4 Ways to Ease the Stressors in Life
Most of us are afraid of letting go of the things we love, whether it's a person, place, past experience, grief and even the illusion of having some type of control. There's a twisted psychological truth in that some of us actually accept or even "enjoy" the feeling of negative emotions. This is why when some people are sad or crying, they'd most likely listen to sad songs. It amplifies the emotion, making them feel validated. "Wow, someone else relates!" People want to be understood and have others empathize with them, even if it's through literature or music. They refuse to get it through real in person encounters. It can make them feel "weak," when actually, vulnerability is the strongest element in a person. Not many are able to become vulnerable. But then again, why trust other people with your business? I occasionally blast it out publicly, to let you know that you're not alone.
Personally speaking, I've suffered with anxiety, which can manifest itself into agoraphobia. My type of agoraphobia isn't a fear of "many people in one spot" (it used to be) ---my type of phobia is tolerating society. I also have 'a salt line' between certain places that I am willing to drive to. For instance, I tend to only drive within my town and surrounding areas if need be. Otherwise, my work is home, and I do a lot of dinner parties at my place---so my socialization is localized as well. Most of my friends have cats, which I'm severely allergic to, so that limits my visits to my friends, unless it's outside. I also suffer from physical symptoms (digestive issues) that are related to anxiety, which can make it literally impossible to leave the house at times. Then, the fear of my physical symptom happening creates the fear of fear itself.
I've come a long way since three years ago. After losing my dad, mom, and losing our childhood home, it was so hard letting go. This huge transition felt like I dropped into a whole other dimension. My panic attacks were so fierce, I would be up all night with a racing heart, crying and shaking until the sun came up. I drank my feelings away, until my drinking slapped me in the face hours later letting me know who was in charge. After I quit drinking, my world started to change for the better, but I still had more work to do. When the pandemic and lockdowns hit, it took my anxiety to a whole new level. If you try and call a therapist today, most likely 80% of them aren't taking anymore clients. It ramped up their business, after tearing many local businesses apart.
Whatever it was that you were scared of, whether it was getting sick, or confrontation over something political with other people who held different views---society was the enemy. That gave us the "OK" to isolate and to push people away. Some people lived their lives as if nothing ever happened. I admire that ability. But I saw the ugliness in people---people verbally tearing one another to pieces. I wanted no part of it.
Don't Be Afraid to Tell Your Story
Don't ever be afraid to tell your story to a good friend, or give your testimony in front many people. You might just be helping them. This is why I write. This is why I share what many people would be afraid to. It's not "humiliating" for me to say, "Yes, I suffered with anxiety and agoraphobia and I see a therapist!" Who cares! When someone tells me they're seeing a therapist, it tells me, "I'm doing the work to get myself some help." There is nothing wrong with you. It's called being HUMAN. So many people hide their true feelings and what they go through, in order to not be seen as "crazy." Screw it---BE crazy! All the "normal" ones wish they had the strength to tell their story. Fear muffles their steam---and what happens when the steam builds up too much? Think about a pressure cooker. Eventually it'll pop and blow its lid, possibly causing casualties if anyone is near. When you vent to a trusted friend or therapist, you're letting out your steam. This will keep you level-headed and will enable you to release that pressure you feel.
Let Go of Your False Identity
Everyone has an image they want to maintain, even if it's true and genuine. Some people put up facades and let people think they're "OK" and that nothing is wrong, when deep down inside, they're crying for help. I remember past therapists used to look at me and say, "Well, you don't look like you suffer from anxiety." It's something that never should've been said to a client. Whether your struggle is with anxiety, anger, depression, resentment, the need to control situations and/or people, will ultimately result in giving people the wrong impression of you. Your identity will be misconstrued as "mean" and "abrasive" from time to time (or way too often), because you. are. not. letting. go.
Once you let go of the control---let go of the anxiety and let it just happen or find an outlet---once you let go of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness---you'll start to let people see the beautiful person you truly are. They'll see the genuine you---whether they like or dislike you, they will like or dislike your genuine and authentic self. When someone dislikes you because they see a "false identity"---they either haven't gotten to know you well enough, or they're scared of you because your pent up emotions seem to 'pop off' from time to time. It's like walking on a minefield. You're unpredictable, angry, controlling, so people may get this impression that you're downright ruthless. I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. I believe Kurt Corbain quoted that.
Remember, Whatever You Resist, Persists
If you tend to try and control everything and everyone. Think of it like sand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto it, but most will be spilled. You will ultimately lose control over who and what you are holding onto too tightly.
The same holds true with resisting not so pleasant situations in life. Part of my pain management routine is to accept the pain as is. Don't try to make it go away. Feel everything. For instance, when my back is torturing me, I thank God for the pain, because without the pain, I won't fully appreciate the pain-free days. I'll take it for granted and complain about something else instead. When you complain, you remain. And oddly enough, it actually works. It works the same with panic attacks. Whenever I feel my heart race, I try a paradoxical approach and tell it to bring it on! "Go 'head---beat faster! I can take it!" Afterwards, I start engaging with whatever it was that I was doing. After a few minutes or so, I can feel my body calming down. Now if I stopped everything I was doing because my heart was racing, my mind will hyper-focus on the symptom, and make my heart beat faster. That's why it's not a good idea to constantly check your heart rate if you suffer with anxiety. It'll just raise your BPMs and you'll just drive yourself nuts trying to get it to go down. The resistance (stemmed from fear) will make it rise higher.
What You Give to the Universe Will Eventually Be Given Back to You
I usually never say "universe"---because my belief is that God made the universe. I'm speaking energetically, through God's grace of course. Please don't confuse this with "being a good person just to get something back." This is not what I mean. But it is a law that whatever you put out into the world, the universe or to God, you will reap what you sow. You will always be OK if you live by those principles of the golden rule, as I spoke about in my previous article.
If you are mean to people, you're going to have a hard time making and/or keeping friends.
If you are abrasive and unapproachable, you are going to have people afraid to go near you.
If you are unforgiving and bitter, you're going to get the same from people, and most of all, God will not forgive you when you finally make it to the pearly gates of heaven. That's in the Bible. If you don't forgive, God will not forgive you. So if you claim to be someone who has faith in God, take this seriously.
If you give generously, you will find you will never have problems financially. No one has ever gone poor by giving. That's a fact.
When you help a friend or stranger, in your time of need, you'll find someone right at your doorstep to assist you.
All of us have issues and problems in life. If you are not willing to do the work in creating a better environment for yourself, emotionally and spiritually (yes can apply to physically too) --- then your life will only be much more difficult. The only way I finally woke up to these methods of living was to first and foremost, stop drinking my problems away. I numbed everything out and put it off for the next day, which was never dealt with. Secondly, I found a closer relationship with God. Without my relationship with God, I'd be dead right now. Even though I have put in the work, I'm still not perfect and never will be. I make mistakes, I say the wrong things and I make idiotic choices from time to time, but the one thing I will always do, is forgive people and mostly, forgive MYSELF. Because once I can love and forgive myself, I can love and forgive anyone who has hurt or betrayed me. Life shouldn't be so serious. When our lives are over, we're going to look at one another in heaven and say, "I can't believe we let idiotic things like that bother us!" Look at the bigger picture. We only see a small scope of what's going on, and we sometimes think it'll last forever. But once you zoom out, you'll see that "this problem" won't last long and it wasn't worth the effort getting so riled up over.
Say, "I love myself on purpose."
And remember WHO loved your first---God.
I hope this helped someone out there. Be blessed!
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com for some of her famous recipes and check out her Instagram full of food videos!