I am Deb’s Anxiety.
Even when nothing threatens her, I give her a tightened chest, a racing heartbeat, tension throughout her body and increased racing and confusing thoughts (since they race already because of my friend Bipolar). While I haven’t given her a full-blown panic attack – the kind that feels like a heart attack – I’ve found a way to draw out the pain over a longer period of time by giving her regular symptoms as though something needs her flight or fight response. Such power!
I waste her energy with these fight or flight thoughts and body sensations. I keep her from experiencing the world as a safe place. Maybe that’s why Deb hates horror movies. She doesn’t need any more adrenaline or fear. I give her fear – fear that she will act on her Obsessive suicidal thoughts, fear that she will be too easily overwhelmed by social or large-group situations, fear that sharing her ideas will make her feel like she is losing a piece of herself.
What’s strange is that she overpowered me for much of the time she was a pastor. She rationally told herself the anxiety was useless and instead – despite my strong presence – found the spunk to speak to large crowds, to share her ideas and develop many skills and talents. Now that I think about, it’s very possible my friend Bipolar was in hypomania or mania, which gave her over-confidence.
Yet, I’ve had her in my hands her whole life. A “shy” kid masked the social anxiety part of me. The drive to succeed and to have perfect homework masked the perfectionistic anxiety part of me. The fear of making a bad decision and the fear of trying new things are the generalized anxiety part of me. I’m like a diamond – so many facets.
Now, I’m not so specific as these childhood and young adult symptoms. Now, I take those same characteristics only when the stronger situation isn’t working well enough. I give Deb the anxious symptoms the best when I’m working with Bipolar’s depression. It’s common in those with Bipolar to have strong Anxiety as part of both mania and depression. In the depression, I work with the suicidal thoughts and make her afraid she will follow through.
The program Deb’s in now wants her to acknowledge and accept that I am here, and to act based on values, not on unhelpful thoughts. I’m against this, of course. I think I’m pretty strong. I can outlast the many times she will have to acknowledge me and act despite what I tell her.