–She said, What if I never meet Mr. Right? What if I can’t get pregnant? What if I’m not enough? What if he cheats? What if I have a panic attack? What if I’m dying? The spiral of fear and avoidance continues daily.
Anxiety attaches itself to everything in its path like a tornado picking up debris.
And she stayed home on the couch. She cried. She rarely went out.
We had a conversation about what’s the worst that can happen? We had the conversation about not discounting the positives. (You take credit for all the bad things; good things are a fluke). We had the conversation about trying new things leads to confidence and mastery, and really, you’re so young; live a little. But still she crouched and cried and was so scared.
You see as a child she was put down, put up, cast aside, never knew what her unreliable, mentally unstable, poor and single parent was going to do next. So of course she thought everything good would be taken away, for sure. And slowly that became her self-fulfilling prophesy.
She panicked before her wedding day.
She missed appointments.
She rarely picked up the phone.
The keys to unlocking her phobias and panic were simple:
1. Learn to relax. I mean really do it. Meditate. Breathe. Stretch. Walk. Read. Write.
2. Forgive your parents for they always screw you up – (but generally they can’t help it).
3. Lean into the pain. Embrace it and allow yourself to be gently comforted by loving-kindness from within yourself.
4. Read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. You will learn to be patient with your pain and vulnerability.
5. And finally, watch this TED talk for 20-somethings and seize your life now! It’s yours not to squander!
Much like Alex in “Free Solo,”
- Scientists do know something about brain activity in high-risk, boredom-prone people. When we experience joy and excitement in a new situation, a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, called dopamine, triggers that response in our brains. It appears that high-risk, boredom-prone people may have naturally lower levels of dopamine, meaning that they require a heightened sense of novelty to stimulate their brains [source: Schneider et al]. In this light, boredom may serve as the lackluster yin to our yang of excitement and pleasure.
No outside fix will fix this. Not love, not money, not sex, not text, not drugs, not shopping. But inside you must still your body and mind and say, I am OK. I am enough. I am not like them. And at my yoga retreat we learned to hold the pose/pain/stretch just a second longer. Then savor deep tissue learning.
The joy is in the inbetweens.