Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Some time ago I lost my voice. There had been a lot of change, coinciding around the death of a loved one, it was certainly a topsy turvy time. On coming out of the immediate shock of bereavement and the significant changes in my work and lifestyle, I found myself altered, or anxious, to attach a current word to it. This anxiety manifested in a rattly chest; a persistent pressure felt around my heart. Like a good westerner I sought the opinion of a doctor. He performed all the tests I requested but the results returned as negative. I wasn’t having a heart attack, he explained, I had been through a lot and I was stressed. The body was reacting to it. #findyourvoice
The word ‘altered’ is the best I can find. Words can only flit about the hot bulb of truth blindly. I was altered. I had lost my nerve and my voice and had to both lie and fake confidence to perform any but the most mundane tasks. I was terrified my boss would see this and be compelled to let me go. I would have let him down. Then I wouldn’t be able to afford to see my boy. I’d let him down again as I’d let him down by leaving him and his mum. There were moments when I’d have to leave the room. Sweaty monologues in front of the mirror.
On waking each morning, in those moments (beyond time) spent commuting between states of consciousness, I would be poisoned by doubt and fear of the future. I’m used to this now and apply the third person to the phenomenon thus: ‘the unconscious is saying that I’m afraid of…’ or the passive ‘my chest is being thumped from the inside because there is uncertainty around..’ Or by simply removing the pronoun and welcoming these monsters into my conscious mind, I can weaken them. Love can be an antidote to poison.
But these are just coping mechanisms. The fear is there. The fear of being exposed. I just need to live with it. #fearanddoubt
I wish you were still here pups. I never showed you how much I loved you, and now it’s too late. I’m so sorry.
Recently, I’ve heard anxiety described as being caught in the fight or flight mode for prolonged periods. This isn’t about wild animals and tribal tiffs anymore, or thank goodness, bombs dropping while we cower underground. No need to mention the abiding story of our time either. I just think we’ve been asking our unconscious minds to filter too much information, and the meaning therein. #anxiety
As a coach, I’m curious about how the psyche creates paradigms. By paradigm I mean world view, morality, existential viewpoint, ethic set, and other words used to convey how we view our reality, with a lower case ‘r’. Reality with a capital ‘R’ is the unfiltered one unaffected by concepts of right and wrong. I see paradigms as the result of psychic filtering by inherited and refined prisms of morality. The meaning is the deposit of the filtering. When that suddenly differs from what has always come before, there is a flickering of the bulb that is disconcerting. When the bulb goes out it can be downright terrifying. #paradigm #morality
Despite the rattly chest (described by a friend as ‘a little bird fluttering in a cage’) the anxiety had another effect. I lost my voice. I lost the confidence to express my opinion on events to all but those closest to me. I struggled to finish sentences and, in my work, would physically clam up in front of clients. This somatic response added to the underlying fear of the future. #confidence
What a pickle I was in!
Fundamentally, I was struggling to create clear meaning. This arrangement of words is designed to create some meaning around the anxiety as I experienced it. But more, in sharing it with those I know, indirectly as it were, I’ve decided that the only way to find my voice again is to use it.
I am a flawed but nonetheless intelligent and sensitive man. I’m grateful to you for reading this, and for listening to my voice.