From the moment I stepped foot on the plane leaving Denver, I wondered apprehensively when the debilitating anxiety would kick in. I was fully prepared to deal with many days of being stuck in bed as I worked through the messiness that had become my soul. However, as the days passed with only mild levels of anxiety at best, I began to wonder not when, but IF the anxiety would kick in. Perhaps it was nothing more than an unwarranted fear I had built up in my own mind. Finally, after allowing the experience of my first day in Bangkok to sit with me for a few days, I thought perhaps I had received the epiphany that had cured my anxiety and set free my demons once and for all.
But... it doesn't appear to be that simple. Epiphanies are great, but it's the epiphany in practice that really brings forth the healing. While I came to realize I couldn't identify as both a victim and a victor, that didn't erase the memories that are still there, and which still bring with them a sense of panic and urgency at times even though they no longer hold a place in the present. I'm not sure what finally sparked the fuse, but something opened the cage a few days ago and the most painful of the memories returned. Panic won and instead of going to practice as planned, I curled up in a ball under the covers like a child and spent the rest of the evening just reminding myself the sense of urgency was unwarranted and that was all I accomplished that evening.
The very healing realization that we are constantly given a choice to be either the victim or the victor was only the first step in the healing process. The second step is apparently mastering the war of deciphering past from present. Anxiety over past experiences is a funny thing. It's the mind remembering events in the past and signaling the release of hormones to induce a state of urgency in the present, a state of urgency that is completely unnecessary and seemingly impossible to honor since the task to complete is one set in the past.
I share this because I know many people struggle with anxiety and memories from their past that just won't seem to stop haunting them, and I would like to bear witness to the struggle. Wrestling with anxiety can be a tough battle and there is no quick fix to the battle strategy. While sometimes I use martial arts to literally wrestle with my past, and other times I use writing as a way to facilitate the flow of my thoughts regarding the past, there are time as well where curling up in a ball and just letting the memories wash over me is the best I can do. And that's okay. That is more than okay. A helpful quote I found in a book titled Soul Shifts by Dr. Barbara DeAngelis is "I will see what there is to see, feel what there is to feel, and know what there is to know." To me this meant remaining open to identifying life lessons as they are presented to us and then putting them into practice as we go, but practice is the key concept. There are no quick fixes... just a lot of opportunities to practice.
So for those of you coping strategically, and for those coping in a ball under the covers... You're doing just fine. Much love. Xo
A lover of words, magic, and the idea of changing the world by encouraging the pursuit of one dream at a time. Living the dream myself as a professional boxer, kickboxer, and MMA fighter.