“People aren’t broken; they’re just stuck.”
This short quote has real insight. It may cause you a little discomfort because it doesn’t appear to make sense; however, this way of approaching anxiety problems is at the heart of real change.
For centuries, mental health has been approached as a problem to find and fix; to get rid of some broken bit, to reduce or get rid of the symptoms. Is this approach working? Well, to a certain extent, yes. However, if anxiety has been an issue for you for more than a few years, you’ve probably tried lots of ways to fix yourself, and yet here you are reading yet another document on how to get rid of anxiety. So, you might agree that it’s fair to say this approach of trying to find and fix the problem isn’t working well.
Here’s just one simple example of how this thinking process can add to your problems. It’s very common for my clients or delegates on courses to say they have been thinking along the lines of, “Why do I have this problem?” Or, “What can I do to get rid of this problem?” They just keep getting caught in loops of thinking that never stop, forever digging themselves onto deeper mental holes, trying to find something that is not there. Their anxious mind is not broken – they are just stuck in a particular pattern of thoughts. This can lead to desperation and despondency, neither of which help to improve the situation.
If people were broken, then all this scientific effort would show where they are broken, yet there is no physical evidence to show where any such ‘break’ is in a brain. Two brain scans can look alike, and yet one person has anxiety and the other doesn’t. Two people can have the same brain chemistry, the same levels of neurotransmitters, yet one has anxiety where the other doesn’t. A person might even have what are regarded as abnormal readings in their brain and yet have no problems.
The controversial truth is simply that people aren’t broken. This very way of thinking about anxiety is part of the problem that keeps people stuck.