I admit it. I am one of those people who feed the animals at the zoo, completely ignoring the horde of “Do NOT feed the animals” signs. I am also one of those people who will try to connect two completely unrelated things together though obscure logic and shady analogies.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I also “feed the anxiety animal” (see – shady analogy…) even though I know it is a fairly bad idea. Just like trying to getting lions to eat from my hand at the zoo (I just can’t stop myself from referring to the zoo thing because the feeding connection makes me feel so clever).

Every day, almost constantly, I’m feeding anxiety. It is like my brain has some sort of a special process that runs underneath everything else and this process is dedicated to create food for my anxiety. With regular intervals the process interrupts me, during my daily routine, just to let me know that it has found (or created) yet another fantastic deadly disease that could very possibly be tied to that small ache in my chest/arm/leg/head/toe/nose/throat/stomach/behind.

In a single day I’ve been able to convince myself that I am dying from multiple cancers, heart disease, brain tumors and the flu. And, of course, the Law states that as soon as a person becomes aware of having some disease, that person will instantly feel the full force of named disease and die horribly. On the spot. Or, at least, that’s what Hollywood has thought us. But, then again, they only have 90 minutes to cover the entire lifespan of their characters…

But hey! That’s what panic is all about people. As soon as I’ve been able to convince myself that I am currently dying from a particular disease, I feel death approaching – fast. By feeding my anxiety from morning to midnight, I am able to guarantee yet another Panic driven ride towards painful death… Or so I believe… up to a few times a week… And I’m still here… But that’s beside the point (or is it?).

The point I am trying to make (however feebly and in a manner that is completely devoid of logic) is that I (we) somehow have to stop feeding my anxiety. I have to stop selling myself short, as well. My inner dialogue almost always represents me as weak, fragile, sick, unable, etc. I am, thus, totally convinced that I can’t handle trouble, pains, problems and normal life difficulties to the same extent as “normal” people. Even though, through my life, I’ve come to know that this is not the truth. It is the complete opposite of truth. But my mind twists it and then feeds the result to my anxiety.

There are ways to stop feeding the anxiety. Mindfulness is one. Breathing correctly is another. Positive thinking. Slowing down. Learning to say “No”. Meditation and, of course, medication.

I’m trying to use some of these things. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. That is – I suppose – how life goes. I know I’ll never be completely free of anxiety and panic. Sometimes I just can’t help myself – I start feeding my anxiety, unable to control it – but sometimes I can control it. I can starve the anxiety monster. At least for a little while.

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