Anxiety Can Have A Name, But It Isn’t Your Identity

Shelby John Anxiety, EMDR, Self-Care

Often my clients who suffer from anxiety, have struggled to learn how to cope effectively, because they think it is permanent.  They feel, for a variety of reasons, this is who they are, like it’s a life sentence they were given from the universe.  Anxiety can have a name but it isn’t yours.


Today I want to share a little more about anxiety, but more so what it isn’t.  Often struggling people get caught in the trap that anxiety is their identity.  But anxiety is just another label similar to mother, sister, friend, student, woman, etc. it isn’t who you are.


Anxiety is an insidious mental health condition that breeds itself and creates more anxiety. And because the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined fear, the fight or flight response activates in the physical body, and what happens, more anxiety and then panic.  This is the continuous cycle for someone who struggles with an anxiety disorder. It is exhausting.


Anxiety disorders are skyrocketing to become the most prevalent mental health condition in America with 18.1% of the population affected.  But with that said only 36% of people are receiving treatment. People are suffering because managing the fight, flight, panic or just plain doom is scary and often lands people with anxiety disorders in the doctors’ office and hospitals more often than their healthier friends (causing unnecessary exposure to more illness, loss of time at work or with family and often mounting medical bills, boo!).


Maybe you or a loved one has been suffering for a long time.  Perhaps, like I have recently discovered, when you think back to your younger self you can see where the anxiety was present even then.  Maybe as a young school ager you were the quiet one in class, hid from your classmates on the playground, refused to participate in activities, etc.


Or maybe you were a late bloomer, the panic attacks, fear or worry came on later in life, maybe after a certain situation or incident or an ongoing stressor like financial insecurity or chronic illness.  For me, it was a constant state of chaos (which I now know was anxiety, we just didn’t call it that back then) and insecurity, which seemed to be relieved when I drank.


Whatever your story is, it is yours.  Your journey is personal and private and can’t be dwindled down into an insurance sized check box making you feel like all you are is a diagnosis code.   Our society loves to label people with both good and bad things, but those labels are limiting and can be detrimental to our personal growth and development.


Anxiety isn’t who you are, it is just one part of you. It is not your identity, just simply something you experience.  Learning to separate it from who you are as a person (even giving it a name “Bob”), will really jump start your ability to overcome it.  This separation from self is a clinical skill, a tool you can implement on a regular basis when experiencing anxiety/panic to remind your brain and body that this is just your anxiety showing up.  It isn’t you, it is the anxiety trying to trick you with fear.  And fear is a LIAR!

As humans our perceptions are our reality.  So even though you may have two siblings and you were all raised basically the same, each individual will internalize experiences, consequences and guidance through their own lens.  Maybe you say things like I don’t know why my sister is so close with our mom, she was so judgmental and mean when really your sister may have had a more sensitive bent.


The sister may have been more perfectionistic in nature, wanting to please and instead of taking the mothers advice and guidance as helpful or productive, internalized it as ‘mom doesn’t like me’ or ‘mom is always picking on me’.  You see where I am going with this.


All of this is all fine and good but what do we do with those feelings of panic, overwhelm and fear when they tighten their grip around our chests and paralyze us?  We were all created with the natural ability to heal ourselves, deep down we have the tools we require to meet our needs, but we need a guide.


Thank God for great therapy!  Some of you may have had great therapy in your lives, others have been resistant.  Even better find an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist   As a therapist myself and the participant in amazing therapy I know the be


“Just as anxiety can feed on itself, so can courage.”
― John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brainnefits.


There are other natural ways of healing your anxiety, some you are probably aware of.  Using the breath to slow down the brain and the physical response to anxiety is a powerful tool and when used properly can reduce anxiety within minutes.  In addition, the link between nutrition, toxic load and mental health has been well researched and the results are unquestionable.


I created a freebie for you to help guide you through the first steps in this healing process!  You can download it here.


Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health condition in American with almost 20% of people suffering.  But anxiety is not who you are, it isn’t your personality, your gift, talent or passion.  It is just one thing you struggle with.  And there is a solution. You can take responsibility and get control of your anxiety.

Instagram Post From @Wholisticlivingthearpy

You can learn more about how to Heal Your Anxiety Naturally by joining my private Facebook group.  We can get to know each other more there and you can learn and share with other like minded people.


I can’t say that your life or circumstances will get better, but I know 100% you will get better, you don’t have to live with the crippling effects of mood disorders anymore.


Leave a comment or feel free to send me an e-mail with any questions!  See you next week.