Lessons Learned from Darkness (Anxiety)

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Life lessons can come from anywhere and anybody. It could be a conversation with a stranger exchanging some casual small talk that somehow may enlighten the self. It could come in one sentence from a book, or a work of art as well.

One could learn from mistakes.
One could also learn from inner darkness, too.

Today, I was thinking on what I have learned from others, but also what have I learned from me as I get to know me more as the years pass by, specially with the release of my newest EP. I feel that until today, I really have not accepted my darkness, I had only acknowledge it: aware that it has been with me for long, patiently waiting. This darkness is made of many things. The one I would like to address today is my anxiety that sometimes takes the best of me.

Fortunately, it has not been manifesting that often. However, I feel that I am learning from this darkness when it happens. Here are some of my lessons:

• It will pass, because it always does: this, for me, is of importance and reassurance. When an episode of anxiety is triggered within me, either a minor or a major one, I remind myself that even if everything appears that is going wrong, and that it just will get worst, the truth is that this cognitive distortion will be momentary. What I find is that when I feel like this is because I am too focused on myself, too self-conscious and pressured trying to hide this sensation from others.
• Whatever negative thought I am thinking on this state, its probably not true, or can be easily challenged: This lesson is recent. I have a long list of negative thoughts that are constantly in my head. For instance, that I am not good enough for “x”, or that I could not never be “y.” What I did recently is to write these thoughts as part of an exercise and look at them momentarily. Then, these thoughts were analyzed with reason and logic. This resulted that all the negative concepts I have on myself are unfounded. Thus, they can be changed. This for me was an important step towards acceptance.
• When my mind is on overdrive, it means that I am unfocused: I realized that my mind can and it will go to different scenarios or ideas that are not necessarily pleasant. This results in an overwhelming distraction. An overstimulated mind that wants to do everything but cannot go anywhere because at the time, everything seems important. This can be incapacitating and hinder my tasks and decision making. What I have done to balance this state of mind, and defeat the overwhelm, is to actually do something. By doing something, I mean like solving a mathematical problem, attempt a drawing, try to create a groove with my hands, hum or whistle a melody. In short, the idea is to focus in something other than the self, however, this activity should bring something positive or a positive outcome. This has been proving effective lately in times of stress or negative distraction.

In sum, here I am sharing three things that my darkness has thought me. It might not be as clear at the first stages, but as time passes by, and I start to think back, I had learned various things from this part of my darkness which is anxiety. I hope, that you consider the possible lessons that your darkness has given to you. Perhaps, some of what you share through here or in a conversation with a stranger could be of help.

On learning,
-E.

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