“Well then go to a bathroom,” a human.
“That doesn’t mean I need to pee!” another human.
“No, really? Are you sure? What is anxiety then?” the human.
This may sound like a silly dialogue but think about it. What does it really mean when you say: “I am feeling anxious.” question mark.
“Nobody asked!” screaming from behind. Yeah maybe, but at least next time someone would say something like that, you wouldn’t send them to a bathroom!?
“Okay then, show me what you got.” with a Rick and Morty big head voice.
Its like this nudge, each time we wanna do something there is this: “Oh no, what if ...,” following by some scenario based upon multiple unconscious assumptions leading to a worst possible internal version. Maybe not the worst, but in the moment its feels like it. You start to resist it and bla bla bla.
There you go. One of the freestyle explanation of how does it feel like. Lets do another one!
You really would like to do it, but it seems like the more you force it the more it is hunching your shoulders forward to hide a cookie on your chest. You start to collapse to eat the cookie loosing sight of anything else. Its almost feel like the cookie is everything you wanna protect. You look down to watch over it and life transfer somewhere up into your head. From now on you live in your head. You feel how your upper teeth are pressing on the lower ones and your underbelly is preparing to be kicked. Breathing transform to your upper chest so you can do the cookie fight.
The cookie doesn’t make sense? Yeah maybe. But the body moves described above are exactly like the anxiety ones.
Oh now, that we are around the body sensations, lets look at how does anxiety manifest itself in the body.
Touching the anxiety
Pressure in your jaw, shoulders hunched forward, tense rounded neck. Tightness in your underbelly and tingling of your pinky toe. Well maybe without the last one everything stimmt (agrees).
Oh and sometimes after a long time with this sensation you can experience not sensing your toes and fingers that much. And when you do, it feels like they don’t have access to blood, because they are freaking cold. The toes even color themselves blueish, to signal you: “Do something about it, you human!”
Talking about looking at your toes, lets look at how we see anxiety.
Seeing the anxiety
Well that’s probably it, we usually see the toes. This is our world view when we feel one. Looking down hoping the life would not see us or I don’t know. Even if you notice it and force your head to look straight forward, few moments later, “Bam” the toe view again. I could even know when I feel anxiety just by noticing where my vision is pointing to.
It really feels like you don’t want to see anything around you because it could be dangerous or it could trigger some thoughts, and you would get anxious even more.
“Tssss,” you hear a sound and start to think “Do I look there or I’ll try to not exist?”
How does anxiety even sounds like?
Hearing the anxiety
“Anxiety, is that you?” Anxiety: “Yes, that’s me!”
Well maybe not but it would be nice to have such a notice, right? You would know exactly when it’s happening.
Anxiety doesn’t sound anything in particular. Its more like the hearing is more alert. “Oh, what was there?” you focus your ears like observatory antennas at the spot you just heard. “Is it dangerous?” stopping your breathing for a while, to be sure it’s not just your nose whistling. Especially if its in the tent and the darkness is everywhere around you. That’s your only point of recognition; your hearing.
You swallow an anxiety mucus hoping it would not come closer.
Tasting the anxiety
I know exactly how to express this one: “Ouch ouch ouch ouch, oh no frick, I just burned my tongue again.” Yeah this is how it taste like. Usually when you are anxious, you don’t taste things you just shovel the spoon directly to your stomach skipping chewing or swallowing steps. Its fast. Like if the kids are coming and they will eat your meal. Only sensation that you may notice is the smell of your meal.
Can you smell the anxiety?
Smelling the anxiety
This one I didn’t really observed. I assume because of the heavy breathing you would inhale more, so you smell more butt. I probably would need to meditate over it a bit more.
Thinking about how does it smell like, lets now move on to how thinking does look like when sitting in a anxiety train. (That’s a spoiler right there)
The train of thoughts while experiencing anxiety does have a pattern to it.
It stops a lot. Like you think something, “Bam” we stopped. Waiting for what would happen unconsciously ignoring the body sensation and looking around. “Should I go and hunt butterflies?”. You feel the pressure of this thought. It feels like life depends on it. You need to get it right. “I don’t want to hurt their wings.” and there is always a right and wrong decision you need to do. The stakes are really high. “What if I don’t do it and scientist would need a documentation of this particular species,” and really closing up into your head over this pressing question. “I heard about the butterfly effect that can cause a Tornado in Texas. What if I cause a Tornado by scaring the butterfly away.” It’s here the full anxiety cycle and worry going on. On top of that you feel this decision paralysis tightening you from both sides like pliers. “Do it or not to do it?”
That’s how the thought pattern may look like. Brain stopping, oh no something horrible would happen, another thought avoiding it, brain stops again another thought how by not doing the first thing something horrible would happen. Again and again whenever you go its always there.
I am calling you Anxiety
Now this mind and body dance mixed together is what I label as “Anxiety”. So yeah next time somebody tells you he feels anxious tell him “Relax, butterflies are out of control.”
“Relax, everything is out of control”
Yeah that’s what some monk said and strangely, at first it is terrifying but then it does has a relieve part in it.
Take care people and try this exercise on yourself. How do you experience anxiety through your five senses? Anxiety could then become a fun experience you look forward to: “Okay today I wanna observe how my vision changes while on anxiety.”
While I was writing this article I caught myself thinking: ”Okay, today I would fast a bit longer to feel more anxiety and had a chance to meditate over it.” It even becomes something that you want to have. Strange.
Inspired by imagination and Amygdala.