I had a conversation recently with someone who was experiencing anxiety, which reminded me of a time when I had ME/CFS and experienced extreme anxiety.
I remember feeling as if I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the anxiety.
A friend described it as this underlying feeling of anxiety, with no recognisable cause.
I was staying with a friend. I was going through a lot of challenges, including dealing with ME/CFS, the end of a long term relationship and I was having difficulties with a member of my family.
I tried to deal with the anxiety using techniques I knew, but wasn’t successful.
My friend, who was a Buddhist, tried to help, but I didn’t experience any relief.
Anxiety just seemed to be a part of my life.
Looking back to that time now, it is very hard to connect with that experience, as I learned how to deal with my high level of anxiety effectively over 12 years ago.
As I understood how the mind and brain work in relation to anxiety, I was able to reduce the anxiety and experience a sense of calm and peace.
It wasn’t a walk in the park; I had to work at it.
I remember feeling a period of calm for half an hour and then felt anxious again.
However, I told myself that if I can feel calm for half an hour, I can do it again and I can do it for longer.
There were times I really had to work at it.
For example, I decided to train as a hypnotherapist a few weeks before the course started, only a few months after learning the mind/body techniques and then panicked that I wasn’t ready to take on such a big challenge.
I had to use the techniques constantly over a 2 week period before the course started to calm myself down, only to start feeling panic again.
I’d wake up in the middle of the night completely relaxed and then create panic and tension in my whole body in a nano-second!
The next night I woke up in the middle of the night completely relaxed and it was as if I could see myself switching on the anxiety and then managed to stop it.
I was still relaxed!
This blew my mind; that I could create tension so quickly and also generate relaxation.
I was wondering whether I should do the course. A friend who was a coach asked me a great question.
“If you knew it would all work out, what would you do?”
I knew that the answer was to do the course. It was a great decision.
A couple of days before the course started, I was feeling pretty relaxed.
Over time, calm became the new normal!
That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t sometimes feel anxious, but it doesn’t tend to be as all encompassing as it used to be.
For example, in December I had to do a speech at my daughter’s wedding. In the past, the idea of doing that would have been scary- I would have been worrying about it months before the event and would experience tension in my body.
However, I used the techniques I had learnt, so that I would relax quickly each time I thought about it and by the time I actually stood up to do the speech, I felt 95% relaxed!
I was happy with how it went and got great feedback.
OK, everyone was fairly drunk by the time I did the speech! 🙂
Working with clients, some people recognise that they had anxiety issues prior to becoming unwell, whilst others say that the anxiety was a direct consequence of becoming unwell and not being able to trust one’s body.
I have written about this topic before and share some strategies in this article ME/CFS: 7 Strategies For Dealing With Anxiety
For now, consider the folowing:
If you are experiencing anxiety, you can learn to conquer it
Doing so will benefit your health.
If you are experiencing anxiety, consider what steps you can take to address it.
I do 3 free sessions each week. In the session, we explore some simple strategies to generate more calm.
One of the exercises takes one minute and people frequently say that they feel more calm after.
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After working in a demanding job as the Director of a Housing Trust, he went off sick and remained unable to work for the next 8 years.
He discovered a pioneering approach to resolving health issues and got back his health, and now trains others using these same techniques.