Anxiety and resilience

Some days it seizes me. Even though it comes from afar, I don’t see it coming.

I struggle to label it. It is a muddy mixture of feelings and thoughts.

It is not like every other feeling. It comes and goes, like a shallow physical pain, that you feel and forget repeatedly.

It feels smarter than other feelings, in a cunning way. It infiltrates my thoughts, like a virus that seeks to corrupt them.

Is is unpredictable. It can be obsessive. It can trigger fears. Or not.

I may call anxiety, but it likes to be vague and escape the scope of its name.

Its requests are fraudulent. When you fulfil them, you don’t obtain what was promised you in return. It only seeks your attention without caring to keep its word.

Sometimes it is satisfied with the attention I give and leaves me alone. I sigh in relief and move on.

From my writing, you may think that I loathe it. You may think that I welcome its arrival with despair and salute its departure with the wish of never seeing it again. But I don’t, and I can’t.

I can’t because it is me, and by rejecting, fighting and hating it, I would only make things worse.

When my resilience shows up to meet my anxiety, it loves it dearly and perseveringly tries to understand what it needs.

It is not in a rush. It doesn’t expect to quickly figure out my needs and move on.

It asks questions, and waits in silence when there is no immediate response. It asks why, five times.

Patiently and diligently, it encourages me to break down and rebuild things without despair.

It asks me what may be relevant to this situation and why.

Most of the times, we realise that the anxiety showed up to protect something we were trying to let go.

Sometime before, we had decided that something was not worth holding to. The thing was blocking us, impeding us to grow and develop. It made rational sense and our intellect was convinced.

But letting go is not that easy, and thankfully so, because sometime is not the right thing to do.

Once my mind is convinced of letting something go, anxiety usually shows up and challenges me to an emotional test. Am I ready to let go of that dear belief that guided many of my thoughts and actions? Am I ready to move on without looking back?

That’s why it is sly and cunning. That’s why it is a mixture of thoughts and feelings that evades its name.

It is testing me. It needs to probe me. That’s why I don’t and can’t loathe it.

When resilience isn’t around, I accept the fraudulent requests. I make a fool of myself, and when I realise it anxiety has already won. I failed the test and kept the belief. It feels humiliating but awkwardly reassuring.

Other times, resilience shows up. You may imagine it as a mighty knight, but it looks more like a composed and curious thinker wearing round golden spectacles.

Then, we don’t accept any fraudulent request. Resilience doesn’t scare anxiety away, it soothes it to stay and join our company.

All together, we transcend but include the emotional weight of what we decided to let go.

We love each other, and this is how we develop.


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