Monday, 20 February 2017

Discernment by Susan L.

  I haven't filled out too many of my worksheets but that's okay. Instead there's been many hours of quiet contemplation as anxiety itself is being pulled apart and understood.
  Not all anxiety is bad. Excitement creates the same tenseness, the same increase in blood pressure. Excitement and anticipation are the motivational face of anxiety. They are "run to" emotions instead of "run from" even though the physiological response is nearly identical. It's wonderful to be able to recognize the positive face of this constant presence in my life.
  I've been led to think about hyper vigilance, the unspoken need to always be on guard "in case something bad happens". It's like being caught in the dryer, spinning around. Hyper vigilance creates anxiety, the "A" word causes hyper vigilance. By looking around and acknowledging the dangers in a given situation as well as how an environment is safe has begun to dismantle the need to be constantly alert and ready to run.
  In reality, danger is everywhere: slippery sidewalks, a hot stove, traffic, knitting needles 😃. Yet there are just as many efforts to keep people, me included, safe. Salt for the ice on the roads, a habit of making sure the stove burner is turned off, street lights and crossing guards...laughing at the idea my needles are going to become possessed and attack me.
  Part of what has evolved over the last week is patience instead of self condemnation. What I now recognize as having been a lifelong companion will take time to unravel. Many of the things that make me anxious seem childish but in giving myself permission to feel this way regardless of an adult's logic has also helped. Is a fear of spiders logical?
  There is a growing ability to acknowledge and be thankful for the times when fears have kept me safe. Danger was very, very real while driving the tractor in a hilly hay field so therefore I was ultra careful (and incredibly anxious the entire time). Hmm, simply writing about it sent a wave of adrenaline through my system. It's a big anxiety trigger even though it is only a memory. God willing, I'll never have to sit behind the wheel of a tractor again.
  Which affirms the connection between present anxiety and the past. Most of what makes me anxious has been with me a long, long time. Thank You, Lord, for helping me unravel the mess. Thank You for providing clarity, understanding and compassion.
  Thank You, Lord, for helping me finally listen to what is going on in my body and brain.
  "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." 2 Cor 10:3-4

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