As humans, we are meant to experience and feel our emotions. To block
them out is counter intuitive to who we are and how our bodies operate.
Our bodies want us to embrace our emotions. Doing so completes the
experience and allows us to filter and export what we no longer need.
Think of a cup spilling over. That’s why a good cry can feel like relief, as
though a burden has been lifted.
Anxiety can be a result of avoiding feelings. We shelve yucky thoughts,
images and emotions in our bodies and consciousness so we don’t have
to deal with them. This is a coping skill; however, what happens over
time, is our body says it’s not going to house these strong emotions
anymore, so anxiety develops as a result of avoiding the discomfort.
Sometimes, we aren’t aware we shelved certain emotions because of
forgotten memories and experiences. Only through exploration do we
discover why we feel the way we do.
Many unsettling feelings have to do with fear or shame from earlier
childhood experiences. For example, if we grew up in a family that had a
lot of tension or violence around confrontation, we’ll probably fear
confrontation as an adult. We’ll go out of our way to avoid the person or
situation in which there’s discord; even if it makes our life more
challenging. The thought of having to discuss a point with someone could cause crippling anxiety.
Or if we have anxiety about driving on a freeway, we’ll take
the long way home, adding an hour to the commute. As illogical as this
sounds to someone without anxiety, this makes perfect sense to
someone dealing with deep anxiety.
Research cannot pinpoint one reason for the cause of anxiety but there
are several ideas as to why people develop it. Genetics is one – anxiety
can be inherited to a degree. There’s research proving a correlation
between parents with anxiety or Generalized Anxiety Disorder and
children suffering from anxiety. Anxiety can be learned from our
environment if it’s frequently modeled for us. Children can feel their
world is unsafe as they witness their parents’ fears and distress. Thus,
the child learns few distress tolerance mechanisms.
Another way one develops anxiety is from trauma. When one
experiences trauma, they develop coping mechanisms to get through
the difficult ordeal. Depending on the amount of trauma and the degree,
will determine how often and how reliant they become on a coping skill.
Coping mechanisms aren’t evil patterns; they’re lifesavers and usually
effective in navigating through the landscape of trauma. But when the
traumatic experience ends and time continues on, the body and mind
recognize there’s no need to live on the traumatic battlefield anymore
and coping skills begin to breakdown. As a result, the person is
left with their thoughts and feelings, and because these feelings can be
troubling, like shame, guilt or fear, avoidance begins and anxiety builds.
The more one avoids, the more anxiety – usually. People deal with
anxiety by taking medication, drugs, and alcohol or for many, they white
knuckle their way through life, and that is not a very good way to live.
I believe in karmic debt. I believe some people had very traumatic past
lives and they are born feeling unsafe. These people cannot pinpoint a
solid reason for their anxiety and this can increase the grip it has on
them. Knowing the root of an issue helps. I look at past lives and see if
there’s traumatic residue, and if so, we work on releasing the beliefs
associated with the residue. This is usually done via Thetahealing or
EMDR or somatic emotional release.
We don’t always have to have trauma in our lives to feel anxiety or depression.
Sometimes it’s pertained to conditions we grow up with. If we feel a
guardian’s love is conditional on certain behaviors that too can spark
anxiety. If there’s a lot of on‐going tension in the house, a lot of arguing
or constantly moving, these can ignite a sense of anxiety or depression.
What’s most important in dealing with depression and/or anxiety, I
believe, is to understand why we have it, to release the stagnant bound
energy in the body and to shift the cognitions/beliefs in the mind.
There are many ways to deal with anxiety in counseling. One is talk
therapy, which can help with digging into the source of the problem. For
some, understanding the source or root of the problem is healing in
itself. Cognitive‐Behavioral therapy can help in providing reasoning
tools and behaviors as well as developing strategies, both internal and
external, in coping with anxiety/depression. This involves often talking to yourself,
reasoning and providing logic to each situation that might cause stress.
For example – “I am safe walking down the street. It’s light outside and it makes
sense that I can walk all the way home and be fine.” This might help
someone who has trouble walking alone across the street or in town.
EMDR is a very helpful tool in healing childhood or adults wounds that
may be contributing to the overall feeling of insecurity or fear.
Sometimes trauma contributes to the anxiety and EMDR helps the body
continue it’s organic cycle of purging overwhelming feelings of fear,
insecurity, stress, etc. EMDR is somatic in that it’s body centered and
helps the body to release stored negative emotion and helps to shift
negative cognitions. For example, if you are a person who suffers from
work related anxiety and as a child you saw your father beat your
mother, this experience, although years old, may be contributing to your
stress at work or overall anxiety. You may believe that you should have saved
your mom when you were young, even though you were powerless to
do so. EMDR will shift the cognition of “I should have done something”
to “I did the best I could or It’s over and I’m safe now.” These old
patterned cognitions and beliefs could be affecting other areas of your
life but because there’s no obvious direct correlation, we don’t connect
Trauma can also have an effect on people in creating depression. Clients
come in and tell me they had a traumatic childhood but because they
never think about it, it’s not the source of their depression. Sometimes
that might be true, but more often than not, I find there’s a direct
connection between adult depression and past trauma. And remember,
trauma is relative. What might be traumatic to one person is not to
another. It’s a very personal experience.
When we experience or witness violence, inappropriate sexy stuff,
neglect or mental abuse, our bodies absorb all that energy, even if we
don’t remember the incident(s). Our body stores all the visuals, smells,
emotions and sensations from each experience and they don’t go away.
Experience is energy and energy doesn’t disappear, it only shifts or
stagnates. Trauma, depression, anxiety are all stagnant energy and
unless you do something to shift that energy, it will remain stuck inside
you creating internal havoc. EMDR can shift depressive energy just like
it can shift anxiety or traumatic energy or all three. Energetic release
whether it is through EMDR, Thetahealing, or hypnotherapy can help as
it shifts and moves energy from it’s stuck festering position in the body
Some people have imbalances in their biochemistry and medications
can be helpful. When it comes to helping ourselves, it usually is a
meandering quest until we find the right modality and/or healer. But
when it works, it can really work and we feel much better. Remember--
our wounds just don’t go away. They will still live with us through many
lifetimes until we heal them. Why not start now.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
And amidst the chaos
Keep Peace within your soul-Max Ehrman
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