At this end of this episode, I literally say, “I don’t know what this conversation means or how I’m gonna edit it or write about it, but gosh darn it, it’s something.” It is certainly something, and, interestingly enough, I am just about as puzzled by the ideas we share in this conversation as I was when we actually recorded it a few months ago. Perhaps this is due to the nature of this conversation and the fact that most of it focuses on abstract ideas about intangible things, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t acknowledge the impact of my own anxiety in this present moment.
Over this past week that I’ve been editing this episode, I’ve felt my anxiety growing. On top of producing a podcast that highlights many areas that I personally struggle in, I’ve undergone some serious life changes recently (moving across the country, moving in with my partner, “graduating” from therapy. etc.). As I’ve worked with the episode and the topics we discuss, it left me feeling inadequate. I caught myself thinking, “I know that this anxiety is trying to tell me something, but I can’t listen. I need it to go away. I can’t do this right now.” Then I would notice this thought and feel immediately shameful for what I had just done to myself. The thoughts of how to prevent this from happening and the “what do I need to do’s” flood in, and I find myself feeling like I’m not doing enough.
For me, the first step in the process is always and only listening. I say only listening because, if I start jumping ahead to action, I am no longer listening. I have to notice the anxiety, feel the anxiety, and listen to the anxiety before anything else. Sometimes, this process is long and arduous. It can take a very long time to be able to hear the message and even longer to begin to comprehend it. And when I do hear the message, it can take even longer to believe it, embody it, and take action.
The question that I’m trying to explore in this part of my conversation with Dr. G is:
What is it like to experience anxiety as a calling?
THIS, what I have just written about, is what it is like. It is an uncomfortable, sometimes excruciating, and often lengthy process. It leads you to places you might not want to go. And yet, it shows you what you need to see. It teaches you how to find what you truly seek. As I write this, I’m noticing that perhaps anxiety has been calling me to be easy with my mind. Diving into conversation like this is a practice I truly enjoy, but it can also lead me to spend more time analyzing and understanding, and less time feeling and living.
You may have a very different understanding of what it is to experience anxiety as a calling. You may feel called by other things like grief or overwhelm or depression. The words shared in this blog and this podcast (and any other content I create) are just as human as the person they come from. My hope is that they are genuine and curious, but I know they are not perfect. You may find that this makes no sense at all. Our minds like to put meaning to things as a way to help us live in a world that often has no inherent clarity, and still, you can rest in the fact that none of this has to mean anything at all. You have the power to listen to what is here and find meaning where you choose.
In this episode, Dr. G and I explore these very questions. We share stories of times when we experienced anxiety as a calling. And we definitley don’t have any answers. You can find this episode of Psychiatria and all the others on your podcatcher of choice, embedded below, or at the links HERE. If you’ve already listened – What did you think? Any questions, comments, or feedback are welcome! Email me at [email protected]. Want to keep up with the show and get a heads up on new episodes? Find me on Instagram (@PsychiatriaPodcast). I can’t wait to hear from you! Stay curious, dear listeners
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- The Awareness Principle by Acharya Peter Wilberg