Recently I was successfully ignoring a sink full of dishes/ browsing Facebook and saw a friend of a friend discussing their "emotional living room."
As in, X emotion isn't allowed in their living room.
In this case, the emotion was terror.
And I thought, "Man, their terror is polite. My terror and anxiety doesn't care whether it's allowed. It busts down the door with a fire axe and screams
about the end of the world while I'm trying to just watch Netflix."
Anxiety and fear, for most of us, don't care if they're allowed or even if what they're ranting about is remotely possible/reality based.
Anxiety is like that friend who always seemed to be at the parties of my twenties. Way too high on something and seriously freaking the bleep out.
^^Really so accurate though.^^
So what do you do with this screeching terror stricken presence in the back of your brain, AKA your "emotional living room?"
Well. You can do yoga. You can cut out sugar. You can do a whole lot of things, and what works for you is really going to depend on your unique makeup. But, if you're still reading this, my guess is this metaphor of the bad party guest really works for you. (Or maybe you just like Liz Lemon pics. Either way we're cool.)
So here is my...
OFFICIAL GUIDE TO DEALING WITH ANXIETY AS THAT ONE GUEST AT YOUR ROOMATE'S GIRLFRIEND'S COWORKER'S HOUSE PARTY:
You remember that our buddy Anxiety is probably not speaking a lot of sense. I mean really, Anxiety's sense of proportion and reality is typically way off.
Remember that what Anxiety needs most is compassionate care. This includes but is not limited to:
Remind Anxiety that:
Everything's cool, man. Every. Thing. Is. Coooooooooool.
You'll get through this.
This is just a bad trip/You're really drunk/It's really late and Jell-O shots are not your friend.
What you're feeling now is not forever.
The bottom line here is that for some of us, Anxiety can't be banned or ignored. You can make sure you leave it off the Evite list, but it's gonna show up anyway. Usually at the worst possible time. But the good news is that Anxiety can be tolerated, survived, and compassioned (yes, I decided that's a word). If you accept it as a friend who is having a bad night, you can turn toward it instead of away, give it a spot on the couch, and be present and patient while it passes.
You know, basically what Rilke said....