Anxiety usually allows me to pay attention intently!
Jaw tightening, upper back tension, and hands clinching as if an attack is imminent! Anxiety tends to manifest in ways that seem to hinder the way we perform many of our life’s daily activities. Well, maybe not this dramatic, but doesn’t it seem that way? Anticipatory misery often hinders how we navigate our way into the world and how we manipulate our world to better fit into it. As I sit here writing this article, I notice my chest begin to swell, warm, burning almost. My breathing becomes labored as my fear of vulnerability creeps in to say hello. I anticipate you will judge this article.
Oftentimes when faced with new or routine dynamics in life, anxiety manifests as fear caused by a particular situation. This fear is often represented over new career positions, nervousness in regard to relationships, existential fear over the next phase in life, or anxiety over something that has already happened. However, anxiety rules the conversation as it tells us ‘this is a new situation, so you have SO much to be afraid of.’
Grin and bear it just doesn’t work.
One of the beauties of depth psychology is the offering of an understanding of how the unconscious and the conscious communicate. In waking life, the vast majority of us do not incorporate unconscious to conscious material. This move typically takes multiple years of understanding unconscious material with a therapist.
Archetypal psychologist James Hillman once said,
“Everyone is afraid of everything that already happen.”
I do understand that Hillman was referring to particular infrastructures in American society, but the point remains the same; the situation has already happened. Where does this anxiety manifest? Is it a human trait? Is the anxiety inborn in us, via something that is imprinted from birth? Or is the anxiety something that is plucked out of the air one day to be used as a serve all technique for safety? In any case, we can all ask the same question, how is anxiety serving us right now, in this current moment?
How does anxiety tend to dominate?
Let’s breakdown exactly how anxiety knocks at the door and manages to permeate our psychic being. Anxiety tends to be that pesky neighbor that visits who we try to hide behind the couch from. We can hear the neighbor ring the bell, to which we say, ‘ssshhh…they’re here!’ Maybe if we ignore the anxiety, it will just go away. But, does the doorbell stop? Or does the bell ring louder and louder? The pesky neighbor is still at the door, but what do we do? Do we answer the anxiety or do we keep pushing it down, feeling the racing heart, sweaty palms, crushing breath, and closing in space.
In gestalt psychotherapy, we want to understand what is manifesting now, in this very moment. What happens when the neighbor rings the bell? Why did you run behind the couch and choose to avoid? What has just happening in your life, that when the neighbor came, you wanted to avoid them? Using gestalt therapy principles and understanding unconscious drives, I help individuals understand what they want out of life. What they want from their jobs, their relationship, the next phase in life, or what they want from this seemingly same situation that is causing them to run and hide behind the couch.
So now what?
In a like manner, what if we lived life as we wanted to? What if we lived the lifestyle we wanted? Living free from anxiety allows one to live the lifestyle they desire; a lifestyle free from dread and doom and perpetual fear. I don’t think the vast majority of us with anxiety say, “oh boy, my anxiety sure is saving my life today, thanks Anxiety!”
Fritz Perls, one of the founders of gestalt therapy, illustrated:
“Every individual, every plant, every animal has only one inborn goal – to actualize itself as it is.”
When we as humans do not realize our goal of becoming self-actualized, everything within our awareness falls to the background and does not then become realized. Therefore, becoming blanked out of our awareness. If we are not aware, then we cannot understand.
What if you lost the connection with a loved one, but wanted to talk to them, but didn’t make any move to talk to them? What if you lived the lifestyle of you wanted to and you talked to them…you would be living the lifestyle of talking to them, therefore, living the lifestyle you want. How would that serve you?
Live the lifestyle free from anxiety.
How is anxiety serving you?
What’s stopping you?
Contact Jeremy Allen for coaching or counseling.