Anxiety is never a one size fits all experience.
There are as many triggers, intensities, frequencies, responses, durations and forms of anxiety as there are people to experience them.
And so, the question isn’t whether or not we become anxious. That bug bites each of us eventually. The question is how easily and quickly and effectively we calm down after becoming anxious.
For example, I’ve had experiences where anxiety took me completely by surprise. Like that time in my early twenties when I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do with my life and anxiety completely knocked me on my ass and resulting in curling up into the fetal position and crying alone in the corner of my apartment until I fell asleep from exhaustion.
Not a great weekend.
On the other hand, I’ve also had experiences where I was acutely aware of the incoming tremors on my anxiety seismograph. Like that time in my mid thirties when I was at a meeting, noticed and named my feelings of claustrophobia, nausea and disconnection, calmly removed myself from the situation and took a long walk while breathing deeply and listening to my favorite album.
And within the hour, I was back to normal.
Take that, existential crisis that never happened.
In fact, I was quite proud of myself for recognizing, responding and recovering in such a healthy and expedient way. Too bad it took me thirteen years to learn that lesson.
As my guitar teacher once said, it doesn’t matter if we break a string, only how quickly we return to the music.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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