Anxiety is not Prophetic

Anxiety is not Prophetic

I’ve had a rough couple of days.  And honestly, this post is written for me mainly.  But I hope you like it too.  I hold many defenses, beliefs and manifestations from my trauma, but the most prominent has always been my anxiety. When I started this journey, my anxiety was the first thing my therapist noticed giving me the diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder.  My anxiety normally looks the same in my body.  My hearts starts racing, it gets difficult to breathe and my manic mind chatter paralyzes me.  It is very difficult to ground my way out of this feeling, but I am getting better at it.

Even though my anxiety might look the same each time, it comes from many sources.  There are so many triggers for my anxiety, avoidance would never be an option.  And I guess I know that, which is why I haven’t tried that approach, sort of.  Maybe I never thought I tried that approach.  But I think this week, I have to face the fact that I have tried that approach a bit.  One of my biggest triggers for my anxiety is chaos and uncertainty.  I have done a pretty good job of living a boring life.

I know it doesn’t seem that way on the outside.  I am doing a lot of risky things for my business.  Some are working.  Some are not.  But that is life with a business.  My kids go to a great school where they do far more than sit in a classroom and that takes me out in to the world some too.  I travel to give presentations on occasion.  It all seems a bit exciting from a distance.  But in reality, most of my days look the same.  There is a schedule and we follow it.  We eat our three meals, we go to school every day, I work the same hours, and honestly, most of my life happens at home.

But recently, I have been feeling the urge to get out of the house a bit more.  I planned a trip to England and Scotland this summer.  And this week, I decided to join a class field trip to a nature preserve along a bay in Virginia.  It is gorgeous here.  And it has moments of peace that are hard to find almost anywhere else.  It is a big lodge.  But there are 14 10-year-old children and 5 adults in this space.  And they are spending their days in the wetlands, on the beaches and various other kinds of natural environments full of grime and muck.  It is chaos on so many levels.  On top of that, I can’t just drive my car out of here because they don’t allow public vehicle access.  I have to be driven out when someone is available to do it.  So now, I am trapped in chaos.  Trigger central.

Here’s the thing.  I knew what I was getting myself into.  Everything was explained ahead of time.  I knew the chaos and unpredictability would be tough on me.  But I chose to step out in a new way.  Nobody forced me, coerced me or anything else.  I chose to be here.  But my controller would vehemently disagree with that statement.  My controller was absolutely opposed to this decision from the beginning:

“You have responsibilities at home.  You can’t get away from your business.”

“You should enjoy the peace and quiet at home for a change while the kids go on the field trip.  You never get peace and quiet.”

“You’re going to work, work, work to provide yourself three days of space, so you can go be stressed out there.  What a stupid idea?”

Is my controller right?  On some levels, my controller has a point.  But my controller has a point because my controller is looking for all the reasons they are right.  So when the anxiety kicked in to high gear the day before we left for the trip, I could hear my controller ripping me apart for my stupid choices to leave the comfort of my own home and schedule.  I could hear the controller saying that things would go wrong, horribly wrong.  The car would break down, the chaos would be too much for me and someone would get bitten by a snake (most likely me).  This is how the controller works.  And sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if that anxiety is right.  Maybe I am predicting the future.  Maybe I know something nobody else knows.

And when I get started on the trip, I start looking for all the reasons my controller is right.  The weather isn’t perfect so I shouldn’t have come.  I saw two snakes so I shouldn’t have come.  I’m not sleeping well so I shouldn’t have come.  My clients need me to be more available so I shouldn’t have come.  I find all the things that support my anxiety about coming.  And I perpetuate the cycle of never leaving the comfort of my own home and schedule.  And my controller is satisfied.  Their work here is done.

But it’s not true.  None of that anxiety is true.  Staying at home doesn’t keep me safe.  Choosing not to take chances doesn’t keep me safe.  It keeps me bored.  It keeps me unfulfilled.  It keeps me wondering about everything I am missing out on.  It keeps me wondering if there is more to life.

Yesterday, I was walking down a “road” with another parent when we spotted a snake.  We weren’t surprised, but it still jolted us a bit.  I told her to be careful and keep a distance until it moved.  I told her they could spring the length of their body.  I said we must respect the snake.  It appeared to be crossing the road, but at the moment, it wasn’t moving.  She misjudged which side had the head and said she was doing to walk around behind it (which was right in front of it).  I said, “You go ahead.  I’m going to stay here so we have someone who can call the ambulance.”

We both laughed and neither of us moved any closer until the snake passed.  I wasn’t anxious in that moment.  And I think we will tell this story for years to come, not as a scary story, but as a funny story, a story I would not have if I had stayed at home.

So try not to listen to the anxiety.  Try not to let it tell you how your life will unfold.  It doesn’t really know.  It can’t know.  Your controller can’t tell the future.  They can only repeat the past.

 

 

If you are triggered by snakes, don’t read further, but I had to include a photo to go with the story. Does anyone know if it was poisonous?  Either way, we did the safe thing.

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26 Comments

  1. From the skin, looks like a cottonmouth. Good thing you stayed where you are.

    Reply
    • That is what we thought. They are the most common snake in that area. Good thing we stayed back. 😉

      Reply
  2. Thank you Elizabeth for the story. I think after divorcing my abusive Narcissist ex. a few years ago, and continuing to go through a terrible custody battle, I have let my controller get the best of me on a consistant basis. I’ve actually always been a social and adventurous person. Now I have isolated myself even more from other people then when I was staying in the abuse. I feel the other part of me that wants to break out of the safe zone I have created. I have found though, that in the last few months I have allowed myself a few more days of adventure than my “controller” thinks I should, and it has been worth it!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Thank you Liz. It can be so hard to break free of the controller when they seem to make so much sense. I am glad you are letting yourself have more adventure.

      Reply
  3. This, as always, was so great!
    I too find myself indulging in my controllers catastrophic thinking- trying to convince myself of every reason I shouldn’t try something new.
    It was beyond refreshing reading your thought process and realizing I am not the only one! Like you wrote,it is astounding how Questioning your controllers “rationale” instantaneously begins to ease the anxiety and creates space for venturing out of your comfort zone. Finding humor does wonders in neutralizing it as well 🙂 thanks again!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. I am glad I could help you feel less alone.

      Reply
  4. Thank you once again for your transparency. Gives us so much hope! I too was dx with GAD two decades ago and only got dx with chronic PTSD this year. Chaos of any Kind ( messy kitchen etc) trigger me badly something I could not understand until now! Enjoying your blog and videos so much !! It’s comforting to read your work.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Monique!

      Reply
  5. Thank you Elizabeth, for always speaking about your interprocess, letting others see That we do have choices and we do have possibilities. These are struggles and we can walk through them. I look forward to your posts and your videos and I have barely scratched the surface of anything archived.
    The inner child work is definitely the key, the magic, if there is one, the magic of realizing we have a key and and allowing faith, hope and courage to lead the way. Baby step by baby step, occasional leaps and bounds, baby steps.

    Reply
    • Baby steps is the only way. Thank you Mary!

      Reply
  6. Thank you for sharing this story and insight, it was very helpful to me today.

    Reply
    • I am glad to hear that Kate.

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  7. Your honesty & vulnerability always impress me Elisabeth. Just reading each experience you have, this time about your anxiety and how you handled it in your realistic way, is very helpful.

    Reply
  8. “Your controller can’t tell the future. They can only repeat the past.”
    Elisabeth what an incredible story of courage and stepping out if your comfort zone. Total awesome and high fives!!
    What a powerful sharing…and the darndest truth so did appear….the snake!!
    You did something different.yes!! Snakes represent transformation and you met Mr. Or Ms. Snake along his journey and smack in front of your path…..I saw this story is a job well done and snake says….oh yes you are doing quite well!! So glad you stepped up and stepped out and you survived and look what you learned!! Powerful Elisabeth and in so many ways at so many levels? Malo.

    Reply
    • I didn’t even think about the meaning of the snake until I saw your comment (and I even know what it means). Thank you for reminding me of that. And thank you for your beautiful words.

      Reply
  9. This is exactly what I do.. I knew that my anxiety does that but didn’t really realize how much I rely on it being prophetic until something clicked when I read this. Glad to hear that the trip went well and you avoided the snake. Appreciate you sharing these stories with us – I ALWAYS learn something about myself – I sometimes feel like you’re in my head. So much to learn.

    Reply
    • Thank you Victoria. It is so easy to fall for the anxiety. It is incredibly convincing. I am glad this piece helped you see that. Love to you.

      Reply
  10. Hi Elisabeth, once again thank you for sharing. Sometimes the most wonderful things in life lie on the other side of discomfort/anxiety. I was offered an all expenses paid work trip that normally I would have said “no” to but with awareness I realized this and so I said “yes”. I am so glad I did. It turned out to be one of the best trips I have had in a while. Yes, there were moments of anxiety and tension along the way but when we open to it we realize that it will not destroy us like we believed. We are no longer is survival mode. Remember we survived!!

    When we move past discomfort/anxiety and finally say “yes” to experiences in life – we open the door for new and exciting opportunities! And we learn along the way; we learn that it is possible, we learn that we are deserving, we learn that there can be joy and happiness and we are worthy of it!

    For a humorous reminder of this, some people may recall the Seinfeld episode where George decides that to better his life for one day he is going to do the “opposite” of everything he would normally do. It ends up that as he does everything the opposite of his usual choices he starts to realize that everything that shows up in his day is incredible and fantastic! Why? Because HE made a change in how he chose to show up. It is a great, humorous lesson for all of us.

    Certainly, it is not an easy task and I definitely know/experience the challenges involved in breaking through the programming. Sometimes a bit of humor helps relieve our struggle.
    Check out the episode for a laugh.

    Kudos to Elisabeth for leading by example. Showing the path of light even when the path traverses through some darkness and can seem scary. 🙂

    Love and hugs to you and all fellow supporters

    Reply
    • Thank you Wendy for these wonderful comments and examples. I have recently decided to say yes more to social experiences. I often use the excuse of needing a babysitter and stay at home. I know it will kick up my anxiety, but it’s time so stop missing out on that part of life.

      Reply
  11. Wow what a story! I’m a trauma survivor of a human trafficking experience at age 15. 3 of us ran away to San Fransico, and we were sex trafficked for a month. If it wasn’t for one of them escaping who know what would have happened.
    I my memories are just coming back for the first time I’m almost 59. Very painful memories. A lot of pain. I think I killed I guy out of self defense, or they set it up to look that way. Having a lot of difficulty in my marriage with him not understanding.

    Reply
    • I am so sorry to hear about your story and the pain you are in. Memory recovery is incredibly difficult. Our entire narrative/life story has to shift when we recover them. And people who are in our life find it hard to understand. Sending my love and light to you.

      Reply
  12. Thank you so much for this post. I’m a week behind, but the timing is perfect: I’m panicking about an upcoming trip with very similar ‘controller’ narratives in my head. I *should* be ecstatic and grateful for a free trip to a dream location, but instead I’m freaking out about everything my controller thinks is going to go wrong! Thanks to your post, I’m practicing telling my controller “thank you for looking out for me; I’m making a responsible, safe decision to go on this exciting trip, and I am capable and ready in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.” I wish I could make this ridiculous, unhelpful rumination go away, but I’m just going to keep repeating that to myself all week if necessary. Best wishes to everyone struggling with this!

    Reply
    • Thank you Barb. Try writing from the controller too. When we embrace that resistance and let it express, it helps it to release the hold it has on us.

      Reply
  13. Thank for this! I can relate to this. I overcame my depression, so I am hopeful that I will overcome my anxiety.

    Reply
    • I am sure you will do it Cassandra! Sending my love to you.

      Reply

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