Working not only in healthcare but in Psychiatry, I have a front row seat as I watch people desperately seeking help for Anxiety and Depression. Our healthcare systems are swarming with people afflicted by these
conditions and the numbers continue to increase. There are a lot of reasons that people are afraid that I won't go into here, but the truth is people are scared and are desperately seeking tools to deal better with the
stressors life brings them.
Of the instinctive coping strategies of the mind/body system, Anxiety or the Flight of Fight, Flight or Freeze, is possibly the most uncomfortable. Because of that, people employ coping mechanisms to deal with it. For many, these are
compulsive behaviors such as cleaning, putting things in order, collecting things, playing computer games and such. For others, they try to control everything around them or project their fear onto others and justify all kinds of bad
behavior behind the rationalization that someone else caused it.
When experiencing Anxiety, many people feel like they're going to die and develop fear of that outcome, many people drink alcohol or take drugs in an effort to distract themselves. I would venture to say that in all cases people
simply don't feel safe.
I had an experience many years ago when I encountered some significant conflict with a family member and sank into a depression, possibly one of the worst in my life. Knowing what I know about Depression, I decided to set an
intention and state an affirmation to encourage the release of the pent up frozen emotions I was perhaps, afraid to feel. It was: "I allow the free flow of emotions through me."
Be careful what you ask for, you might get it? What occurred over the next few weeks was exactly that. I had envisioned having myself a good cry, recover and be on my way. Instead, I was overcome with anxiety. Not what I bargained
I decided to do the best I could to simply be with the experience of Anxiety in a mindful way to learn as much as I possibly could from it. What I came to realize was that I was afraid I couldn't keep myself
emotionally safe in the presence of a person who by society's standards should have been the safest person for me to turn to, but based on my experience was anything but. Over the next year, I attempted to break the mold of who I
was supposed to be, how I was supposed to act and what my role was. I chose to re-define myself. As part of that effort, I had to find my own safety. Safety within myself from a source that I perceived as powerful and mighty. To do this
successfully I had to be clear about what I believe in.