Can you really heal from anxiety?
The crippling effects of severe anxiety can be one of the most scary and debilitating emotions that someone can experience which can affect so many areas of your life.
In Australia, in any one year around 2 million people suffer from anxiety. This whopping number shows us that there needs to be a better way to educate, deal with and ultimately heal severe anxiety.
I keep mentioning ‘severe anxiety’ because of the fact that I spend most of my time helping people heal, understand and be able to use their emotions in the way that they were intended. It is almost like most of us have been brought up to think that if we feel bad, we are bad and that we need to stop expressing it.
This belief and way of suppressing or better known as ‘bottling up’ our emotions had led to a country where you have to put on an inauthentic face that you are happy all the time - and by the time we hit our 30’s to late 40’s the accumulation of pretending has led to mental health issues such as;
Longer than normal bouts of depression.
Severe and crippling anxiety
Confusion of who we are at the core and relying on others to fulfill our sense of self and happiness.
Entering and staying in painful relationships.
Reliance on depressants like alcohol, sleeping tablets and other substances.
Reliance on stimulants to avoid slowing down and being with our pain so it passes.
Escapism of feeling negative emotions by overly shopping, promiscuity and dangerous behaviour.
There are so many more coping mechanisms to list, but the main point that I am trying to get across is that we try so hard to keep up appearances and keep the lid down on the almost now overflowing suppressed negative emotions that when they come out - they explode!
We don’t have an issue of biological and chemical imbalances to lay blame on here. Of all the clients that we have seen it has always been an emotional root cause which then causes a chemical imbalance later as the neurotransmitters get manipulated out of their normal range or recycle and re-uptake in the brain.
So, instead of just doing breathing exercises and taking something to help suppress and not deal with the emotion - let's actually get to the cause of the anxiety.
In a perfect world, we would have all been taught how to do this. How to meditate, how to relate compassionately with others, feel safe to express our thoughts and emotions, learn to be more gentle and nurturing with ourselves and our emotions. Our parents could have been taught differently - so to minimise making us feel rejected and ‘wrong’ when we felt upset and scared about something.
We could have been taught what emotions are actually made for, our own intuitive bio-feedback system to alert us about making a decision, to tell us whether we are on path or not, to live an easier and more fulfilling life - where we can feel life in the present moment - the beautiful wisdom and growth that comes with the ups and downs.
Depending where you are on your journey, here are a couple of key questions to ask yourself which can help you to start to understand and shift the underlying causes so you can start thriving instead of just coping;
Do I need alcohol/substance to relax in social settings? If so, what is my anxiety level normally and how much does alcohol/substance relieve it?
Do I feel unexplained anxiety and depression? How far back can you remember when these thoughts started? Was there any particular event or circumstance in your family?
Do you find yourself trying many different things to avoid or reduce the symptoms of anxiety. If you stop using those things, do they come back?
Do particular places or people trigger your anxiety? If so, what particular memories or traits do these people trigger? Does it link to any trauma you experienced in the past?
There are many more questions that you can ask to start to dive a little deeper into your mind, so instead of constantly treating the symptoms - you can actually start to feel peaceful and excited in your life going forward.
Did you like this article? You may also like - Can I overcome depression?
Specialists in Addiction Recovery (including Ice Addiction) and Mental Health at our Outpatient Addiction Rehab Centre in Melbourne, Australia.