Sometimes, it’s as if my heart becomes a fist that squeezes and slams around my chest. This fist gets labelled as anxiety, and then I breathe and do other things to alleviate it. It never goes away completely, it just gets a little better. That makes me think I need to do more, and I find that my efforts to relieve anxiety can create more anxiety.
The best way I have found to make anxiety stop is to actually stop calling it anxiety. A few months ago, I figured out that I could re-label anxiety as excitement in my head and it would stop feeling uncomfortable. There are tons of situations where excitement is just as appropriate as anxiety and I don’t see why I couldn’t simply be misinterpreting the two.
What if anxiety could be a mental health version of to that Key and Peel texting bit?
Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m mistaking anxiety for loneliness. So this morning, I felt the same feeling and I called it the same anxiety. Then I tried to understand more by overanalyzing myself in context of a movie. I don’t think it’s anxiety, I think I might be lonely. I watched The Mitchells vs. The Machines this weekend with the family, and it got me feeling and thinking all sorts of things because it was an epic film, with a great message, and I like to overanalyze shit.
There’s inauthenticity and authenticity. Inauthenticity is like driving a car that’s out of alignment 75MPH down the highway. It sucks, it’s exhausting, and after awhile you really just wanna take your hands off the wheel all together. Authenticity, on the other hand, can feel like long 12 hour drives with nobody but loneliness in the passenger seat of life. It’s not necessarily that the car is empty. It’s almost like, the car is full of the people you love the most, the radio is too loud, and he person they see isn’t the person you want to be or even are. That’s how it was literally and metaphorically for the main character. Her family doesn’t get her, she wants to find her peeps, and the world gets taken over by machines. But then there’s also the poor mom desperate for a normal family and one nice picture – I get that too. Then there’s the dad who thinks all screens are the enemy and wishes we could all just live in nature and get away from this nonsense – and I get that too. All these people are being themselves, doing their thing, surrounded by each other, yet feeling so damn lonely. And there’s the brother who really likes dinos and he’s generally odd, and I get that too. If you took all the Mitchells and put them together, you’d get me. and me is lonely! I don’t necessarily see any battles with machines on that scale in the future, though, but I do have a solid canned good supply if things go south. (I’ll probably be great for 2 days.) Off topic…
Spoiler* Of course they embrace their strengths, unite, work together, and find that their dysfunction is both fun and functional, when you accept, love, and embrace people for who and what they are at any given moment, because that’s what love truly is. The power of love is truly unstoppable, and the more self-acceptance we have, the more acceptance we will gain. So be yourself, embrace what you think are weaknesses and treat them as unique invaluable strengths, don’t worry about other people’s opinions, because it’s likely you don’t understand them and they don’t understand you. So seek removing the obstacles that are blocking you from love by understanding. In understanding, you will find acceptance. With acceptance, you have love, and love conquers all.
And sure, that’s every movie trope ever and my analysis is as deep as a puddle of dog piss. Buuuuut, all these things are true. I’m glad I watched the movie, since it helped me see, once again, just because I think something is a certain way doesn’t mean it actually is. Everybody makes these snap judgements about others, or ourselves, and we think that our assessment is right, and wait until it’s proven otherwise, But, just because the label or judgement said it was anxiety, watching a movie with my kids made me understand it’s loneliness. And there it is, dammit. How can I be lonely and surrounded by the folks I love. Is Jung right? Or is there more to the story here?
In the movie (spoiler), Katie finds her peeps, but she also realizes that, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, she’s had her peeps all along. Which is kind of funny because that’s generally what any spiritual whoever tells you. Whatever you are seeking, you want, etc. – you already have and you just have not realized it yet. The only thing separating us from what we want is the very perception we do not have it. So then, if I say I’m anxious, I am of course anxious, but on further analysis, that’s just a perception, it can be changed, it can be wrong, etc. Further understanding shows that I am lonely, and I’m sure even further analysis can show me how I’m not lonely, I am a ham sandwich. It is largely irrelevant because no matter what I say, it becomes self fulfilling prophesy, and if I say “I am ___” I generally become whatever blank is. So now that I see it’s loneliness, I can focus on either continuing this story that I’m so lonely woe is me, I’m gonna cry about it and let these feelings and perceptions – that could still be wrong – rule my day, or I can see if I’m as lonely as I think I feel, if there’s things that I can focus on that aren’t supporting the lonely story – like, hey you’re surrounded by a family that does love you, and just because you feel lonely might be an indicator you’re not as authentic as you think, you’re not being vulnerable, you’re not letting love in, etc. Maybe loneliness, anxiety, etc. are just indicators of a block in your river of love… Oh I went for it. Lay it on lay it on… River of love. is dammed. Maybe goddammed…. onward!
In the movie’s case, she went on an epic journey with the fam, they learned about each other, saved the world, and found love. But it’s not like she didn’t have all these things readily available, she just had to understand that she already had it. Or maybe, in the words of the great Rumi, she had to clear the obstacles (dam) blocking her from love (god). (Well I’ll be damned) God, I love that quote, I mean isn’t that just the bees knees? It doesn’t get much simpler than that, does it? Your purpose in life is to clear away the obstacles between you and love.
And that’s what all of this is really, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what the label or perception is. It’s an obstacle in your river of love. If the feeling is loneliness or anxiety – it’s still blocked off from love. I think the movie shows, too, how focusing on your weaknesses as your strengths, or what you have vs what you don’t have creates new opportunities where all the things that makes you messed up or weird or wrong, are the very things that can save the world, or blow up a robot, or write a weird post overanalyzing a kid’s movie in relation to her anxiety / loneliness / philosophical whatever the fuck. In any case, The Mitchells have led me right back to Rumi, where I have to think that my metaphor of a fist is an apt perception of closing myself off from the very thing I’m looking for, then complaining I can’t find it. Suddenly, the fist unclenches, I take a deep breath, smile, and I have none of the things I was complaining about having. It’s a great movie and a wonderful life.
Thanks for stopping by!