Finding my voice & nourishing my soul: sifting through my mind as i deal with my anxiety about Covid
It’s been hard for me to write these days.
It’s been hard for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words.
I, like many of my clients, and pretty much anyone I interact with these days, am struggling with intrusive thoughts. Obsessive thoughts. Over thinking. Over analyzing.
Through this Coronavirus pandemic, it’s been hard to find my true voice.
It’s hard to stay calm when the world is panicking… and at the same time… is it right to stay calm when the word needs action? People are in pain… we need to do something!
I struggle with this question often. You know the questions that many people who suffer with anxiety ask themselves, “Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Am I doing anything right?”
I remember my therapist saying, “Anxiety, to an extent serves you. We need to have some level of anxiety in order to survive. it is one of our most primal survival responses.” Hmm. Quite the re-frame.
I’ve always been afraid of anxiety. In my mind, Anxiety was always bad. It was shameful. It was weird. But here I am learning that it is there to protect us.
Humans will do anything to survive. In fact, I heard in Sima Spetners parenting course that the body will fight 100% to survive a physical threat but 200% to survive an emotional threat.
This is actually how we explain some mechanisms of eating disorders. The physical body wants to eat so badly to survive, but this eating disorder is filling a deep emotional unmet need. Emotional needs win out in this case without the proper support.
I teach my clients to re-frame their negative thought patterns. I explain that emotions are neither “good” or “bad” … they just are. They can serve us. They are our internal alarm systems. What can we learn from them?
One of my most favorite things to teach people is “failure = data.” We can’t know for sure until we try. For clients who identify as “perfectionist” they may cringe when I say “this is a process of trial and error.” They might think, “But I wasn’t ever allowed to fail! It always had to be right or perfect the first time”.
Right. I know. I’ve been there.
Whether we’ve imposed it on ourselves or it was imposed on us... it’s a hard pattern to break. It’s hard to change a belief system. A concrete way of thinking. A way of life. But you can. I know you can.
I know you can because I’ve done it. And I still Struggle. And that’s OK. And I’m still learning. And I help other people overcome these emotions. I struggle too.
I know fear is scary. But we don’t have to be paralyzed by it. We can feel that emotion for however long we need to and decide to act anyways. When we’re ready.
See the thing is, as adults, we can choose differently. What happened to us may not be our fault, but living our best life is now our responsibility.
So as I sit and sift through all of the fog of today’s challenges, I remind myself that my emotions are in fact a blessing. They are a message... My body’s most primal alarm - awakening me to take action that is needed to get through this time.
I welcome all emotion, both good and bad, and then I sift. I make sure that the thoughts that have been planted in my mind are pruned and tilled so that they don’t grow too large… don’t run wild and take over my consciousness. I am the one that is responsible to make sure my thoughts and processes remain healthy and well nourished.
And sometimes just by planting that tiny seed of hope… inspiration & knowledge will flourish in my mind's garden, nourishing my soul on this journey we call life.