“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” ~ Robin Williams
Lousie Hay known for her years spent researching and translating the language of our emotions and how they manifest physically in our bodies shares that the meaning of:
Anxiety is not trusting the flow and process of life.
Depression is anger you feel you do not have the right to have. Hopelessness.
Both of these emotional states as they manifest will create many other physical issues outside of themselves. Often people with anxiety and depression also experience intestinal or gut issues, hypertension, blood pressure issues, dizziness, panic attacks, fatigue, body image issues, weight issues, headaches, stomach upset, over all body pain, and inability to sleep or concentrate to name a few things. As you can imagine, any one of these physical ailments can be a challenge within itself, however the person with anxiety and/or depression (as they often go hand in hand) may experience a multitude of secondary issues at any given flare up, prior or post.
The beautiful language of the body that we have been taught to disregard in society speaks what the underlying roots of the anxiety and depression are through these triggering body expressions. Our bodies beg us to pay attention and to deal with the foundations that created this state of illness, wanting healing and the reward of feeling stable and good. However, often we continue to ignore the roots and only treat the symptoms believing that they are the culprit to our misery instead of the mouthpiece to our hope of restoration and guidance.
Everything we humans do in life is to obtain a feeling. Often the feeling that we are striving to achieve is happiness in whatever fashion we are looking for it. We believe that a relationship, sex, money, power, a beautiful image, strong body or a big house with some lucrative position will gain us this happiness when the reality is that these things bring us a fleeting feeling of it but it is not one that we can hold steady with. The primary reason for this, is that we humans are hunters by our very biological nature and we are not meant to be stagnant in any aspect of our lives. We are meant to desire something, hunt it, capture it (achieve it), bask in our pleasure of having it while we catch our breath and then desire something fresh and new and repeat the cycle. This is what humans are about. This is our personal evolution as well as our societal. Yet, we walk through our lives with a distorted view that we are to be able to maintain this elated state of happiness or comfort for that matter and cease to want for more. How silly we are to think this. Nothing brings with it more misery than not growing and expanding within our human design.
Our bodies and the emotions that we feel allow us a direct communication line to our authentic core structure. Want to know who you are? Get more familiar with the language of your body. Everything that has occurred over the course of your existence, plus the ripples of your parents and their parents’ parents are all housed in your body and how it reacts to life experiences. There is a mass coding that we all have and in our tuning into our emotional selves we can see clearly what our truth is around any given life subject area.
I have partnered with anxiety and depression over the course of my lifetime and in times of struggle, I suffered from my blindness to what my emotional and physical bodies were attempting to communicate to me. The more I resisted and fought against these languages, making them my enemy and calling myself a victim to them, the more pain I landed in. Feeling lost, stuck, unstable, fearful and self-blaming. I would sit in shame of how I was showing up in my life and for the people that I loved so dearly. The issue is that I was being blind to what my soul you could say was wanting me to know and that was that I was not paying attention to matters that needed to be reckoned with — often these matters were microscopic in the current moment but the wound and expression that I was living out through the anxiety, depression and all the secondary states had been triggered by some event, statement or action and sometimes just the way I felt about something. These triggers launched roots down into my psyche where they found safety in something from my past that was unresolved and here they found haven. As they did that, they grew into an avalanche that would come out and destroy anything in its path.
Often, I found myself in an emotional upheaval, unable to express clearly what I felt or thought. I would become reactive, fearful, rageful even and not myself. This state of being did no good for the people in my life. Taking aim and firing at my loved ones with the arsenal of wounds and pain that I was harboring in my heart only pushed people away. Falling apart and becoming a self-loathing pity party did zero good as well. No matter what direction, those around me found themselves on eggshells and uncertain as to what they could do, how to treat me and untrusting of the situation and of me. From here my loved ones started to treat me differently. Their actions were ones of caution and concern. Not wanting to rattle my cage they stopped communicating to a great degree about their feelings, needs or thoughts about things. My reactionary state of trauma that showed its head through anxiety, depression and all other avenues also triggered my loved ones into a state of armoring themselves up emotionally.
Emotional armor is something that we all have and pick up when needed in times that we feel threatened and do not want to feel emotional heartbreak or pain from an event. We often mask or attempt to numb out in some way, putting ourselves into a conscious state of unconsciousness. When we feel we are in uncertain territory with someone that we love it is a natural byproduct to have our emotional armor come up, however when we do this (often as a habit and unnoticed by the self) our entire demeanor changes. Our body language, tonality in how we speak, even word choices all become altered to support the armor that we have picked up to protect ourselves and this altering of behavior then speaks to the one with anxiety and/or depression that they are not loved or accepted as they are. Breaking their trust in their loved one and supporting the deeply rooted programs that are the actual culprit to the manifestation of anxiety and depression.
Often the internal dialogue that accompanies such events for the one with anxiety/depression are:
- “I am a bad person.”
- “I am not good enough.”
- “I am too much.”
- “It’s all my fault.”
- “I deserve to be treated like this.”
- “I am not lovable or worthy.”
- “I am a disappointment.”
- “I am different or broken.”
- “I should have done something different.”
- “I should have known better.”
- “I cannot be trusted.”
- “I cannot trust anyone, even myself.”
- “It’s not okay to feel or show my emotions.”
- “I cannot let this out.”
- “I am a failure, powerless, helpless, weak, stupid.”
- “I have to be perfect and please everyone.”
And so many more trauma responses.
Our wounding triggers other people’s wounding. We often live our whole lives and all of our relating to others from a place of our own wound, making it virtually impossible to ever trust that we are seeing any level of authenticity from ourselves or our loved ones.
The inevitable lesson that a person with anxiety/depression learns is that in order to be accepted, loved and have the responses that we want from our loved ones is that we must bury our feelings. We must masquerade as though we are happy, okay, healthy, and stable to paint the perception that our loved ones need to feel safe in our presence. Making those of us with such challenges feel all the more alone and not understood or accepted. However, this is the path that we choose more often than not. And we get damn good at our fake smiles and upbeat laughter and personalities. We hide and proclaim that we are too busy or have a stomach bug on the days that we cannot cope with barring the mask of what we believe is needed from us.
I started this article with a quote from Robin Williams, a man who lit up the movie screens and the lives of many with his big smile, humor, artful way of living and his childlike wonder, yet behind those masks he wore he found himself living in a perpetual state of pain. You look back at his life and you wonder how could such a person with everything he was, had and gave to the world take his own life? And the answer lies here in how he was protecting the world and his loved ones from the demons that he was haunted by. He fought the battle for as long as he could and then one day, he had no more fight left in him. Many people who have been in those shoes, self-included way back in the day, found themselves overtaken with the fear of rejection. A knowing or certainty that they were causing more damage than good and that if they could just stop themselves from spewing their pain onto everyone then maybe they could be worthy of being loved and accepted.
It is the stopping of spewing the pain that people with anxiety/depression learn to turn away from the best they can and with whatever assistance they need, but then it is just that concept that closes the doorway to actual healing and connection.
“If I can just limit or better completely stop spewing my anxiety, depression, fear, concern, anger, negativity, then maybe…. Just maybe I can earn my worthiness back to be loved and accepted.”
The testing grounds are already there for most, they have looked into the eyes of their loved ones, and they have seen the misery and disappointment too often that they blame themselves for and they have found the strength to be quiet and to simmer their emotions and trauma and present the image that they feel is required of them. That image that is muted, safe and simple to understand, and as they present this, they make observations of how they are now being treated. It is more connective, loving, accepting and pleasing.
The reward of gaining the feeling that they crave so deeply is given to them.
And so the saga of anxiety and depression continues.
The building blocks of belief that keep gaining support without realizing that the only way to achieve this “feeling of happiness, of being loved, cared for, good enough,” can only be as long as you avoid Pandora’s box and let creep out your fear of abandonment. Your trauma of being let down or not seen. As long as you can hold your past at bay you can bask in this “good feeling.” Unfortunately, those mental/emotional muscles grow weary and our bodies demand to speak our truth. They wail at us with intestinal issues and hypertension. They keep us up at night and force us to feel our pain of turning away from the things that we do not want to recognize until they force us to wake up and deal with what we have been ignoring.
The answer that our bodies are demanding is exactly what we are wanting from those that we love and love us. Our bodies are saying pay attention, care for me, honor me, support me, hold me in safety and speak.
The answer to healing is never about shutting down, hiding, masking and numbing. These are all based in fear. The answer is in personal growth and unearthing all of you. Falling in love with that inner child who is scared. It is not in the expectation of some deadline to suddenly have this problem solved. We are all trauma cases and the only way for any human to live a life of radiance is to accept that we do not see all of ourselves at any given moment because this life is a life about revealing and learning ourselves. The ever changing, evolving you. Perfectly imperfect.
Loving you from here.
Stop Existing & Start Living
“Coaching for Grown A*s Believers”
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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