Life Coaching Chose Me
Let’s talk about anxiety and mental health in the corporate world.
Statistically speaking, 18.1% of the adult population in the United States experiences anxiety.
I doubt that I am counted in that statistic. I have not been officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but I can tell you without a doubt that I experience anxiety. At times my anxiety has been downright crippling.
If you had asked me a few years ago if I experienced anxiety, I would’ve told you no. Or at a minimum I would’ve said “no more than anyone else does.” I had no idea how wrong I was, and how significantly I was suffering and how much I was allowing it to impact my life. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroid and also adrenal fatigue. I chalked up all of my symptoms to those diagnoses, and never considered that what I was experiencing was actually anxiety. One begets the other...
I’ve spent the last few years digging myself out of that suffering.
The first step was admitting that I was in pain. In hindsight, it’s surprising how hard it was to recognize. It’s similar to someone who has chronic physical pain. I didn’t realize that I was in pain until my anxiety started to abate.
Through leaving an unhappy marriage, changing my focus in my career, and working through my own childhood and adult trauma, I’m slowly regaining my mental and physical health.
Have you heard of the ACE’s study? It’s a study that sort of accidentally stumbled upon some data that tells us that people who have experienced certain childhood events are more likely to encounter unfavorable health outcomes later in life.
Here’s where stuff gets even more interesting (to me). If you had asked me if I was sexually abused, I would’ve said no. If you had asked me if I was emotionally abused, I would’ve said no. My childhood was just normal to me. How would I know any different? It’s the home I grew up in.
Except it wasn’t “normal”.
My parents got into violent physical fights when I was very young.
I was sexually abused. I was sexually harassed by classmates. I was bullied.
I was verbally abused, and basically raised myself from the time I was about 13 years old.
I don’t blame my parents for this. “Hurt people hurt people”. And until we start healing the pain in all of us, we’ll continue to perpetuate a society of hurt people who hurt people.
I’m not telling you this to have you feel pity for me. I’m telling you this because - how many of us are walking around like “it’s fine”, except we have a fire raging inside of us that we don’t even recognize?
We could feel so much more at ease if we didn’t minimize our own trauma. 100% of us has experienced trauma. That’s just true. And most of us minimize and stuff it away and hope it doesn’t show through our nicely placed masks of functioning, doing and achieving.
That’s what I did. I functioned. I achieved. I worked. I got things done. I worked my way up. I analyzed and learned and pushed. Meanwhile, I wondered why I felt so lonely and dissatisfied. I kept seeking something “MORE”. A different job, different friends, a new project. I immersed myself in solving the problem of my health issues - I did that one FOR YEARS AND YEARS. I have a file with medical records in it from holistic practitioners and chiropractors, and traditional doctors and specialists that is two inches thick. I’ve tried every diet in the book. Raw milk, gluten free, vegetarian, no sugar, Keto, Paleo, intermittent fasting, high protein, high carb. My symptoms never abated.
Until now. A year and a half ago, I stopped taking my thyroid medication. And I started healing emotionally. I continue to work through the emotions of a decent backlog of childhood trauma and continue to recover my health, piece by piece.
I see now that unprocessed trauma and emotions were leaving me longing for connection, and keeping me ‘stuck’ in a pattern of less than ideal parenting and partnering. It was also impacting me physically. It was draining my energy.
I started my coaching practice by immersing myself in my own healing. This has taught me so so so much about creating safety for anyone struggling with pervasive thoughts, anxiety, and the physical symptoms associated with anxiety.
I see anxiety like coffee in a cup. That cup is filled to the top with fear about the future. Or it’s filled with pain from the past. As you walk around living life, some of it is going to spill out onto the people around you. A drip here, a drip there. Oh, ouch that drip was scalding hot and hurt someone. Sorry - I didn’t mean to hurt you… Oh, hey my cup just overfilled with some stress and extra things. I’ve run out of capacity in this cup. I need to let some extra spill out in order to function. Time to take a mental health day. Or three. Or perhaps I need to check myself in for some extra psychiatric care because I’m scaring myself. Or maybe I choose a much less constructive route and a night cap turns into a bottle of wine or a 6 pack every night. Or maybe I choose something even more destructive…
We do not have to keep going like this! We are not required to live at capacity with anxiety and stress. We can create some room in our cups by working through our limiting beliefs. We can create room in our cups by becoming aware that our thoughts and the filters through which we experience life are “not us”. Those things do not define who we are.
What are limiting beliefs? They are beliefs that we created about ourselves as children, usually before we were 7 years old. They are often events that are highly emotional experiences that occur at an age before we are intellectually capable of processing them. And too often, we as children were told “You’re fine, it’s fine, stop crying. Dry up those tears.”
My coaching practice is not ‘rah rah’ coaching. It’s not “Big Achievement” coaching. The work that my clients do in the context that I create is deeply personal work that can be life-changing. And that life change is about ‘being at ease’ with what is. Seeing our thoughts about ‘what is’ and ensuring that those thoughts aren’t creating suffering for ourselves or others. Sure, sometimes we’re working through some smaller stuff - like why we procrastinate or why we can’t seem to stop feeling frustrated by this one person. But often, we’re working with some pretty core things.
And on the other side is freedom. Connection. Being at ease. Living consciously.
Once we feel the unprocessed feelings all the way through and out and bear witness to the inner child who had the experience, the feelings of anxiety often abate. Some people have a complex web of experiences that we have to work through from both childhood and adulthood. I know this from first-hand experience. Relief is possible. Finding ourselves is possible. We can break the cycle. Intentionally.
People sometimes tell me that this sounds more like therapy than life coaching. I’m not looking to diagnose anyone. I see people as self reliant, and every one has their own answers within. The work we can do together can help you find the answers yourself. The work we do together creates an environment that invites transparency for you into ‘what happened’ that brought you to where you are. We can then help you create an intention to move beyond where you are now.
To live a life of presence and awareness and truth and connection.
If you want to talk more about the healing work that I do, send me a message and we’ll set up some time to chat!