Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Anxiety, Fear, & Paranoia

Jane began having anxiety at a young age - so young that she didn't even know what anxiety was or that the way she experienced the world was different from other people.  Without words to express what she felt, she internalized a lot of pain and developed certain psychological defense mechanisms usually associated with victims of abuse.  As she got older she learned what to call her affliction and eventually how to cope with it.

It wasn't an easy road to travel, but Jane had always been more introspective than those around her seemed to be. The ability to emotionally sit in the center of conflict and see it from it's various angles grew out of a need to maintain balance amidst the turbulence of family conflict.  She loved them all and so she could see how each one was right...and also wrong, at the same time.  She learned to stay neutral and in doing so was able to offer a different perspective to those in conflict.  With this ability, she began to heal herself as well.

Anxiety is the physical response your body has to fear. I think in a "normal" person anxiety is rare or short-term and in response to things that anyone in their "right" mind would be afraid of.  But some of us have an over-exaggerated fear response because of some trauma we've experienced (and we might not even consciously remember it).  

Jane's anxiety manifested as a knot in her stomach, nausea, elevated heart rate, sweating, and sometimes a lack of focus and even short-term memory loss.  These symptoms would arise at almost any sign of conflict, whether real or imagined.  She suffered silently for years as social situations became difficult and often painful.  

It is not clear when she learned to face her fears, but she developed techniques that have allowed her to cope with these feelings.  She still feels them, but now they don't control her.  

But even with a decade of self-healing under her belt, every so often, some unexpected thing comes along and knocks her right back on her childhood ass.  So she takes a deep breath, makes sure all the doors are locked and the windows are covered, and starts from the beginning again.