I learned something about anxiety yesterday. It seems like a duh, and not terribly new but it got through to me in a way nothing had before. Here is what I heard:
“Anxiety is an overestimation of possible danger and an underestimation of your resources to cope with it.”
Of course, right? I have some kind of trigger: an interaction, a piece of mail, could even be a look on someone’s face. Then my little brain goes to work and starts telling me: “This is bad, this is gonna be trouble sister, big trouble.” And my not so helpful internal response is: “Dam right and you are too small, uninformed, not smart enough; we’re gonna drown!”
This idea about anxiety being an overestimation of possible danger and an underestimation of personal resources comes from cognitive behavioral theory. So, yes, it makes sense then that you have to do some reality testing on the danger and some fast reminders to self on the “I do have resources part”.
But here’s what hit me: In our 12-step world this is about Step Two and Three as well.
If I believe in a God that loves me am I in real danger? And do I have the necessary resources? Maybe yes, maybe no, if I’m just relying on me. But if I believe in a Higher Power I can change the question to ask: Does He/She have the resources to help me?