Words of Hope From an Anxiety Veteran to Travelers in This Pandemically Prompted Forest of Fear

Dawn Bevier

I have lived a lifetime with worry and panic, so it’s my duty to help you understand your feelings and make it through this difficult time

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Welcome poor friend. I am your wilderness guide through this shadowy new land of anxiety in which you’ve unexpectedly found your way.

It seems our poor world is in the midst of great danger, and you have become victim to the immortal gods of fear and panic in the midst of this chaos.

However, there is a large band of veteran soldiers who have been fighting for most of our lives to keep these cruel masters at bay, and I for one will gladly take you into my fold if your find yourself newly enslaved by fear and panic.

Likely, you feel manipulated by the terrifying specter of COVID-19, who led you into this gloomy realm. It bound you to a new world of terror and trepidation, and you feel you will never escape.

This world is one in which I have grown up because I suffer from anxiety disorder, and it can be destructive and terrifying. But I have learned to survive, even though I still at times get lost in its prisons.

So, let me help you. Let me share my wisdom. Let me remind you there is hope and perhaps even a way out of this empire built of dread and delusion.

The transformation you must expect in the forest of fear

But before we look at avenues of escape, you must understand that there is a transformation that occurs here, a metamorphosis of body and psyche. And not a pretty one at that. No ugly cocoon from which will spring forth a butterfly. Just the opposite as a matter of fact.

You may have headaches, feel your chest pound in panic, and find sleep has abandoned you. Your muscles, so strong and beautiful in your old life, have lost their strength, knotted into impotency by the terror that engulfs you.

Here also is a mutation of the mind, one where you anticipate disaster at every turn in this ghastly wilderness. You fear this anticipation will never leave you, even in the safest places of refuge that one is allowed here.

The advice of a sage on escaping the woodlands of worry

But there is a way out. You can gain some control over these frightful specters that hide behind each towering timber or twisted thicket of trees.

And I, as a lifetime member of this forest of fear, have learned various ways to maneuver through this territory of terror effectively.

Here are my secrets:

  • Honor your body, as ravaged as it might feel at the moment. Feed it the marvelous mixture of nutrients and necessities it needs. Refuse to give in to the tempting liquids that lull you into a false sense of safety — they only come back to haunt you, clouding your mind and keeping you from finding the true way out. And rest, my fellow traveler. Rest. Even if your body fights to stay awake, lie down and try to find calm. Though sleep continues to elude you, it is fickle. You may find out if you lie still, it will again come to your aid and befriend you.
  • Breathe slowly. Fill your belly with life-sustaining air. Hold in its magic for a moment, before you release it back into the universe.
  • Visualize. When you feel the darkness of the forest begin to drown you in its dread, find a place of peace. See it in your mind’s eye. Hold on to its sparkling sunshine, its beautiful brew of color, its magical sounds and scents, its blooming flowers and tranquil oceans. It will give you courage and inspiration to return to the land of hope and happiness.
  • Focus on the present. You are here. You are alive. Your first breath was a miracle, and so is each breath you take now. One that, I might mention, is now denied to another valiant soldier. So cherish the here and now, as dark as it may seem. Use your energy to make the most of each moment and always carry hope in your heart. Do not be lead to meditations on the future becaused it cannot be controlled. Even though you believed yourself strong enough in the pre-pandemic world to barter successfully with the Fates, the truth is you were and are always, always at their mercy. So be aware of the dangers that may lie ahead and armor yourself accordingly, but after this is done, focus on the sunshine in the distance and let the stars lead you out of the forest and back to your true home — one filled with love, laughter, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I wish you success new warrior. And a return to a world filled with excitement and ecstasy, not anguish and anxiety. Keep fighting the good fight and you will find your way back. I am encouraged that in a few short months, we all will.

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Sanford, NC
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