There is no emotion more deadening than the anxiety that evolves out of the fears in life. Anxiety comes from many places within you. It arrests your life as it steals possibilities and deceives your competence. It would have you think little of yourself and even less of your potential.
Anxiety wants you in a corner, hiding in a heap of paralyzed stillness; not attempting, not pursuing, not deciding. Episodes of anxiety attacks can be mild or severe and are marked by trembling or shaking. You feel like you can’t breathe and your heart is pounding out of your chest. You feel dizzy or faint. You start to sweat and may feel nauseated. You fear a loss of control of yourself or that you will die, or both.
Although you think you will not survive these attacks, you will, you do. You must try to breathe through it, keep breathing as deeply as you can. It will pass. The attack will end. The symptoms of anxiety are often the result of fears that possess you – fear of embarrassing yourself, fear of appearing stupid, fear of not being able to stand up for yourself. You may avoid situations you fear. Persistent anxiety may signal unresolved issues in the past or present. It can occur when new situations alter your current life.
Bryon Janis, the American Classical pianist said, “The first thing I had to conquer was fear. I realized what a debilitating thing fear is. It can render you absolutely helpless.” Fear can only dethrone you as the ruler of your life if you permit it. Don’t succumb to its deception that you’re weak and worthless. Promise to restore yourself, befriend yourself, and rally support. There are many successful treatments today for persistent anxiety and anxiety attacks that I can point you in the direction of, just ask.
If you have suggestions or aids that have helped you manage fears or anxiety, please share them. Your comments may help others. –Dr. Sandy
Where do most people who want to change their life tend to get stuck in the process? Choose the answer you believe is correct: A. They get stuck because they don’t know how to change others so their own lives get better. B. A snow-bank. C. They get stuck because they don’t know another way to handle things or people. D. They get stuck because some people in their life just don’t get it.
Correct answer is C.
Author E. E. Cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Many people desire to make positive changes in their lives but get stuck because they don’t know how to handle things differently. It’s scary to think of life any other way than how we’ve been living it, even though it’s been far from a picnic. It’s scary to examine what we learned in childhood surroundings that may be incorrect. It’s scary to take a look at what we assumed to be normal. It’s scary to face what’s wrong and not working for us. But when we blame other people for our unhappiness, keep doing things we firmly promised not to, fail to do what we decided to do, then we begin to understand that we don’t know how to fix the mess our lives are in. We realize that we’re no longer able to soothe our fears and hurts. There remains nothing left to pull out of our hats. And we’re left stuck because we know no other way to think, feel, and act.
We know we’re unhappy, but we don’t know what to do differently. With all we’ve done with our attempts to be in control, we can no longer control our own sadness, which has no doubt reached a miserable level. We focused on solving problems that couldn’t possibly be solved with the ways we were trying to solve them. And when we failed to fix these problems, feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and even anger multiplied. All our inadequacies and all our hurts joined our self-doubts which we spent an enormous amount of time hiding because we needed to appear competent and in control. Marriage and Family Therapist Robin Norwood writes, “Most of the insanity and despair you experience comes directly from trying to manage and control what you can’t.”
So what would you do? Please share your suggestions on improving situations and making positive changes. –Dr. Sandy
“The art of life isn’t controlling what happens, which is impossible; it’s using what happens.”¹
The events in our lives change us. They’re supposed to. They’re intended to make us stronger, better and wiser; but I can personally attest that there’s a journey one takes into the fifth ring of hell before arriving at that point of view.
It’s a journey through hurt, disappointment, confusion, loss, and injury that takes some people a long time to travel through, and some individuals get stuck on the way. I was one of those individuals. It was effortless to allow the unfairness of life to engulf me with no comfort. Somehow, it appeared rational that I was entitled to moan awhile and be excused from life because of the loss and pain, both physically and emotionally, I had endured. I started to believe that the God of life had overlooked me and I was destined to be crippled and unworthy. There is no happiness to be found on the Injured Reserve list in life; only persistent defeat and depression. The more I sat on the sidelines, the more pessimistic, blaming, and self-righteous I became.
Believe me, whatever painful event that happened to me or you isn’t anything special. Pain is universal. It’s global. It’s everywhere. But what you do after getting marred in life can be special. When you rise above the hardship instead of allowing yourself to be pulled down into an abyss of despair, then you’re in a position to see the happiness that is waiting for you. Today, don’t cry “Why Me?” Instead, use what happened to you to become stronger, better, and wiser. Press on! –Dr. Sandy
“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another—it is one damn thing over and over,” wrote Edna St. Vincent Millay.*
Whenever we resist the realities of life, we are headed for despair. That’s where you will find me at least a few minutes once a day. In my visit to despair I try to reason with the timing death of loved ones, the change that every loss demands, the sadness of missing family and friends, and the unwanted adjustments forced on me. And, perhaps like you, there are changes in life I resent.
Life is faithful to present to us everyday a host of disappointments that need submission, mistakes that need correction, interruptions that require patience, losses that need acceptance, and problems that need solutions.
If we accept this reality of life, we’ll experience a happier existence and less time in despair. Life does not care if we are angry at it or not; it’s not altered by our rebellion or hissy fit. It’s unmoved by self-pity or our definition of common sense. Life yields to no reality other than its own which means the more we need to stick together to get through it! –Dr. Sandy
Our real enemy is neither war nor poverty. Our greatest opposition isn’t the economy or people with differing opinions. Our worse enemy is the inner critical voice that resides in each of us. It’s that voice that will not allow our success, security, or peace.
In the 16th century, Sir Thomas Browne became aware of this inner woe. He was an English polymath and author of varied works which revealed his wide learning in diverse fields including science and medicine, religion and the esoteric. He wrote, “But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, this is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.”
Our opponent is not the stock market or threat matrix; it’s the echo of self-degrading comments that arrests any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people. We must break free. What are your thoughts, your comments, about where do you stand with your real enemy today? -Dr. Sandy
American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
But wait, self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. However, when you get wrapped up in your misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of your life, then you are no longer healing—you are feeling sorry for yourself.
Soon a sense of entitlement arrives—you may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what you endured. Unhappy comments are verbalize to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to you. In no time you could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks and your healing is kept away.
Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may have not been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap. Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. -Dr. Sandy