PTSD and Anxiety: Narrowing Your Window of Time
Fear is manifold, and I want to take you into one aspect of it through the following:
Fear and anxiety may relate to unexpressed or disowned anger. Healthy expression of anger such as saying “yes” or “no” when the moment requires it, establishes or maintains an integrated sense of self. When these boundaries have not been respected, for example when you have been abused, or through your education, you learn to keep it locked inside, which can lead to issues around self-worth, identity and anxiety disorders.
The Need for Control When Anxious
When you go through an event or a period in your life that has been very upsetting, it is imbued with a set of emotions and one of them will most likely be fear.
When we feel afraid, our instinctive reaction is to seek some sense of order in an attempt to control our anxiety. Part of that process is to imagine something in the future and try to organize it. Of course, to some extent this is healthy when it relates to anxieties that might quickly start to spiral out of control. The more insistence there is on controlling circumstances or people, the more we discover that it is impossible, thereby creating more fear and anxiety in the process.
How to Deal with PTSD Anxiety
One way of managing anxiety and the need to seek control is to decrease your window of time.
For example, if you have work responsibilities or have tasks that must be done and you feel overwhelmed by these requirements or how to approach them, instead of projecting too big an event far into the future, see what you can do this week. What is within your scope of ability? If that is still too much time to manage, try reducing it to just today. What, realistically, can you do today? If today is too much, what can you oversee and do in the next few hours?
The future and your available energy can look after itself when the right time arrives. Rather than beating yourself up over what you are not doing, check with yourself regarding how wide you can keep your window of time in relation to your capacity and energy. Then take it from there.
Experiment with this!