Anxiety: 5 Notions & 1 Hunch
And zero diagnoses.
5 NOTIONS of anxiety:
1) Anxiety, or more accurately “fear”, has always been part of the human condition. It just wasn’t called anxiety back in the day. It was called: “trying to stay alive”. The caveman with an anxiety problem was normal and stayed alive. The calm and "relaxed" caveman was dead. Probably being eaten by some carnivorous creature.
2) We should consider the entire experience of anxiety. The whole package. A to Z. Start to finish. We should consider the “gestalt” of anxiety.
The German word Gestalt means “form or shape”. The sum is more than the whole of its parts. Gestalt psychological theory is one the most important schools of experiential therapy. Gestalt psychotherapy focuses on the experience of the entire system. All parts evaluated together as one.
3) I have a notion that the anxiety gestalt is highly individualized. Anxiety is a natural part of the “fight or flight” system. The “glitch in the system” may be different for each of us. For some, negative thoughts are overwhelming. The irrational nature of common thinking errors associated with anxiety consistently ruins the day for some people. For others, the issue is mainly physical in nature. More panic attack than anxiety. It is likely that many people experience “all of the above” or various combinations.
4) An accurate assessment of the problem is necessary for resolution of the problem. KNOW YOURSELF.
For example: I can identify thinking errors. I can handle the anxiety associated with these thinking errors. I can handle the restlessness associated with childhood trauma. I have been programmed to respond in a healthier manner to these manifestations of anxiety. However, this assumes my current state is a cognitive distortion or a trauma related issue. What if the problem is NOT grounded in trauma or irrational thoughts?
5) GHOST ANXIETY: For the last several years I have been experiencing this sporadic, random, and very uncomfortable “feeling” of “impending doom”. It’s a sudden flash of discomfort (I don’t know how else to explain it).
1 HUNCH on a solution:
The phantom discomfort described above leaves shortly after I become aware of the discomfort. Otherwise, it is like a louder version of white noise in the background. Irritating yet barely perceptible.
I will usually snap to attention when my wife makes a comment such as: “What’s wrong….” She usually makes this comment in response to me taking in a massive breath — you know the anxiety breath. "The deep inhale exasperated exhale anxiety breath".
The question, “what’s wrong” will bring me back to the present moment. And then the ghost anxiety is gone.
I can certainly live with this “anxiety”. No one knows when I’m under the spell of the ghost. But it is quite an odd experience. It's as if I am being subconsciously pounded by unidentifiable triggers. I don’t know why this “ghost anxiety” jumps on me.
I do know that action is my number one defense. I also know that I can't take the appropriate action at the appropriate time if I am not aware of the need for action.
Therefore, the most important thing I can do is increase my self awareness.
I will work backward from the "ghost feeling".
I will use the ghost against the ghost.
The ghost creates a "vibe" that is tangible. I can feel it.
HOWEVER, it is easy for me to ignore the vibe because it's not that intense. More annoying than painful. Think white noise on a higher volume.
Once I "catch the vibe" I predict the ghost will bounce relatively quickly.
However, if the ghost sticks around I will immediately engage in goal oriented, healthy, and positive activities.
I will do deep work or exercise or make those pesky follow up calls.
I will take this intentional action FOR 30 MINUTES and then check back in with myself.
Rinse and repeat as needed.
I need to keep perspective. I’m just gonna be uncomfortable at times. It will pass and it will pass quicker if I engage in self defense.