Phase 3 – Peace and recovery
- Anxiety serves me, it serves a purpose
- Peace agreement
- Acceptance and invitation
1. You need your anxiety
In the final phase you start to understand that without anxiety you wouldn’t be here alive. The typical example of cavemen is given here. You need to have anxiety to pump you full of adrenaline which causes blood to flow from non-important areas such as your tummy and to go to your muscles so you can run awaaaaaay.
This still applies in our daily life. I recall during my work one lady in the hospital all of a sudden collapsed and I was the only one there at a time with a group of 4 or 5 nurses looking at me for instructions on what to do. At that time derealisation was high and I was struggling to cope with it. But when this happened, adrenaline hit me. My mood went from a casual stroll down the corridor to pin point focus on the situation and to what was happening around me. I was able to direct the nurses to perform chest compressions (CPR) and we electrocuted the lady with a shock which saved her life prior to any help arriving. I needed the adrenaline and anxiety. Without it I would have been too slow, without anxiety the lady could have died.
Imagine if you didn’t have anxiety. You would cross the street without fearing being hit by traffic. You would not avoid anything dangerous. So it is there for a PURPOSE, we need it. This changes your perspective of fully hating it as a really bad thing that you need to REMOVE from your life to something that will ALWAYS be with you, something that is wired into you and it is something that you both love and hate at the same time. You cant remove the anxious response that is hard wired in you. So stop trying. Accept that this is how your body works.
“I LOVE THE ABILITY THAT MY BODY HAS TO FEEL ANXIOUS BECAUSE WITHOUT IT, I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SURVIVE”
2. Peace agreement
This step requires some isolation and quiet time for reflection. Think of all the times your anxiety has made you feel embarrassed, think of how many times you have missed out on life because of it. Think of how your stress levels are always high because of it. Think of how many sleepless nights it has caused you. Think of all the moments in life that passed you by while you were waging war on the inside and everyone else seemed to enjoy it but you. Think of all the stress hormones and health issues you have caused yourself. Think of all the tears. Think of all the friends lost. Think of where you would have been if anxiety wasn’t there, that outgoing care free and exploring soul you have inside you, that soul that is trapped an never allowed to express itself. Think of everything bad your anxiety has done to you. There would be so many instances and things such that this will likely bring tears to your eyes. Cry it out, go for it, you are brave and you have done so well to make it this far, many people don’t, you have enough to cry about…
Then consider this: Has fighting any harder ever helped you? Has being brave made it less? Has pushing it away ever made it easier to deal with? Has anything you have done ever made it go away? Have you worked out any way to get rid of it? No. It is still there and alive. You want to rip it out but it is still there, like a part of you.
SO THEN WHY FIGHT IT? Nothing has worked, why keep trying? You have been through rock bottom, you have been up and down, you have tried everything you can think of. Why not GIVE UP THIS FIGHT? and let it be? Wouldn’t you be much happier if you stop living an inside battle? Stop making every living day a battle between you and anxiety. Stop making every day a living hell for you. Stop watching your life pass by occupied fighting anxiety while everyone is out there having fun. You don’t have to wait for happiness and peace, you can just accept your situation as it is and not wait for a better tomorrow.
STOP THE WAR IN YOUR BRAIN, MAKE PEACE.
Below is my peace setting with anxiety:
If you think that fighting anxiety may work, I can assure you it doesn’t. How can you fight something that is wired within you? You cant. You have a centre in the brain called the amygdala which is responsible for fear and it is programmed to do just that: fear and anxiety. I believed for many years that I can fight anxiety, and sure enough I failed. I tried over and over again to be stronger and braver. But I failed over and over again.
See my writings below as I tried to fight it, only then to figure out its not working and cross it all off, then try again, then cross it off etc. Learn from my fight and my struggles, these are so hard for me to post because at the time they were filled such such PAIN:
I thought I could make my mind “straight” and fix things. Rather than live dodging anxiety (the diagram on the left), I thought I could fight through it.
Sit in insolation and consider this:
3. Acceptance and invitation
“DEAR ANXIETY. OVER MY LIFE I HAVE COME TO KNOW YOU REALLY WELL AND HATE YOUR FU***N GUTS. YES I HATE YOU. YOU HAVE CONTROLLED ME, YOU HAVE DICTATED HOW I LIVE, YOU HAVE CAUSED ME MORE PAIN THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN MY LIFE.
YOU HAVE F****D UP MY LIFE.
EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE TO REMOVE YOU HAS NOT WORKED. I HAVE NO MORE ENERGY, NO MORE PASSION TO FIGHT YOU. I AM DONE. I ACCEPT DEFEAT.
WITH THIS DEFEAT I DECLARE TO THE UNIVERSE THAT I AM AT PEACE WITH, I TOTALLY ACCEPT YOU AS A PART OF ME, I NO LONGER WISH YOU ARE GONE, I AM AT PEACE WITH YOUR PRESENCE. I AM AT PEACE WITH LIFE, I GIVE UP RESISTING YOU…”
This step takes the above step even further. With just making peace with anxiety, you still dread its presence. You hate it. And that is normal. But ask your self this: why should you live the rest of your life and just accept its presence and still in the background be in a continuous state of wishing it wasn’t there? Sure you are at peace with it but why live daily in the hope that it goes away one day. Why do we have to wait for one day to come? Why can’t that one day be today?
Think of all the times anxiety has affected you. Think of all the blushing, all the stuttering, all the isolation, all the avoidance, all the stress, all those nights you couldn’t sleep, all those intrusive thoughts about harming others or yourself, all the limitations your life has suffered as a result. How badly are the effects in your life today? Chances are they are not huge. So that’s exactly the point, you have BEEN through the worse anxiety you can imagine so WHO CARES if it happens again, and again, and again? It will PASS just like it did every other time, next time is no different.
And you come to realize that even if your anxiety came at you with full force then you have been through it in the past, its not the first time. And those times passed, didn’t they? And you still made it out alive from them? Yes indeed and hence you are reading this. How bad can it get, what is the worst thing? Death? Well everyone will face that regardless, at least then I don’t have to face you daily. So what ever happens I am ready for it. Then start to EXPECT it to be there so that when you do things you are mentally ready for anxiety to pop up. Its not stranger, it is a welcome guest. After expecting it, start to WELCOME it. Bring it with you where ever you go. Go out and experience more of it. Get in a social situation and experience it and WHO CARES what happens! You blush, stutter, go all red pink and green, you spew, you faint, you say something silly, you wet your self, you have palpitations, you end up in hospital… WHO CARES??? Has it not happened already and passed? If it visits you regardless, why on earth should we not invite it in instead??
"ANXIETY – I NOW AM NOT ONLY AT PEACE WITH YOU, BUT I INVITE YOU. THE MORE I FEEL YOU, THE MORE I WANT OF YOU. COME JOIN ME. SO WHAT IF YOU COME, WHAT IF I MAKE A FOOL OF MYSELF, WHAT IF I FAINT, WHAT IF I STUTTER? WHAT IF I BLUSH, WHAT IF I SOUND SILLY”
You now have a new friend, anxiety.
You look around, you are all alone.
You shout: “anxiety, why is it that when I deeply accepted you and wanted you to come that you have deserted me, where did you go????????”