Why does anxiety find you when you are alone?

 Woman with anxiety looking at mirror

Why does it creep up on you when you least expect it?

It’s not as if you have any reason for it.

That’s what you tell yourself.

But that’s the problem. Anxiety doesn’t need a reason.

It’s both inductive and deductive.

Physical symptoms lead you to its source.

And anticipatory anxiety can play tricks with your mind.

But it’s most perplexing, for me, when anxiety finds me when I’m alone

Does it matter what you accomplished during the day?

Does it matter if you had a good day or bad?

Placing a subjective value on your day doesn’t mean that you will ward off anxiety when you are at home, alone and doing your best to think of nothing in particular.

Anxiety doesn’t care about that.

Sometimes the racing thoughts — the tensing of the neck, the back, the shoulders — they happen for a reason.

It’s clearly linked to an event that happened earlier in the day. Or a comment you made — or didn’t make.

But equally as often, it’s not related to anything in particular.

It’s a silent sickness.

And it’s this kind of anxiety that can be so difficult to accept.

It is for me.

Anxiety doesn’t dampen its impact when people can’t see it

Although others may make you feel that way.

They might make comments that it’s all in your head.

Well, it is in your head. And in your body — and in your clenching arms and knotting stomach.

These feelings are universal, but the experience is unique.

And anxiety, that amorphous foe, is a sudden undertow, pulling you back before you even knew you were caught up in it.

It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to talk about it.

Even putting words to anxiety requires a certain amount of awareness.

It necessitates being able to use words to describe visceral sensations.

For me, I can apply words to ruminations.

But sometimes that just amplifies the thoughts.

I can use words to identify past actions, but sometimes that leads to ruminations

To break the mind-body connection of anxiety, you must become aware of the mind-body connection

This means you have to get comfortable being alone.

Because it’s by yourself that you most want to give in to the demands of anxiety — to self-soothing behaviors, to compulsions, to pacing, to overeating, to whatever it is that you do to calm your nerves.

Meditation has helped me gain awareness, to become the glue in the mind-body connection.

Becoming familiar with the feelings in my body helps me to acknowledge them and move on.

Befriending the thoughts in my head helps me caress them, corral them, and move on.

They lose their power when you accept their validity.

Usually it’s the last road you want to go down that is the road you must take.

 

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