My Ugly Suitcase

I have struggled with, tried to control, succumbed to, worked around, made excuses for, anticipated, reacted to, fought, resisted, surrendered to, and denied my relationship with anxiety for 20 years. At least. In varying forms and phases and extremes. It hasn't been glamorous. But we humans don't create these sorts of issues to be sexy.


Sometimes anxiety comes along for the ride. No amount of thought work, breath work, yoga, meditation or distraction will release its grip.


Instead of going the route of resistance (resistance is not a productive space to operate, ever) I have started to treat anxiety like an ugly suitcase. "Carry it if you must, but own it. Don't let it own you.", I tell myself.


Anxiety pretends to be in control. Anxiety depends on the belief that it has the power to overwhelm us and move in. Anxiety can't exist without our permission.


Our minds work in crazy and illogical ways to protect us and keep us safe. Anxiety is likely a manifestation of your brain to steer around something. Be a compassionate witness to and for yourself when anxiety shows up. Don't worry about prying yourself away from anxiety. It's impossible to operate from a place of fear and gripping anyway, so you may as well set that weapon down.


Something more useful to do is acknowledge and allow anxiety. Use anxiety as your superpower. We all have certain triggers and fears and situations where anxiety tends to start shaking the cage. Get to know those. Intimately. These are the signposts for your way out of a life bound to anxiety.


Look at the energy you surround anxiety with: what sort of negativity do you tend to heap upon the already-present discomfort of anxiety? Identifying the go-to means for coping with this feeling is another step down the pathway to releasing anxiety. Our patterns are just that: tendencies that we have that we will keep acting out over and over and over until we accept the beast.


Using the knowledge that anxiety gives you about who you are as a human being takes the sizzle out of the experience of panic. Leverage your powers for awareness and consciousness. And remember: carry it if you must. But own it. Do not let it own you.