Far from associating wisdom with age, it can come in many forms, shapes and sizes and from many a lesson. And at any age! We don’t have to be the ‘wise old owl’ with the crows feet and the withered skin or with the straggly white beard and a Shepherd’s crook! I mean.. that’s great if you fit this description and I’d actually like to meet you... imagining lots of stories and quotes and insights and.. yadda, yadda!! But, Nope! Wisdom can come fresh faced, fully moisturised and dewy smooth! It can fit like that favourite pair of jeans! Or it can take a while to melt into your personality through life’s experiences. It’s young, old and anything in between. Some are born with it, some are taught it and have learned it through harsh lessons about life in a variety of ways. Anxiety being one. Whilst struggling with anxious feelings, rationality mainly gets thrown out of the metaphoric window! I don’t remember being in the first throws of panic attacks and being wise to it. How could I? It was new to me and something was happening to me and I could not even begin to think about wisdom or wise words! Not to mention that anyone who tried to tell me anything other than what I was feeling would get met with a very uneducated “Fuck off.. I’m dying! Don’t let me die! Promise you won’t let me die! If you do I’ll come back to haunt you.. I swear I will!!” type response! But I didn’t die. Cos' here I am telling you myself that I didn’t die! And when the panic retreated and let me actually breathe in a normal rhythm, I was open to hearing wisdom. Because I needed it. It brought me back to the reality that it was a panic attack. A mere, scary, unnerving, quivering, sweaty, embarrassing but very real panic attack. During those times it’s extremely difficult to ground yourself and tell yourself it’s a harmless reaction that your body induces for reasons that are largely unknown to us at the time! Of course, such attacks can happen for causes known to us, such as, bad news or an event we aren’t looking forward to that we’ve been ticking over or the constant worry about the future! But unless we are educated on the physiological symptoms, we are always doomed to think the worst is happening and that we are destined to become dust far too soon. This is where we need to be wise to it.
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" - Aristotle
The above quote can be applied and interpreted in so many ways but when applied to anxiety and panic, it can create a sense of calmness and riding the waves. (Think Crush the turtle in Finding Nemo!) To know yourself is the best way to become wise to yourself. Wisdom doesn’t have to mean knowing everything and having the answers. It can be just knowing you! Knowing how your body works, the symptoms you experience and recognising those symptoms as that of panic and anxiety and it’s patterns. “Oh, here it comes!” is a phrase I’ve often said out loud. Because I’m wise to it. I know it. I know what makes it better and what makes it worse. I make sure there is someone with me or I’ll have someone on the end of the phone for comfort and peace of mind but I make sure they leave me to take on the mini battle with my body by myself. Because that is what works for me. Company in the background, preferably getting on with their day and not keeping a watchful eye on me!
I referred in my ebook about a therapist who told me that comforting me during a panic attack was the worst thing my mum did for me! At the time of the attack, it felt like it was the best thing. And when I heard those words I felt insulted! But a while later I realised that there could be some wise words there!! And his reasons were this:
“By comforting you, she was allowing panic to remain. In a ‘there, there’ type way. This was why your attack lasted so long. She gave you permission to be submissive to the point that it drained you more than it should have” or words to that effect. Now, of course this doesn’t mean that everyone who suffers will reap the benefits of my therapists wisdom. Because what works for one may not work for another. But in a moment of clarity, I decided that he spoke wise words to me even though I still wanted to punch him in the face!! (I don’t now! I’m over it! I’d actually like to thank him!) But it created a new way for me to deal with it the next time it happened and it worked! Yes, it knocked me sideways, yes I took myself off to get checked out just incase, but the lack of ‘there, there’ cut that particular panic attacks’ life span by almost half! Through that one piece of wisdom, I learnt to remind myself that I don’t need babying. I needed to pull up my big girl pants and ride it out. With breathing techniques and grounding exercises and the acknowledgment that this is anxiety or panic and soon they’ll get bored and leave me alone! And they did. And they do. Because although I class myself as recovered, anxiety will always try it’s luck on me! I’ve become the wise old owl and I tell it in no uncertain terms that it has 5 minutes because I am too busy for its shenanigans! And when it taps me on the shoulder when I’m making a cuppa or the like, I roll my eyes, acknowledge it and carry on. Sometimes it will make me take a moment to regain control but that’s OK. To create wisdom surrounding anxiety and panic is to educate yourself on how it affects you. I have found that anxiety generally displays a lot of the same symptoms but only you know how it manifests in you. Feel the symptoms and make a note. Notice the triggers and note them too. Avoid those triggers if you can. Acknowledge it’s there and ride it out with your breathing and grounding. And then don’t dwell. It’s so easy to question why this is happening and going over and over it in your mind. Or feeling embarrassed because you’ve had to take time out. The best thing, I find, is to let anxiety have its 5 minutes of fame and then get on with your day as if it doesn’t exist. And please don’t feel like you need to apologise for anxiety. Yes, it’s unpleasant and it could strike at the most inconvenient times, but it’s not your fault. Know this. Teach yourself to become wise to your own self. It improves your outlook and in turn your confidence, which outwardly will become noticeable. It’ll become part of your make-up. Try wisdom. I think it’d look good on you! Loves ya!
PS. Remember to check yourself out in the mirror before you get on with your day and affirm that you are wise to anxiety! You’ve got this shit nailed! PPS. And stay away from Google! For the sake of your soul!