6 Stages Of Anxiety

I used to experience anxiety as something attacking out of the blue, without a clear trigger or origin. For years it was an experience that the whole word somehow hated me and wanted to make sure this continued.

When I learned more about it I found that most of my anxiety was connected to some kind of illogical or wrong perception of things and persons around me.

I also learned that anxiety has stages. It doesn’t have to trigger an immediate emotional and physical response.

It can be stopped at what I call the interpretation-stage and thought-stage. Often my anxiety was triggered by something someone said or some social event I was invited to take part in(which actually also is something someone said i.e. an invitation etc). It almost immediately spawned some kind of panic or meltdown.

I see the pattern of my anxiety in the following 6 stages:

  1. Input (outside comment, evaluation, invite)
  2. Interpretation (through past personal experience, past self-perception)
  3. Thought (realization of the interpretation)
  4. Emotion (fear, dread, worry)
  5. Physical reaction (panic, meltdown, crying, hyperventilation)
  6. Output/result (i.e. avoid ”input”)

While me mostly can’t do much to control any input I believe that the stages of interpretation and thought can be altered to result in different emotions and avoid physical reactions.

There is never just one interpretation of any input. If we can learn that we are in the position to interpret or change the narrative of our response that might lead to better emotions and possibly avoid an anxiety meltdown or panic attack.

It’s not done in a switch, I’m aware of that. For me it was a determined decision to start training myself to interpret and think differently about impressions I wasn’t very good at handling. Two years ago I almost had anxiety meltdowns every day. It had been going on for more than a year. Today I nearly feel anxious at all.

Anxiety is hell, it really is. You deserve to know you don’t have to be enslaved by it forever. Have courage and go directly to its core in order to disarm it.

Bitterness Never Healed Me

For a long period in my depression I blamed factors, events and people outside of myself for my situation. I wanted someone or something to be responsible for what had happened to me. I became bitter at those people who mentally abused me for years. I used a lot of my time, energy and focus to direct my anger and bitterness towards them.

But, here’s the catch: bitterness never healed me.

Hear me out. I certainly believe there’s a time to be angry at our wrongdoers, it seems a natural response in some sense. But, if that develops into some kind of bitterness we’re starting to damage ourself instead of healing ourself.

What I found is that no matter how right we might be when we put the blame and responsibility on our wrongdoers they will not be the ones to come and fix us in our present now. Nor will they in the future.

When I with help from my therapist realized there’s empowerment in taking responsibility for my own situation I was finally able to start dealing with my pain and hurts. I’m not to blame for what happened to me in the past, but I can still take responsibility for what happens from this day on.

The hurts are mine. I’ve chosen to do something about them. I choose healing.