November 14, 2018
Having a child with anxiety causes a lot of anxiety for the parent. It is such a nebulous thing that seems to strike for no reason and respond to very little. There are many strategies for managing it in the mindfulness community, but who has several hours a day to meditate and do yoga or work on the apps to control thinking patterns? These strategies do work, but at a time cost that most of us cannot pay.
From a medical point of view, anxiety is a disorder that occurs when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of distress, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger. The feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, and are out of proportion to the actual danger. They often linger long after the trigger has passed. Identifying the reason behind an episode of anxiety can be the key to successful treatment, from the medical perspective. They look at triggers in the environment, such as school or relationships. They explore genetics and medical factors such as side-effects to medications, brain chemistry, and use of substances. However, sometimes anxiety can strike for no apparent reason. Psychotropic drugs are the only treatment offered, often with little success.
From a holistic perspective, anxiety is a symptom of a deeper, more complex issue. There are usually multiple components in dealing with it. Given that the Thinking Moms’ Revolution is all about clean eating and living, I am going to make the assumption that the issues of diet, junk food, wheat, and sugar have already been addressed. If they haven’t, back up a step and clean up diet and exposure to toxins as a background on which everything else is done.
Let’s start with the more obvious and easy to address components:
1. Vitamin B 3/6/9/12 Combos and Iron
It is a well known fact that low vitamin B levels and low iron can trigger low serotonin levels in the brain which are often associated with depression and anxiety. The difficulty lies in determining whether these low levels cause the anxiety or are a result of it? Many people take the supplements with little change. From a holistic point of view, that means that the absorption and metabolism of the supplements is lacking, or the brain’s pathway to send the serotonin where it needs to go is blocked. Using meridian-based therapies, successful correction of the ability to absorb and use vitamins and minerals in general can be improved and bring rapid change.
Many people find significant results with magnesium. Generally dermal (skin) absorption has better results than oral magnesium. It can often be part of the puzzle, especially for those that wake up anxious.
3. Medical Cannabis/CBD oils
This is a topic for another blog but should be considered in some cases. Success is seen when the right strain, the balance between the different cannabinoids, and the time of day as well as the form it is used can all be personalized to the client. It can be a balancing act to get it right but can yield excellent results for some people. Of course, a legal medical cannabis license is required.
Not just any kind of exercise, particularly what is referred to as mindful walking. This is going for a walk in a quiet, preferably green/natural area, and paying attention to how your body walks. Feel the movement of the legs and arms. Notice how your feet curl and stretch: how the muscles, bones, tendons, and nerves all work together. Pay attention to where your head is and how it balances on your shoulders. Think about how the hips move and feel the sway in the body. Observe the breath. What parts of the chest move as you breathe? It is all about reconnecting the brain to the physical activity of the extremities and core. It teaches the body to feel what relaxed and normal feels like. It specifically begins to rebuild the pathways of efficient body-mind feeling that are not over-excited. It builds new neural pathways that don’t have the anxiety pattern overriding them. (Check out http://www.normandoidge.com/ for the science behind why this is helpful. It was developed for Alzheimer’s patients, but it has proven applications for the ASD community as well.)
Even for young children you can walk them through it and talk to them about feeling their body. It can often be the first step to the next aspect, which is the core of anxiety for many people.
5. Spiritual Aspects
Now we are getting into the deeper causes. Anxiety is really about feeling unsafe in the body in the circumstances one finds oneself in. When the soul doesn’t know how to deal with or accept what is happening to the body, the disconnect opens and anxiety is the result, because now the brain is in charge without the heart-wisdom to tell it how to make decisions.
In our modern world it is easy to get the structure backwards. The proper way to function is that the soul (your eternal part that is always connected to God/Source) chooses the values, priorities, and purpose for your life, both on an overall basis and a more day-to-day basis. The heart then decides how that plan is going to play out and chooses the beliefs and activities that will achieve it. The mind is the CEO that executes the plan that has been set by the governing board of the heart and soul. The mind is very good at giving orders and getting things done when it knows what it is supposed to be doing. The problem is that often there is a disconnect between the heart and the mind. The mind then goes off in circles and sets off alarms all over the place without having a plan. It doesn’t know what it is supposed to be doing, so everything seems threatening and it reacts accordingly.
Often early traumas are the setpoint for the divide. The trauma can be vaccine-induced encephalopathy, heavy metals in the brain, pesticide concentrations causing short circuits, side effects from medications, as well as emotional traumas. These traumas that are inflicted from the outside often create a dilemma for the soul that the heart doesn’t have the resources to deal with. The brain then spirals down into anxiety as it is not getting the direction it needs. The soul feels it is not safe to be in the body, so the mind tries everything it can think of to escape from being in the present moment.
The key to resolving anxiety lies in sorting out what traumas, fears, and experiences have created the disconnect and healing them. As the three parts begin to work together and the flow creates behaviour based on purpose, then the brain can shut down the panic and anxiety. Learning to understand what it means to stay in the body in the present and allow oneself to feel the feeling and face the fear is what ultimately wins the battle. The previous traumatic experiences programmed the body to consider any unknown to be dangerous, to avoid fear in any form, and create chaos as the means of escape from the present. It is a totally non-functional learned response, but learned it was. And it’s what gets repeated—until we get some help reprogramming the responses, releasing the trapped fears, and building a way to stay present and face the fear and let it move on.
Of course, the damage to the brain that was caused by continuous rerunning of the maladaptive neural pathways will have to be corrected. The digesting and detox damage done by the overwhelming adrenaline-loaded fight-or-flight will need to be reset. The bad habits will need to be reformed. The originating traumas will have to be addressed in ways that do not re-traumatize the heart. Where the originating traumas were chemical, the detox pathways will have to be cleared and many body functions and systems may have to have damage repaired.
In the end, anxiety dissipates when the soul and the body feel safe in the present and have a plan and a process for dealing with the adversities and stresses of life.
I have found that for many kids, and their parents, small group sessions using Natural BioEnergetics meridian-based therapy can be very effective while still being economical. Private sessions can go deeper more quickly. For some, the drip feed of a radionics program is the best approach. I offer a 30-minute free assessment to determine if your situation is a good fit for one of these therapies and how we may work together for the benefit of the child. I will be happy to answer questions in the comments and share more options there too. Looking forward to the conversation.
~ Linda Easthouse