I can’t help but think about the word, “Independence,” after we just celebrated the 4th of July weekend. What comes to mind is the thought of independence from the yoke of slavery. Independence can be considered as a collective, or as an individual. Considering the yoke of slavery as an individual, it can speak to the physical, spiritual, mental, and/or emotional parts of us. Spiritually and mentally, many of us are bound to the traumas of the past and the pains of the present.
We may have a general feeling of angst, pain, irritation, pressure, or suffocation in our chest. This is one form of anxiety. We just can’t pinpoint the origin of that feeling, so we start to search our minds, attempting to figure out what we may have done wrong for that anxious feeling to be present and burdening us. This is called worry. And worry, without addressing it, becomes anxiety. When anxiety comes, we realize that the burning feeling in our chest has been magnified, and we think… “What more have I done wrong to deserve this feeling, and even have it exacerbated?!” And so goes a toxic cycle of worry and anxiety. This cycle becomes habitual when we choose to continue to respond this way any time we are triggered by a thought or a feeling. Over time, this can lead to depression.
We may have been triggered by an annoyance brought on by our kids not getting ready fast enough, our wife saying something passive-aggressive, or our husband not fulfilling his commitment to fixing the drain in the laundry room. Sometime later, we may be feeling anxious at work, and not tie that feeling to what had just happened in our homes. So we start to worry, wondering if we said or did something wrong, or made the wrong choice or move. Believing we did something to deserve this feeling, we shame and condemn ourselves, thereby inflating the feeling of anxiety. If that initial feeling or thought is not taken captive, that anxiety will cause us to be even more annoyed than typical with others, so a simple request from a co-worker to explain why you chose the method you chose can turn into a feeling of, “Why are you accusing me?” And the more we allow our anxiety to dictate our actions to control our thoughts, the more we will continue to respond in unkind ways to ourselves and others. When we respond in unhealthy ways, we even more so feel like we deserve to be punished for our actions. More shame. More condemnation. More anxiety. So by the end of the day, we have accumulated a big ball of messy and knotty yarn, and we have no idea where the start is– at this point, it is almost impossible to unravel.
If we allow ourselves to respond in this way day by day, we create a sense of habit. This negative habit becomes a way of life, and this way of life becomes a mental prison or a form of slavery. We allow ourselves to be enslaved to negativity, and we become miserable, angry, bitter, and resentful people. Is this you? Every single person is susceptible to this, and most of us have experienced this cycle.
What if I told you there was a way to help? NuWell Counseling can help open the prison doors, release the shackles of those who are bound, and set the captives free. There can be independence from the yoke of slavery, and freedom found from the cycle of “worry → anxiety → worry → anxiety.” Let our compassionate and mutually vulnerable counselors help you understand how you can let freedom ring over the traumas of the past and the pains of the present.