September 13, 2010 1 Comment
It comes unexpected, uninvited, and uninhibited.
It grips me, wrings me out, and leaves me empty and hollow inside. I can actually feel the blood draining from my cheeks as it consumes my very being. My throat tightens, my hands grow cold, and my body goes back and forth between limp and excessively tense. The thought of consuming food causes my stomach to turn violently.
There is something wrong, but I don’t know what. I can’t put my finger on it, can’t quite figure it out, and have no idea what triggered it. All I know is that this must be what anxiety feels like.
But, what happened? Why now? And how do I fix it? It’s not something that can be divulged easily since there’s no clear way of explaining what’s going on and why. So it simmers, and I lose my breath, waiting for it to clear on its own.
I’ve recently realized that I am not alone in this – others have generously shared their own experiences with anxiety, and it’s been an eye-opening gift to me. Knowing that there’s nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ with me has given me the freedom to explore this state of being, and try to learn techniques for riding its tumultuous wave.
For now, I hang on to the notion that we are all together in this craziness of life. We all share (for the most part) the same drives, basic needs, instincts, and desires. And it’s ok to feel lost sometimes. Hopefully, it motivates us to figure out what we could be doing differently, better, or even what we should stop doing altogether.
And so, I breathe. Not my typical shallow, quick, let’s-get-to-the-next-thing-on-the-list breath. Rather, I pause, close my eyes, and think only about the breath entering my body. I focus on the sensation of being filled with life, energy, and boundless potential. I think about how even that one breath connects me to the energy and breath of the world around me, and decide to contribute to making my world a better place to be.
As my eyes flutter open, I realize I am smiling. We have the power to heal our selves, if we find a way to tap into the reserves of strength and willpower that keep us alive. I invite you to discover the power of breath. Taste it, savor it, and allow it to lift you up and move you forward.