When I was 13, I was in grade 8 and we had to take ‘Drama’ class at school. I hated it. I hated talking in front of people, I hated a group of people looking at me, I hated attention directed at me. And I think when something makes us uncomfortable or anxious, it manifests in our bodies, in various ways.
For me, which isn’t un-common, my gut would just turn over. I felt like I should be close to a washroom if my gut would make me feel so uncomfortable I may throw up – or otherwise.. you know what I mean. And so this class, is when this ‘habit’ you could say, started where if I asked to be excused to the washroom, it gave me a sense of security, that I could escape the activity but also felt a bit more in control of my access to a place of solitude, even momentarily. And so I forget now, how often this class happened, but shortly after the commencement of this class – whenever this class occurred, I would ask to be excused.
As this started to happen on a regular basis, it elicited some chuckles from the Drama teacher, she started to see it coming. This was a form of attention I also didn’t like, but dealing with her judgement and laughter was a better option for me, than enduring the full class. At the end of that torturous semester, which also marked the end of the school year, she even wrote in my yearbook, a comment, “yes, you may go to the washroom.” I hated the fact that she put down in ink, a reminder of what had been my way of coping with something that made me so uncomfortable.
Last week, while having a conversation with friends, we talked about anxiety. Sure, everyone gets anxious or has anxiety to some degree. But there seem to be two ways of dealing with that:
– you help yourself and find out ways you can at the very least cope and function. You reflect on what puts you in that state of anxiousness, recognize what may help manage and not let it affect what you want to achieve and what you know you can aspire to be.
-you feel like ‘disclosing’ the fact you get anxiety is as much as you need to do, and people need to work around – what you declare to be – your limitations.
I think dealing with anxiety in the second manner may be more of an unconscious way of dealing with it.. the first step recognizing, ok this makes me anxious, and just wanting to stay at arms length – or further – of things that bring your energy lower. And then, hopefully (and optimistically), realization dawns of, ok this makes me anxious, but my goal is on the other side of that, on the overcoming of that.
We know that we should seek things that only raise our vibration and energy levels, but we can’t use being anxious as a crutch either. If something does make us anxious, how better would our lives be or how proud would we be of ourselves for overcoming that? I can also appreciate that some don’t know why they feel anxious, or it maybe just is a feeling that strikes suddenly. So it can be hard, I am sure, to know where to start or finding a method that works in that scenario. We have a lot more resources available to us now also, like meditations, exercises to feel ‘centered, and apps with reminders to pause in our day, or relaxing sounds, and many more.
From that anxious girl in that horrible grade 8 drama class – 🤣 – to 4 years later moving on my own to The Netherlands for a year, and giving a presentation in Dutch, to a room full of Rotary club members 5 months after that. Sure, that talk gave me lots of anxiety, and so have other speaking presentations and a monologue in Art School, since – but you have to keep pushing yourself. It’s not going to all feel comfortable and pleasant.