Anticipatory anxiety is the name of what I struggled with. It was so paralyzing, and affected me so deeply that I had panic related seizures. There was even a period in my life where I didn't leave the house for a very long time. 8 months, is an approximate count. I remember feeling like I couldn't step forward, without focusing on how far those steps needed to go, in order for me to achieve my goals. When we look so far ahead, we can fall back even harder. It amazes me that it was that extreme, I didn't even know how to get out of the house. I was also creating an imaginary audience, watching, judging, and waiting for me to fail.
In time, I eventually got past it, for the most part, because I knew I needed to get a job and function like everybody else. I was still quite afraid of how I responded/reacted/acted/presented myself to the outside world, but I didn't let it get too far under my skin to prevent me from living a proper life. It wasn't really until I moved to Edmonton, to live entirely on my own, that I started to listen to my own voice and hear it out. I needed a hand, and I needed to care for myself, right that moment. I wanted to live. All of our actions are a choice. Suddenly, I knew how to step forward.
I'd gotten therapy for years, to deal with my anxiety. A lot of my fixations were on the future, as well as the past. There were so many things I wanted to fix that couldn't be fixed; which ultimately ruined the present because I'd lose out on the moment entirely by fearing what was to come, or how it would repeat and come back to haunt me. Rejection, abandonment, failure, pain. The sad result is that it led to a battle of exhaustion and resent, which affected the people around me. I took it out on the world for a while, until I stood in my own home, in the silence of my own breath, and asked myself.. how do we do this?
I chose to take a meditation class, because I had been reading on the Buddhist mindset (The Tao of Pooh) and how focused it is on the fact that we are alive, right now, and in no other moment. What's done is done, and what is ahead of us is also out of our control; even our own death. We're just here to live, and we should only be grateful for every day that we are given. It made perfect sense as soon as I read it, and while I got to know the now, I began to appreciate this world we've been so lucky to creep upon. The past became less about the damage and more about the repair. The future was no longer about how I could screw up, and more about what I could learn. Right now suddenly became amazing.
I didn't have a perfect past, and I'm okay to say that because even with the mistakes and the hurt and whatever other negative piece there may be, as well as the positives, I can say it made me who I am today. There is no sense in dwelling on a single thing, because when you can forgive and accept and allow for right now to be the moment of choice, it releases so much tension and unnecessary bullshit. Not to be so blunt. After this past week, I can see that I'm in the right place, to want to be heard right now, because that's where we are. When someone tries to use your past against you, it only helps provide a certain acknowledgement that you have the strength to be proud of what you have become, right now. There really is no other moment to live in.
I'm a huge nostalgic type, and I love the memories that make me smile, and sometimes even the ones that don't make me smile. We are shaped by our experiences, and while there may be things I might want to forget entirely, I can only take what I've already been through and say thank you. Really, where would I be without all of it? To focus on the moment has relieved me from such a massive weight of unnecessary anxiety. I still struggle with it from time to time, but when I stop and sit in the grass and listen to my breath, it brings me back to where I am; floating, insignificantly, in the most enormous universe. It's endless. How lucky are we, to be handed such a gift of living on this earth? Is my hippie showing?
I may have been knocked out by some really harsh words, recently, but I see that I am in a good place to not stoop to such a level as using past material as weak weaponry. If someone wants to keep you where they feel is more comfortable, for their own satisfaction, let them stay there. Meditate, focus on the moment and how valuable you are to yourself, to be here, right now. No one can take me down, because I am my own provider. It's pretty weird and ridiculously zen of me to see this mindset take over, compared to where I used to be. It's all because I made a choice, to take time to breathe. Meditate, I tell you, your mind and body will thank you for taking that time to see just how valuable your soul is.
This is how meditation saved my life.