Born anxious? This can set you free.
Sometimes I think I was born anxious. See this pic of me in the cute headscarf? I’m about 3 there - and I’m wearing the scarf because I’d pulled out most of my hair.
I didn’t even know there was a word for this until about 10 years ago, when I was watching an episode of Frasier (it’s an anxiety disorder called trichotillomania). I pulled out my hair if there was the least little bit I could get hold of and I ended up with bald patches that made my school life... interesting. It was self-destructive and soothing in equal measure - and it was the first of other behaviours that lasted me well into adulthood.
My mum had obvious symptoms of anxiety in her youth, too. So, some form of anxiety has been my birthright for at least a few generations - and is likely to be part of my legacy. My poor mum must have been beside herself - and now, as a mum of an anxious boy myself, I can truly understand how bad she must have felt.
You see, when your child is anxious, that means you raised them to be anxious. Which must mean you are a Bad Mum. Right? So says the anxious brain. No matter what you try - in parenting, in adulting, in life, you are getting it wrong.
When I had my son, my good friend said to me “When you give birth, you give birth to guilt” and hoo boy, was she right. I just knew I was getting it wrong. Before motherhood, I had no clue that I was an anxious person - seems crazy in hindsight, how could I not know? But after my son was born, I really knew it. I had a pretty crappy labour and birth, resulting in an emergency c- section, and I suffered with post-partum depression for a loooooong time afterwards.
I worried because he wouldn’t sleep. I worried because we struggled with breast-feeding. I worried that he cried a lot. I worried that he wasn’t growing enough. I worried that my marriage was falling apart. I worried that if my son was awake now, he wouldn’t sleep then, and then the night would be awful, then I’d be exhausted, then the next day would go to pieces, and there would be tears, arguments and hideousness, etc, etc.
Worry, worry, worry. It was awful.
I had some support from my mum, but my husband at the time had emotionally checked out and I felt completely alone and imprisoned by my own thoughts.
As my son grew, I worried that I was passing on my anxiety and unhappiness to him. He had terrible separation anxiety from the moment he started nursery and I just knew it was my fault. As he grew, his symptoms of anxiety became more and more apparent and impossible to deny. I had created a self-fulfilling prophecy and I felt completely powerless to break the cycle. To top it all, my marriage inevitably ended and I found myself in the exact place I had dreaded - and unconsciously created.
I know now, with hindsight, that this testing time would be the absolute making of me - my forging in fire.
Needing a career change, Reiki found me (this is what it does, it’s so cool). My Reiki Master told me about the Law of Attraction, though to be honest I wasn’t really ready to hear about it then.
I began to practice Reiki and to bring in clients. I started tapping in to some innate instinct, wisdom and ability that healers, mums and people who’ve been through some shit tend to have. I found that helping others was a Thing I Could Do. And of course it helped me, a lot - with Reiki, it’s ‘give a session, get a session’. The healing had begun.
I can’t pretend it was a straight run from Reiki initiation to Nirvana - life is still life and it can be messy and complicated. My son and I have blowups from time to time, when his monster and my monster get in the ring together. Our lives are far from perfect, but the condemnation I used to level at myself for ‘getting it wrong’ is all but gone. Mistakes are ok and victories are celebrated. I’ve let myself off the hook. I’m a good mum. I am enough. My best is good enough. Life is good. It’s really, really good.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, personally speaking, I don’t want to be told by someone who’s never walked through a storm which raincoat to choose - how to recover and thrive. I need someone who’s tried everything that didn’t work and found the way out to the other side and the sunshine. I need the benefit of that wisdom and experience. I need a veteran.
I’ve been in practice for nearly ten years, worked in hospice and palliative care and I run a beautiful, thriving private practice. I’ve treated hundreds of clients and patients, spread healing and changed lives - including my own.
I’ve learned forgiveness - of myself, as much as of other people. I’ve learned to accept, appreciate and love myself - with all my foibles and fallibility. I’ve learned to bounce back. I’ve learned to let that shit go. I’ve learned gratitude, appreciation and joy. I’ve learned that every difficulty is truly my brilliant next lesson to get really good at feeling good. I’ve learned to heal.
I’ve learned how to be happy.
And lucky lucky me, I have been privileged to help hundreds of other amazing people to find their happy too. Happiness grows, it really does.
Tend the body. Free the mind. Heal the soul.
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