Anxiety is a lie.
For me it is a separation from reality, a disconnect from the circumstances as they are. When I experience anxiety, it is usually because circumstances seem more challenging than they really are, because I can’t see resolution for a situation that is not very difficult to resolve, or because I don’t feel that I can advocate for myself when I need things to change to accommodate me.
I could calmly manage challenges, but my brain has a trauma injury and it doesn’t like to calmly do anything. There is a disconnect between what I can do and what I think I can do, what happens and what I think happens. That disconnect often results in a panic attack.
There are a lot of terms for what I experience, but I’ll skip that and just say my experience the last few years has been one of disconnect. I have felt disconnected from reality, from myself, from others, from my ability to do work, from hobbies, etc. Not a surprise, really, since my neuron pathways are our of whack.
The amazing thing about brains is that they can heal. I am not limited to disconnect, I am not limited to anxiety as a controlling response, but I have to actively work toward connecting the right pathways. I have been doing the hard work (it is hard work) and am more connected again. That’s exciting. It’s a process, but I am seeing progress and I definitely have the motivation to continue.
For me, part of my struggle with anxiety has included my weight. I tend to eat when I’m stressed (and I am stressed a good bit of the time), and it has been hard for me to want to engage in strenuous exercise (working theory is that I unconsciously avoid intensity when I can). Calories in > calories out = weight gain. Weight gain = all the insecurity that comes with it.
I started yoga because it is supposed to help me be calm and focused. What I didn’t realize is that yoga also helps me connect to my body. When I have to think about moving and breathing and engaging muscles and holding poses and not falling over, I am connected to myself in a new way. I am overriding the disconnect. That has helped me to change my focus on food from mindless consumption of fat and carbs to what helps me feel good, what I eat so that I am satisfied and enjoy the experience of eating rather than an empty, unfocused coping mechanism. I get to see what my strength and flexibility are and what they are not, and I am able to set goals. No, I can’t do that today, but I can keep practicing until I can. No, I can’t achieve that yet, but I am working toward it and am improving in the process.
Sometimes the little things are big things.