I’ve finally cracked the anxiety code.
This doesn’t mean I’ve tamed it, but I know what triggers it.
At least for myself, though others may be different.
I have this insatiable hunger that nibbles at my conscience most evenings soon following dinner. I’ve tried protein shakes, fruit and yoghurt to satiate.
My weakest point, the inability to control how much I eat. I think this relates to the need to feel satisfied metaphorically.
What more am I searching for in this humble life to be so famished?
In this COVID delusion, much of what is experienced is somewhat surreal, I find myself in spaces of panic.
The vagus nerve has become neglected. Tripped as a result of the inability to access massage, osteopathy and yoga, as were elements of routines made redundant by lockdown.
I fall asleep fast with a satisfied belly, only to be woken by my inability to breathe choking on the spittle that pools at the recess of my gullet, where the esophagus and trachea intersect.
I wake in fright. The ‘fight’ response of my primitive brain trips the physical reaction of anxiety and the vagus nerve is inhibited. I am drowning in my own fluids.
The fear of imminent death and the rising panic, exposes the disassociation and the lymbic trance. Sleep is disrupted and the next day reveals the beginning of anxiety locked in your mind.
You are stuck in your head, scattered, reactive, aggressive, threatened and on alert.
The thoughts swish like the wind current from a theme park ride, where you are pinned against the wall from the momentum, unable to move. Static hum in your ears.
Lashing out becomes the Flight of defence and an immersion in avoidance.
The thoughts knock you around believing they are real and your body is numb in the Freeze response.
In this state of anxiety you are trapped, helpless like you will be eaten alive. The elusive web that binds you to the shortsigthed primitive brain.
Here then is where the anxiety takes hold with the lack of modulation of the vagus.
How to counteract this response is then to reinitiate the function of the vagus by engaging in the following:
- Gargle- I have added gargling to my exercise routine
- Hug someone- I need more hugs
- Sing- I used to sing in a choir – I can sing
- Breathe slowly, mindfully and purposefully – I breath in for five counts and out for five counts for five minutes
- Exercise- walk, stretch, run, dance- move every day
- Place your hand on your heart- comfort to the soul
To tame anxiety come out of your head and into your body – be “Right HERE, Right NOW”.( Fat Boy Slim) Acknowledge the anxiety.
As Tara Brach teaches us in her RAIN analogy:
- Recognise it- name it
- Allow it- This belongs. She says that FEAR is an emotionally intelligent reaction though be aware of it, rather than it be a dominant force.
- Investigate it- by asking yourself- what am I believing in this moment? Where do I feel this in my body?
- Nurture- approach this anxiety with active compassion.
When we practice Tara Brach’s RAIN- it allows an expansion that enables the brain to rewire itself from a state to a trait. The holistic nature of the brain becomes integrated with the primitive and works as a network, a system that supports mental equilibrium.
The taming of anxiety then brings you back to the place where you feel safe- at peace- at home.