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It Got Worse, and Then ...

A while back, for a long time, I was very anxious. I experienced a constant level of anxiety and fear that stayed with me every minute of every hour of every day.

The anxiety came from fear. The fear was at times more like complete terror. The terror was unbearable ... unbearable in the sense that I wasn't sure I could bear it, carry it, survive it when I was feeling it.  I wanted to get as far away from it as possible, I wanted anything, ANYTHING but those feelings.

I did all I could and tried every method possible to get away from those feelings. I worked super hard, engaged my smart and capable brain, used my words to great effect, expressed my emotions and struggled. 

It just got worse. 

So I pushed myself harder, believing that if I could only change myself, try something else new, change others, lock myself down, hide myself away then I would find a way to get rid of and avoid those feelings. 

It just got worse. 

So I took a deep breath and tried again ... this time certain that if I read lots of books and websites, stated my case repeatedly, asked friends how they cope, held on with hope that others would change so I didn't have to feel how their choices "made" me feel .. then I would feel better. 

It just got worse.

(there was more but you get the picture!)

I write this amazed at what I chose to put myself through.  The energy and effort expended to get as far away from "bad" feelings as I could ... in the process getting as far away from my Self as I could ever imagine.

I still marvel at my strength and determination to avoid, thinking I was overcoming those feelings by huge effort and struggle

I know now that the more I struggled, avoided, denied, the bigger the feelings got. 

In the end (is there an end?) I resorted to the only option left: I learnt to feel, to sit with the feelings, to hold the space for those feelings to flow. I am not saying that the experience of feeling the feelings wasn't terrifying ... but I know that I no longer live with an over-riding, constant sense of anxiety and fear. 

I feel what I would call "free". Free to feel, free to express, free to sit with the feelings, free to choose all experiences without fear of the feelings they may bring ... 

Free rather than pursued, fearful, anxious, terrified, locked away, disconnected from Self and others.

And for that freedom alone, the journey towards getting better at feeling (rather than feeling better) was worth it. 

Do I feel better as a result? A resounding YES.

Was that the objective? No, it was a beautiful by-product. 

Would I do it all again? To feel, engage with life, be in the moment and truly live ... Yes I would. 

Sarah xx


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