It takes courage to deal with anxiety and to develop the skills to make your life different so you don't suffer as much. If it is truly an anxiety disorder then it's not one of those things that goes unnoticed by others, so the feelings of being exposed while your fear hangs out for everyone to see is huge. That is why it is important to remember that it is actually very courageous to face and deal with anxiety. Lately I have been handing out a helpful sheet to people that summarizes very succinctly what you need to remember to calm your anxiety. It's a visual reminder to give yourself a reality check re: how scary the event really is. If it is really and truly scary.....then leave!! Sometimes what people call fear is actually wisdom! If, rationally, you know that it is something that makes you feel anxious but isn't dangerous, then breathe and calm yourself internally. Deep breathing reminds you at a deep physiological level that you are safe and that you are not in 'fight, flight or freeze'. Positive self-talk counteracts the shaming messages going on internally. You can also practice naming things that you can see, hear, and feel in your body so that you remember where you are and that you are an adult who has choices.....even if you might not always like them! For people suffering from anxiety the main skill to be learned is how to feel safe and calm in your body. That is why practices such as yoga, mindfulness and meditation are helpful.
Sorry....no metaphor this week.....just plain ol' useful information! I hope it's helpful.