What do you know…I’m anxious again. I suppose that’s why I’ve written in a multi year running blog about me being a scared dude.
I think my biggest mistake as of late is completely viewing anxiety as bad. I know that it isn’t. I’ve come to grips in the past with the fact that it’s not but I guess part of this third phase of meditation and self improvement is that I have to relearn a lot of things since I decided to stop doing them for years.
But anxiety’s literal original purpose is to keep me alive. If I see an alligator it kicks in so I don’t pet it. If my baby is sick I get scared I’ll kill it and go to prison so I make sure to take the baby to the doctor so it doesn’t die. If I see a car driving at me I get scared I’ll die and jump out of the fucking way. Anxiety is literally there to help me survive. Working against it and treating it like an enemy is literally treating a portion of myself as an enemy. So my mindset needs to shift from “Make this motherfucker go away,” to “Hey, thanks buddy for helping me live BUUUUUUUUT can you tone it down a bit?” So in this last 30 minutes I’m really, really exploring ways to accept it but tone it down. It’s hard because an attempt to tone it down can literally be an act of denying it (actually there’s probably an argument to be made that the desire to tone it down is a denial of anxiety but I’ve had it 34 years.…I don’t think I need to completely solve this in a day) but what I did was explore different ways to do this in my meditation.
Step one was that I really explored the thing I’m anxious about and answered all the “what if” questions I have. The fact is I ruminate a lot so I used my imagination and took it as far as I could. While it’s impossible for me to cover every single possibility and that’s where I do need to learn to relinquish control on some level, it does help see how ridiculous it can be and at times some of my conclusions can be funny. Maybe down the road it’ll be fun to experiment with this and write it on paper. Some of the shit I can come up with would likely be funny I’m sure.
Once I did this I started thinking that, HEY WE’RE IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT HASN’T BEEN SEEN IN 100 YEARS. IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED AND IF YOU’RE NOT A LITTLE BIT YOU MIGHT BE A FUCKING CRAZY PERSON. Okay the screaming at myself may be a bit much but it’s good to reinforce that again….anxiety isn’t inherently bad.
But after coming to this realization, even at this moment, there’s a dull bit of adrenaline just sitting in my body and I am looking at it being a little more likely. Kind of like how I feel when I’m a little buzzed from alcohol but instead of going, “Dude, I’m fucking drunk” I’m like “Dude, I’m fucking anxious,” with the same intoxicated smile and playfulness. It might be silly but I think it’s easier to accept it when looking at it from a more lighthearted angle.
The last thing I tried to do was to really look at the actual wording of the thoughts that were shooting through my mind. The ones that are a call to action are the ones I would write down or make a plan to do something about it. After all, the anxiety’s purpose is to give energy to do something to protect myself. The ones that don’t come with a plan of action I try to let drift away. I did this by resorting to mindfulness like really focusing on my breath or focusing on how my body felt overall. It seems to be working and while I’m trying to balance useful anxiety and not letting it consume me I really think going through an actual time of distress is helping me figure this out. I’ve felt in a bogged down with an emotional rut for multiple days and I think it’s easy to think it’s making me fail as I don’t feel the most functional (though there are literal laws in place telling us to be less functional so maybe I need to accept that too) but with these realizations it’s hard not to think progress is being made. So that’s cool.