Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Anxiety

September 15th, 2008 · No Comments · Psychology and Suburban Life

Anxiety is a very common part of the experience of many, many people, and for many people it can be intense enough to really interfere with living life.   Anxiety apple vibrant jung thing blog However, it can be hard to understand just what anxiety really is, although many know its debilitating effects.

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There is often difficulty in "laying your hands" on anxiety, because in one way it is such an elusive feeling state, and yet, in another, it can be so paralyzing.

Sometimes, anxiety can be associated with particular experiences, as in agoraphobia, where someone feels that he or she cannot be in public settings, because the anxiety becomes so intense that the person is afraid of passing out or becoming ill.  Sometimes anxiety is just constantly with a person.

If we had no anxiety at all, life would not be very good, and we might not even survive.  That's because, in many situations our anxiety may draw us into our lives.  So really we need anxiety. 

However, we need the right amount of anxiety.  When we become too anxious, it can have the opposite effect, and can actively stop us from being drawn into life.  It can definitely keep us on the sidelines of our own lives, on the outside looking in — however you wish to put it, overly intense anxiety can be all consuming and debilitating. 

Jung wrote that anxiety is a manifestation of our psychic energy.  When our energy is dammed or blocked, or when we have no adequate place to put it, we can experience anxiety.

However, one of the positive aspects of even severely debilitating anxiety is that it can draw a person's attention to an area of his or her life that just has to change.  So, whenever, you or I are confronted with our anxiety, we are confronted with a choice.  We can either decide to look at the area of anxiety in our lives, and seek to know how it is that it is coming about, i.e., "what is going on with us", or, we can decide to simply not look at it, to live with it, no matter how painful or paralyzing the anxiety may be.

From a Jungian point of view, anxiety may be seen as an avoidance of becoming conscious of suffering.  And, understandably, no one wants to suffer.  However, often it is only as we really begin to understand where the pain in our lives comes from that we can embrace our lives, and move beyond the pain into being ourselves.

This can be much easier said than done.  Becoming more conscious of ourselves can be difficult, hard, painful work.  But the sense of the unity and wholeness of ourselves is something for which we yearn, just as much as we yearn to plunge into the fullness of our lives.  The decision to explore the roots of anxiety, and to free ourselves from those places in out lives where it can cripple us, is a movement towards individuation, to becoming the person that we really, most fundamentally are.