The Anxiety Chronicles (III) – If you’re scared, put your hand up.

The Anxiety Chronicles Part I is here.

And Part II – focused on my expat experience here.

As always, remember that I am not a professional qualified for treating anxiety, so what I share here is only my experience and it is by no means designed to replace professional help. I fully encourage you to seek adequate help (and by that I mean a therapist, not some super-life coach who got his diploma from an invented online course. Anxiety and mental issues are not a joke and should be taken seriously and treated accordingly by people trained properly to do so). Also, please take into account that some things you´ll read here may be triggering, so take care with that.

Life for us, the anxious ones, it not particularly easy ever, but December tends to be pretty difficult…

18th of December, especially, is an important trigger for me, marking the absolute final of a horrible and painful experience from my childhood, but also the beginning of my healing journey. I understand how all that seems too general or abstract, but this is all I am able to share for now and my point is that I am high on anxiety these days, more than the usual high, which is very high also 😀

I am sure that I am not the only one feeling a bit (ok, a lot) under the weather, this is why I gathered in this third chapter of The Anxiety Chronicles some interesting and potentially useful resources for us all. And for people standing by us, too – many of them struggling to capture the essence of what is happening 🙂

So, here we go!

I knew about this song for quite a while now, but I am not really sure why I ignored it, although I truly adore Julia Michaels as a person and as a singer. Now that this song arrived in my playlist, it will surely be played on repeat until the end of times. The lyrics are so very relatable. It is a must, please press play and explore it. It truly is a masterpiece:

Ways in which we torture ourselves – do they sound familiar?

Lexie was one my favorite Grey’s characters (and that is a great accomplishment, I assure you, she was competing with people nicknamed McSteamy and McDreamy, sooo…. 🙂 ). The actress has a powerful story to share – so very important when famous people do this, big like for her courage and willingness to help:

It’s OK to not be OK. And it’s incredibly important to reach out. Be willing to let your guard down a little bit to be able to find that community. And also know that if you’re really struggling that there are so many resources.

Chyler Leigh

Some random, but important Instagram posts (highly likely I’ll repeat and re-post, these are accounts I follow and adore and I truly find them helpful):

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Mucho de lo que hicimos durante épocas tempranas, hasta recientes, lo hemos hecho en modo supervivencia. Mucho de ello, lo juzgamos. Que debimos reaccionar de manera distinta, o afrontarlo mejor. Siempre animo a preguntarnos: cómo te sentías en ese momento? probablemente ni podamos nombrar esa emoción, o sabremos responder “miedo”. El cuerpo, frente al miedo, puede entrar en una respuesta de shock o freeze, puede atacar o huir. A lo que voy: el cuerpo hace lo que puede, frente a situaciones que le sobrepasan, que le abruman y que le dañan. Tu mente no estaba enfocada en pensamientos racionales, en entender lo que pasaba, tu mente buscaba sobrevivir. Tu cerebro está en la constante tarea de protegerte de contenidos dolorosos, y esta es otra manera de hacerlo. Te está protegiendo. Se está defendiendo. Entonces, ¿estabas en la capacidad de responder distinto? Probablemente ni recuerdes qué hiciste y por qué, como un pequeño trance en donde hiciste lo justo y necesario para salvarte. Creo que es crucial entender esto en situaciones de trauma, que pueden significar cualquier evento lo suficientemente emocional e intenso que lo convierta en trauma. Más que el evento, es cómo responde el cuerpo. Hoy te propongo que en lugar de juzgar a tu yo del pasado, asustado y temeroso, le des unas palabras de apoyo, empatía y comprensión. ¿No es eso lo que tal vez necesitabas en momentos duros? No una voz crítica, sino una voz de amor. Una voz que te diga: estuvo bien lo que hiciste, lo lograste. No es justo que juzgues a tu yo en modo supervivencia cuando solo estaba haciendo lo que conoce: protegerte. En ese estado emocional, no es justo exigirle respuestas y conductas elaboradas. De hecho, su respuesta es adaptativa. Por eso estás aquí. Te adaptas cuando atraviesas situaciones que nunca pensaste pasar, aun con dolor y trauma, y sobrevives. No importa, en estas instancias, las secuelas o consecuencias. No se trata de “si lo hubiera hecho bien, me sentiría bien”: tiene sentido y es válido que eso que ha pasado te duela. Qué importante es dar espacio a aceptar lo ocurrido, que hice lo que pude, y a vivir esa emoción que es lógica, valiosa y necesaria en el duelo. 💛✨

A post shared by Ana Paula Chávez (@anapaulachavezc) on

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Thank you, @meganjherbert for this sketch that you made of me, from my talk in The Netherlands yesterday. I love it. (And you got my big floppy black travel dress exactly right!) OK, so let’s have a quick word about boundaries…I am a person who has historically had little (sometimes NO) sense of “Where I End And Another Person Begins.” I have a soft and needy heart, and thus I’ve been quick to abandon myself for the (perceived) benefit of The Other, or to gain (perceived) affection and approval for me. It has taken me decades to learn what a boundary is, and what it isn’t. Despite what us nervous over-empaths might fear, a boundary is not a wall. It is not cruel. It is not punitive. And it’s not something that you hide behind, in quaking terror. No, a healthy boundary is simply a circle that you draw around something that is sacred. Then you safeguard the sacred thing that abides within that circle, and treat it as holy. Nobody gets to enter that sacred circle from a place of disrespect. They just don’t. They just CAN’T. Because: SACRED. Period. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell said that the only thing a human being needs to do in order to render something divine is to draw a circle around it and say, “Everything inside this circle is sacred.” And lo, it comes to pass. You get to decide what is sacred. You get to decide what gets sanctified. The sacred thing inside the circle can be your time, your creativity, your loved ones, your privacy, your recovery, your values, your mental health, your activism, your joy, your very heart and soul. You yourself can stand at the center of a scared circle that you drew around YOUR VERY OWN BEING, and say,”Everything inside this circle is holy.” Not because you think you’re better than anyone else, but because you have humbly accepted stewardship over the divine and mysterious gift of the universe that is YOU. And you choose to honor that gift, and take care of it with reverence. Anybody who shares and respects this sense of your inherent sacredness is allowed to step into the circle. Anybody who does not (or cannot) respect your inherent sacredness can wait outside the temple. That’s it. That’s aIl. I love you. ❤️LG

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Also, this:

And, to up the good vibes just a little bit:

And these dresses are amazing, checking them out improved one of my panic attacks (an easy one and I surely don’t recommend checking social media when you are feeling bad, but it can be an option, sometimes):

Now, this was just part of my collection of “survival stuff”, which I gathered in years of pain and chaos and struggles. Under no circumstances am I saying that your anxiety will disappear if you read my article or if you check endless Instagram posts. No, in fact some of them can be dangerous, because I am really sick and tired of reading how positive thinking will cure anything and how anxious people are just imagining things or depression is something we bring upon ourselves with our way of acting.

I am not suggesting playing games with something as serious as your mental health. I am strongly recommending that you find a good therapist and start your guided journey and then carefully choose what brings you little calm or a pinch of joy. Hopefully some things gathered here can do the trick for you, if not just ignore me and my chronicles.

I’ll be back, though. :)… Once I have something relevant to add on this topic.

Meanwhile, take care of yourself and try having a Christmas centered on your well being, for a change. Christmas should not mean hurting and exposing yourself to situations and people that harm you just for the sake of it. Think about it and act accordingly.

Be good!


Photo by Lauren McConachie on Unsplash

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