Day four has been the most difficult to put into place.
I have suffered from anxiety since my heart attack in 1997, at the age of 39. I died on the table in front of my children and was brought back by a very knowledgeable retired paramedic. I spent three days in ICU. I was in Van Horn, Texas on my way back to Florida from San Diego. All of it was a nightmare, but that’s a different story.
Most of my anxiety is rooted in Thanataphobia – the fear of death. Again, another story for another day.
My bouts of anxiety have been increasing in frequency and severity over that past 4-5 years. Of course, as is the case, external stimuli feeds into all of this and has at times rendered me utterly helpless to deal with everyday life. I’ve been analyzing the root of my anxiety for several months now and came to some incredible realizations. My anxiety and my fear are bedmates, bound to each other to incapacitate me, because that is some twisted means of staying in survival mode. I’ve been there since age seven. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. It’s familiar, like that worn pair of shoes or faded, stretched out high school jersey. Now that I have released fear, losing anxiety logically follows. Fear feeds anxiety, anxiety feeds fear. One cannot exist without the other.
Breathing feels different, as does the concept of how to deal with panicked moments and being unsure of feeling safe. In light of my past life experiences, safety is the one thing I am definitely assured of. I no longer fear for my life, or wonder when the next fist or boot will connect with my body. I no longer worry about being demeaned, degraded or berated, by a “loved one.” Personal safety is the foundation for allowing myself to step out of survival mode and into living mode.