Sometimes things feel like too much. That whole thing about your daughter, for example. Not to mention the new job. And what about the divorce. And now that you think of it, there’s the whole thing about your sister… And your dad’s health…
When anxiety is visiting the house of you, what started as one thing can quickly turn into EV-ree-thing. And quickly everything feels like too much.
Enter, Overwhelm. And then, right on cue, Panic.
Our natural tendency with anxiety (or with anything we experience as unpleasant, really) is to slam the door on it and then try to ignore how it keeps knocking.
Or maybe anxiety has been with you for so long and put you in such hard places that now you are anxious about getting anxious, afraid about when anxiety might come knocking again. In our house-metaphor being afraid of anxiety might look like camping out behind the curtains, every so often peeking out to make sure the coast is clear, but never venturing too far from the curtain and certainly not out and about to enjoy life as you would love to be doing (and as you imagine all those other people who never get anxious are probably doing right this very second, dammit).
Today and over the next week or so, I will be writing to you about a
metaphorical magical blanket for anxiety.
Notice that I am not calling this a magical pill for anxiety. First off, I’m not a doctor. Also, no, you will not be swallowing anything and POOF it is gone. What I am is a massage therapist and a guide in something called “Focusing” (a mind-body technique that allows you to listen to your body’s wisdom), who specializes in working with anxiety.
While I will be describing some of the blanket’s qualities, you —just by showing up and reading, by taking what works for you and leaving the rest, and just by imagining and thereby practicing— will get to be making the anxiety-taming blanket your very own.
Maybe you will spread your blanket in a beautiful meadow of wildflowers somewhere. Maybe you will make a blanket-fort out of it in your imagined or actual bedroom. Maybe you will, in the middle of the night when, yes, anxiety woke you up, make a nest out of your blanket in the tub and give new and dare-I-say innovative(!) meaning to the expression “taking a tub.”
Wherever you end up putting your blanket, however you end up using it, this blanket is perfect for you and whatever is going on with you right here, right now.
You will hear from me in the next day or so, but for now I invite you to have a look at your anxiety-taming blanket as it appears to you right now. The mind’s eye can show a powerful movie. Close your eyes and let it roll. And if you want, of course, tell about it in the comment field below.
P.S. I tip my hat and give a bow to my long-time teachers: Barbara McGavin, Ann Weiser Cornell, Tara Brach, Byron Katie, and Gene Gendlin, and my own therapist, to name just a few. And, last but very much not least, Anxiety itself.