While training as a psychotherapist a colleague shared with me that whenever she had to write an assignment she used to stick a photo of her as a child on the frame of her computer screen. Whenever she got stuck or started to feel anxious as to the task she faced she would look at the photo and say – ‘don’t worry darling, I’m the grown up now, I’ve got this’.
The idea is a powerful one and I have reflected on it many times when working with clients through anxiety.
Often we feel the effects of anxiety without knowing what it’s about.
A tight chest, an inability to get quite enough breath in, an upset stomach and all manner of physical symptoms that then stop us ‘getting on’ with all that we need to ‘get on’ with – and compound the problem.
Within all of us is still lives the child we were born as – reliant on adults for our existence. She will pick up on threat whether rational or irrational and feel instinctive fear until she feels safe again. If we ignore her she will tug even harder at our apron string.
So when anxiety strikes take time to stop and soothe and remind that, at times beautifully playful and at times fragile and vulnerable, part of ourselves that as an Adult we can keep ourselves safe. We have choices, we can ask for support and we will not be abandoned – we have the ability now to take care of each part of ourselves – and it will be okay.
Once the Child feels safe again she will return to her creative self, enjoying a new game and continuing her exploration of all the world has to offer.
As the Adult you can then ‘get on with all you need to get on with’ aided and inspired by the one happy again in the playroom.