Many of my clients are ‘superwomen’, or at least they appear that way. They are Black, professional women who are often look put together even when they’re wearing sweats. But their insides tell a different story. Inside they’re churning with anxiety. Their mind is constantly racing, planning, and thinking; it’s never still or quiet. Their stomach is uneasy and rarely settled. They routinely walk through the world holding their breath, and they don’t even know it.
These women don’t fit the image of an anxious woman. They are NOT frazzled, undone, or unfocused. On the contrary, they seem to have it all and be pulled together. The difference between the frazzled, anxious woman and the quietly anxious woman is the ability to contain the anxiety and hold it within themselves. But the anxiety is still very strong, very present, and it interferes with their lives. They are quietly anxious.
I know these women’s struggles so well because they used to be mine. I used to be a ball of walking anxiety. I did not know what calm felt like. I didn’t know what it was like to “be in the moment” rather than thinking 3 steps ahead, and I certainly didn’t know that I was holding my breath all of the time.
Changing my anxiety and my relationship to my anxiety has been a fruitful process for me. It has helped me to become more aware of my needs, allowed me to be more focused in my relationships, and helped me to feel more secure in myself. When I began the process of changing my anxiety I had no idea that the benefits would be so far-reaching. I just knew that I wanted my stomach to stop aching with worry. The ball of anxiety left my stomach and a quiet calmness replaced it.
Are you quietly anxious? What do you want to replace the anxiety with?