Anxiety and Despair

Blue Mountains sun light

dappled sunlight on the forest floor

I’m not sure how to write about anxiety without feeling the need to offer a glimmer of hope to the reader. This state of mind is all consuming at the time, however, as droplets of sunlight somehow find their way through the densest of branches to reach the forest floor, it is possible to gradually cast off the weights of worry that have brought you to a place of woe.

It makes sense to me that anxiety is part of an instinctual response towards danger. For me assumptions feed the mounting panic to a point when it is difficult to assess the scale of the threat or to use logic and reason to formulate a plan, to flee or fight. The result is a bunny rabbit dazzled by the headlights, unable to move one way or the other.

In the todays’ World, physical dangers are present, yet my period of anxiety was mostly internal. The unseen canker grew within, it fed on self doubt and self loathing. Conversations and events were replayed over and over in my mind. The facts and significance of incidents became warped and out of step with reality. I would go through the motions of day to day life. This was counterproductive at a time when my occupation demanded total engagement and a need to excel.

You would think that a break from it all and time to relax would help to redress the balance.  Unfortunately for me the thought of a holiday involving travel would fill me with dread. The act of preparation, the fear of forgetting something, the panic of waiting for a taxi to the airport that may not arrive or cause us to miss the flight led me to build in unreasonably long lead times. The constant internal tension impacted on my potential to enjoy the trip. This was uncharacteristic of a person who had moved from England to Australia. I would go out for a meal and become stressed because there appeared to be people waiting for our table, shouldn’t we hurry our meal? It is time for us to leave!

Just when I thought that I had hit rock bottom and begun the slow climb out of the abyss, the sudden death of my mother resulted in a total loss of my grip on reality. I tumbled to a new depth of despair supplementing anxiety with depression.

Despondency is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. I quickly filled the resulting void with negative thoughts of paranoia, fear, anger and apathy. I spent hour upon hour of mindless meanderings of thought processes, the outcome of which was a downward spiral of my mood. All successes and achievements were forgotten. There was precious little left of confidence in my abilities. I feared failure, how I appeared to others, I avoided social situations and  enjoyment of life seemed reserved only to those who were happy.

For me the only way out of this situation was to make changes to my life that reduced the self imposed pressures of money, status and unnecessary demands on my time. With the love and support of my partner who believed in me I was able to seek a new path. Together, we found the way through my ordeal.

Hindsight has miraculous properties; I am attempting to make sense of what happened and to put things into perspective. I look upon the years of descent and eventual re-ascent as a side trip on life’s journey. This opportunity to look within allowed me space to reevaluate what is important to me. The physical plane appears to be brighter than it did before. The path to enlightenment seems clearer.  I attempt to navigate life’s foggy path with my destiny as my goal while keeping one eye on the weather and the the condition of my craft. The other is trained on the light that illuminates my way.

Convergence

orange poppy

convergence to a single point

Do apparently random, unconnected events, incidents and encounters lead to a particular moment in time? I find myself questioning feelings of deja vu and subconsciously connecting the dots of experiences. There appears to be something guiding me along an invisible meandering path.

As long as I can remember I have be drawn to the idea that there is more to existence than what we are told to believe or what we see around us. The dichotomy of needing to perform in the perceived real world and allowing myself the space and freedom to be open to the otherworldly and non-physical is a skill I am developing.

There have been times when I have sought to work out a plan of where I want to go in life. Like many projects, I start with a great deal of all consuming enthusiasm, this peters out to become unresolved and unfinished. Yet when I persevere and achieve an outcome this surprises me.

It has taken many years for me to understand the significance of 9th card in the major arcana of the Tarot, The Hermit http://www.acumind.com/Joe/tarot/hermit.html. I like stillness; time and space to be introspective; to seek a greater understanding of what it all means. I enjoy giving and receiving guidance – being and turning to a trusted teacher. I find myself creating an inner space, a temporary escape from the pressures I place on myself at work, at home and participating in society.

The act of creating something, be it writing, painting, sketching or baking bread, provides me with a vehicle on the physical plain to free my mind, to look within and explore the possibilities of a higher consciousness.

As with all points in time that hold significance for me, I can’t prevent myself from linking the events of today with a trail of incidents in the past. An example of this is the family friend who as a teenager I knew as auntie. She would use an ordinary deck of playing cards to provide an insight into the possibilities for the future. She gave me a pack of tarot cards which I have carried with me between hemispheres. The cards and the memory of that event have helped to shape where I am now, my beliefs and approach to life.

I see myself as a piece of weathered driftwood, bobbing along on the sea. The tide and the wind guide me through life. It must be frustrating for those few people close enough to me to experience my lack of direction, indecisive and un-opinionated outlook on life. 

Freedom

Rose Bay at dusk

as the sun goes down colours fade away

I could be labelled as stocky and having footballers’ legs. I have a sedentary job yet my legs are chunky and strong.

Today began as an uphill struggle. My mind was closed, shutters were held fast by the workings of my brain. The effort of movement appeared to be too much; it would have been so much easier to give up, have a coffee and continue the day as it had begun. I consciously continued with my morning exercise until doors and barriers in my brain began to open and clear. The distractions of my clothing being too tight, the droning music of the gym and thoughts of things I needed to do at work today slowly receded leaving gaps to allow the spring of my mind to unwind. Gradually my thoughts turned to freedom, inner space and time to breath. Glimpses of heaven on earth flowed through my spirit in the form of sunshine, blue skies and green lands.

This is my inner space that Ekhart Tolle described in his book A New Earth. I have attempted many times to find this place by practicing yoga and meditation. The outside distractions always left me with a feeling of being unfulfilled. I now know that for me the path to freeing my mind is through repetitive, mindless exercise. It facilitates my connection with an ancestral past that required the use of my legs to survive.

Thank you Depicted Prophet http://depictedprophet.com/ for sharing ‘The Story of Your Enslavement’. This provided me with the catalyst to draw the threads of my thoughts together and to understand freedom of my mind at least.