The Ripple Effect of Anxiety

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author:Sarah Malik
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:18

If our lives were like oceans, spreading over many years and vast distances, swooping and swaying according to the waves of change in the atmosphere around us and interacting with the people we meet as the ocean flows up and down the shores –
A small drop of anxiety on just one day can have a ripple effect that reaches to the depths of the ocean floor and touches the farthest corners of our lives.
The first drop
When we first feel restricted about leaving the house, there goes a drop.
When we get into a group and start feeling anxious, there is a drop.
When we think of a job we’d really love to go after but are too scared to. There it is.
Jobs never applied for. Dates never taken. Friends never made.
Not only does anxiety prevent us from saying something we wanted to say – today. Not only does it make us uncomfortable around other people – tonight.
But we experience the aftereffects of our initial anxious experience. Over years of our lives.
These small, daily drops create ripples across our lives.
When we are uncomfortable leaving the house, we then feel ashamed that we feel that way. We wonder if there is something wrong with us. And so the ripple goes.
When we are in a group of people, say at the mall shopping, we feel nervous.
We feel isolated by the nervousness. We say to ourselves: No one understands how hard it is. It’s painful. Ripple.
The ripples are so subtle at first. But at some point they begin to span out across our horizon. Moving through the waves of the current to saturate every distant cell.
Similar situations
But we may not recognize this vast impact until we are faced with a similar situation.
What happens when we get a job interview? What happens when we see someone we would like to meet? What happens when we are in a meeting or attending a party function?
The memory is there. The experience somehow feels familiar. We recognize it.
We don’t like this feeling. We don’t like these situations.
The memory has become our current reality.
Our past becomes our future.
Our lives are effected.
What ripples do you feel?
What do you tell yourself about your anxiety and shyness?
Do you beat yourself up?
Do you feel like there is something wrong with you?
Do you wonder what is going on inside of you – that you just can’t seem to control?
Is the idea that past experiences are creating your future helpful?

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