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True Story: Until Very Recently, I Was A Gigantic Ball Of Stress

Posted Sep 17 2012 4:29pm

You know how you sometimes don’t realize that you’re a certain way until you’re not that way?

It’s like being able to understand silence only as the absence of noise.

Or perhaps it falls into that realm of things that you don’t know, and you don’t know that you don’t know it. Until you do.

A couple of weeks ago, after I wrote Calling Myself Out, Gently (about not being able to sleep, lying to a doctor about why I needed Xanax, and eating a bag of candy instead of acknowledging the myriad emotions underneath it all), someone asked me, “Why didn’t you call your doctor back and ask why she didn’t refill your prescription?”

I thought about it for a second and replied, “I think on some level I knew it was time to address this issue on a deeper level…that it was time to stop relying on a prescription medication.”

In the comments section on that post my dear sister wrote about the effectiveness of acupuncture, and right around the same time I was reminded that the Center For Healing Therapies (a local holistic health practice) has an acupuncturist on staff. I immediately booked an appointment.

Since then I’ve had three appointments and one huge ah-ha moment: I have been tense pretty much my entire life.

I’ve been living in a near constant state of low-level stress, feeling either, “I must be vigilant!” or, “I have to prove myself!”

It was after the second appointment that it became apparent, because all of a sudden I was more relaxed than I can ever remember being. It was as if I was relaxed on cellular level. I felt truly blissful…for hours and hours.

And the very next day, as if floating on air, a thought crossed my mind: I can relax now. I am safe and there’s nothing left to prove. And then I cried. And laughed hysterically. Then cried some more. What a release!

I’ve written extensively about my anxiety and how it shows up as a serious phobia around the anticipation that someone (or myself) might vomit. I have long suspected that this fear is not literal, but rather that it’s the container in which I put generalized anxiety because if I didn’t have something in which to contain it, it would spill out or explode all over the rest of my life.

And what’s really funny is that all these years I thought of myself as a go-with-flow kinda gal – a type B – and most certainly not a “control freak” or “one of those people who are always stressed.”

But as it turns out, what I see now is that I could not – WOULD NOT – acknowledge stress in my life. I resisted it.

I mean how could I be stressed out? I have a wonderful husband, no money worries, no children. I’m a successful writer and author, and I am launching my Acceptance Whispering practice. I have fabulous friends and a full, wonderful life.

Acknowledging that I’ve been a big ball of stress for pretty much my entire life would seem to contradict all of that, right? Or maybe acknowledging it would come across as being ungrateful? Or whining? Or weak? Or as if I am blaming someone? Or all of the above?

Hello my name is Karen and for most of my life my body/mind/spirit has been holding on to and storing the stressful and destructive thoughts that I must be vigilant and that I must prove myself. I accept that I resisted acknowledging these thoughts.

Now I choose to let these thoughts go. I relax into acceptance.

Have you ever had an “absence of noise” experience? To what thoughts have you been holding on that you’d be better off without? What’s stopping you from letting go?

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