When I was going through the most difficult time in my life, I was nothing short of a huge, tumbling ball of anxiety. My heart pounded in my chest all day, every day. I could not think straight or make a plan.
I was emotional, I got frustrated easily and I felt like a shell of the person I once was.
I was frozen and afraid.
There were moments when the fear and anxiety built up so high, I couldn't help but vent it out to my mother and I can tell you this... it wasn't pretty.
In the midst of my crying, screaming and all around freak out my mother would try to give me answers, but I'd only buck them. There are no answers! There's no solution! Do you think I haven't thought this through over and over and over?! It's hopeless...
I know it had to have been horribly painful for her to watch her once calm, collected, vibrant and motivated child falling apart at her feet.
Until one day, something different happened...
During a lose-my-mind episode she stopped trying to "fix" my issue and instead she just listened quietly. She looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes and said kindly, "Sweetheart, it's going to be okay... It's going to be okay." I could hardly hear her for the locomotive of fear barreling through my brain. I kept ranting and raving and then she said it again, "Sweetheart, it's going to be okay."
For some unknown reason, I stopped and looked at her and for a tiny, brief moment in time, I believed her.
It was going to be okay wasn't it? This was just for now. I just have to walk through this storm. There is going to be blue sky again. I only need to be patient. Nothing lasts forever.
I'll never forget how profound that moment was.
All I needed was someone to tell me it's going to be okay.
The Bearer of Hopeful Space
Since that experience, I began to see the anxiety ridden outbursts of people in my life differently. I no longer judged them as crazy or ridiculous. I now know what drives their behavior.
They are afraid.
They are hopeless.
They are frozen.
Just. Like. I. Was.
I not only changed how I see them, I changed how I handle them.
I now listen openly even if they are screaming, bawling their eyes out, cursing or pointing fingers in all the wrong directions.
I listen openly and allow them to vent the toxic energy out of their body all the while only feeling compassion for their experience.
I let them know I understand and I tell them...
It's going to be okay.
However, I just don't say the words I feel them with every fiber of my being.
I will it into their body, their energy field. I believe it with all my heart and I want them to believe it too even if for just a moment.
And guess what happens? It helps... a lot.
There is nothing worse than feeling hopeless.
It is the low of all lows. It's the feeling that it will never, ever get better. Hopelessness will steal one's joy and cause a person to act in ways far outside his/her personality, thus leading to deep feelings of shame and even more hopelessness.
It is a vicious cycle that can transfer from year to year and go on for a lifetime if not checked or dealt with properly.
Although we do not have the capability to "fix" another, nor do we have the power to change another's circumstance or "save" them, we do possess the most powerful healing force in the universe... Love.
Your presence, space holding and belief in the transcendence of their problem holds more power than you could possibly know.
Never underestimate the power of your Love and how you can help your anxious loved ones.
As a coach, I often have clients tell me they just wished someone would scoop them up in their arms and tell them everything is going to be okay - that they are okay.
I believe the family and friends of the highly anxious have trouble with this because they truly do not understand at a core level what is going on inside their loved one and they take their outbursts personally.
So let me help you out a bit.
When your loved one is having an anxious outburst, you must remember:
1. It is not about you.
2. It was never about you.
Although your loved one may be spitting darts at you, to engage with them will only heighten the experience.
Let them vent, let them spew, have compassion for them and then when you feel the moment's right tell them: it's going to be okay.
I have faith that those of you who were drawn to this article know exactly the type of anxious outburst I am talking about because you have been dealing with it for some time now.
My hope is that you've gained a new perspective and action plan to help your loved ones move through their fear and anxiety more quickly.
You can be the miracle your loved one so desperately needs.
As an empowerment coach, I feel it's my duty to disclaim that you do not ever have to be the recipient of physical and/or emotional abuse. It is up to you to discern the difference between confused and fearful rantings of your loved one and abuse. Go within, consult your soul, talk to someone if you need to and discern the difference.
If you would like to hire Kristen for coaching, to learn more about her book: From Doormat to Sweet Empowerment or would like to peruse Kristen's library of articles, please visit her website. Don't forget to sign up for her Newsletter while you're there!
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, please contact your doctor.