Getting to grips with Anxiety and Addiction

So many of us struggle with anxiety and restlessness in this modern society. Socialisation has meant that many of us are running on patterns of loneliness, disconnection, pain, shame, self hate, escapism and coping. In Ayurvedic terms, you could say our society is vata-pushing-pitta, that is rough, fast, constantly moving energy and demands (vata) which creates inflammation, burnout, exhaustion, anger, aggression, road rage, impatience (pitta). Where do we draw the line and take back our own wellbeing, mental peace and clarity? 

I don’t think I actually ever really understood what anxiety was until about 7 years ago when I hit rock bottom with Anorexia. In fact, I would go as far to say as I was born with worry and anxiety and literally believed it was what being normal was. I remember lying in bed at night at the age of 5 upwards (and probably younger!) contemplating the concept of self, what happened after death, terrified and crying of everyone around me disappearing or dying, that aliens (Yes, aliens) would come and take me away… This snowballed into never being present, only looking ahead, self-hate, constant worry and self criticism and hell, I’ll even go as far to say as bullying myself.

I would say that towards the depths of my eating disorder I would alternate between crippling anxiety which felt like an aggressive energy and spells of pointlessness in my existence and suicidal thoughts. I was not present at all. I had no middle point between the two extremes and no relief from the constant cycle of painful emotions that were actually normalto me.

Because this anxiety escalated into a full blown 5 years of anorexia and a career in exercise and personal training, it also robbed me of my whole identity. I created an identity based on nothing real, just what I did as a career, which did not reflect much of who I was or reflect my true birth given creative talents.

I existed but didn’t live.

Basically, what I am trying to articulate is that people who meet me now or in the last 6 months would have no idea really the magnitude of how painful my reality was and people that knew me then probably still have an idea of who I am which is based on patterns and behaviours rooted in pain and would maybe experience trouble accepting the woman I have become.

So how do we break the cycle of addiction and anxiety? 

What nobody told me, or ever really got me to question until I started with Reach Approach was to understand WHY my addictions (gym, food, anorexic stuff) served me. Take a moment to listen to the part of you which needs the addiction, whatever it is, and ask what that part of you actually gets from the addictive behaviour. For some it’s safety, for some it’s punishment, for some it creates feelings, for some it shifts the pent up anxious vata-pushing-pitta energy. Either way, understanding what your addiction or behaviour gives you, and helps you cope with is imperative to move towards integration and healing.

Next, stop ignoring it. Recognise that to be on pills is addressing symptoms of something that is not ideal. I am not shaming those of us that choose pharmaceuticals, but they do not address the root of the issue. The root of the issue is likely unconscious. Why does this happen? Fragmentation. Early on in childhood, we aim to please our parents and want their unconditional love and acceptance. To achieve this, we disown aspects of our true self, and shame them, and they are buried into the subconscious so we no longer identify with them and take them as part of ourselves. Because of this, we start to fragment our consciousness and personality in different compartments and shame the ones our parents tell us off for and then basically start to plant the seeds of shame, fear and worry within our own subconscious. Any type of trauma (any unresolved experience – doesn’t have to be a massive car crash, it can be a telling off) can cause pain, which again, we push deep into our subconscious. This is so that we can cope as children. Slowly but surely, we start to add fearful, anxious painful raindrops into our mental rain barrel until eventually the pain is so apparent, spilling over, and we have to start using coping mechanisms to help us escape the reality of our pain.

Admitting that anxiety and worry is not okay and is stealing your bliss is important to healing it.

Start to experience what it is like to sit with your anxiety. This can be scary and overwhelming, and honestly, I highly recommend seeking out an integrative therapist such as Reach Approach’s therapists, because our conscious mind can only know what it can know. In other words, you aren’t going to wanna explore the uncomfortable feelings that brought you to this place because it’s painful, that’s why you have addictions… they help you ignore it. So honestly, I recommend finding a qualified therapist, because truly this IS where the transformation happens, if you allow it to.

Understand that you are not defined by these feelings. In actual fact, you can be free from these feelings taking hold of you. It IS possible. Once you are conscious, healing can take place and balance CAN happen and health WILL follow and YOU are not an exception to this.

I’m not getting on my soap box and saying I’ve nailed life, because I absolutely haven’t. I still experience my old patterns of abandonment come up BUT they do not define me, they do not rule the roost, and they are the old dear friends that remind me where I can further step into self love and self mastery. I have a plethora of tools from Emotional Freedom Technique, Trauma Release Exercise, Plant based medicines, Essential Oils, Yoga and Reiki to work through mine.

You have TOTALLY got this. Healing is yours for the taking, you just need to walk through the door of opportunity, and watch the world within you and around you change.

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