. If I had enough energy I would curl up in a corner somewhere and bawl my eyes out. Every minute or two I am getting up from my chair and wandering aimlessly around the house, heart pounding.
Normally, I am the only one in my circle that is overcome by anxiety, but in recent times it seems most of my friends have started having panic attacks. Women that are normally robust and resilient. Lucky for them I have plenty of experience so I generally have something helpful to say to them! That is why the ‘what is this anxiety thing all about?’ question is so pressing to me at the moment.
The answer that resonates with me the most is that anxiety is linked to self worth. For example, by putting my story down on these forms, I am taking accountability for protecting myself. I risk someone telling me that I am not worth protecting, which is something I believe about myself. I risk someone telling me that it’s all in my head, that I have mis-interpreted the actions against me and am over-reacting. Which feeds into the lack of trust I have in myself and my judgments. I am revealing myself to a whole bunch of people, some who are strangers and some who I have closely with for some time. That makes me vulnerable and I risk losing credibility in my professional life.
What we know intellectually and what we know emotionally are often worlds apart and ‘never the twain shall meet’. Intellectually I can create whole lists of things that are great about me. Emotionally I can provide endless examples proving why those lists are so very wrong.
Clearly there is some ambiguity there, otherwise why would I be taking this action to defend myself. However I think that is a question to be answered on another day.