I thought we were done having these conversations?
I need them.
I am messed up.
Ok. Why do you think you are messed up?
My mind will not stop racing. Kept me up all last night. It is not supposed to happen like this. I meditate and teach mindfulness. But still my mind (or brain) worries me all the time.
I see. What are you worried about?
Everything! What am I not worried about would be a better question.
Fair enough. Why were you up in the middle of the night last night?
Worrying about work. Worrying about money. Worrying that I have done something wrong and people will not like me. All the same old stupid shit. Because my psychotherapy business does not feel very stable right now, I worry about losing a lot of business and then not having very much money. I worry about people not liking me and as a result no longer wanting to work with me. I think I have felt a lot of rejection from people lately. I try to pretend that it does not bother me but I guess it does. My feeling of self-worth is way down.
That is just your ego being effected.
I know. I know. I try and just keep myself present and let all of this stuff go. “Just let it go. Be present. Breathe. Everything is fine right now,” I tell myself but my mind swirls with worry and feelings of rejection. I am feeling more insecure in the work I do. Feeling like people are judging me and not liking the quality of work I do. I hate feeling like this! Why should I care! Fuck what other people think.
Maybe because you are worried about the money and the status that comes with being good at what you do.
I am worried about losing social status? I never thought that would bother me. Maybe that is a part of it. But I just don’t like feeling rejected. When a client does not want to work with me. When people stop wanting to see me. When the groups that I lead are less filled with people- I feel like I am messing up. Like I am doing something wrong and it is all going to come crashing down at any moment.
You feel like something bad is going to happen?
I have had this sense of doom in my gut for a few weeks now. Doom with regards to my business. Like something bad is going to happen because I have been irresponsible or am not doing my job well enough. I’ve had this feeling like some kind of collapse is on the horizon. Like I am going to get in some kind of trouble.
Why do you feel this way?
I really don’t know. It doesn’t make sense because everything is ok. I received a text on Sunday from a client asking for my email address so she could write to me about something. I became suddenly nauseous and tormented with anxiety. I felt like she was going to tell me that I had done something wrong and no longer wanted to work with me. I was plagued with impending doom and anxiety for hours and then I received her email and she was writing to tell me how much I saved her life.
I know. I really do not understand what is going on here. Maybe I have become too successful in a sense. Maybe things were going too well and now I am terrified of it all falling apart. Losing what little I have. I don’t know what it is. But I do feel much less secure in myself. I feel like the ground can fall out under me at any moment.
That is rough. Yes, you probably do worry about losing what you have. I think that is an anxiety that is always present, just beneath the surface, in most middle-class people who have a home and things that they like. It is a middle-class ailment. A result or symptom of the fact that the middle-class is gradually disappearing.
Hmm. So you are saying that the worry and anxiety that I feel is what a lot of middle-class people in American are feeling right now?
Yes. Because the middle-class is losing the security that they once enjoyed. It is a lifestyle that is disappearing and the anxiety that you feel is a fundamental symptom of this process. The anxiety that you feel lets you know that you are that middle class person who is fighting to maintain the lifestyle that you have. And you feel like it is slipping away from you. You did not feel this way when you were poor?
No. Never. Funny. I never even thought of myself as middle-class.
Well, now you know. Welcome to what it feels like to be middle-class in America.
And then there is the issue of my health.
Your health is certainly going to be effected by all of this.
Yes. I always worry about this.
You have always worried about your health.
I know. But now I am more worried because I am older and have more to worry about now. I try not to worry about it but I have this feeling like I am not taking as good of care of myself as I should. A part of me feels like my health is fine but then there is this other part of me that is worried. I have just not felt in optimal health. Something feels like it is there and I know how most diseases come and go away, come and then go away. Come back stronger and then go away again until it finally makes you really sick. I see and hear about people becoming sick and dying all around me. Cancer has infected so many people that I know. I am just concerned. At the age of 45 I no longer feel like I am in safe waters.
Cancer is an epidemic right now. Especially with the middle-class who are feeling so much tension and worry. Cancer seems to be a fundamental part of this middle-class ailment we are speaking of.
That is a frightening thought. Cancer is a result or outgrowth of the worry and stress that middle-class people are living with right now? It is the disease that is caused by the gradual disappearing act of middle-class security?
Absolutely. All this worry and stress with regards to losing your security, losing the things that you love, losing your social status can cause cancer.
That is a huge statement!
I know. Maybe go to a doctor and get a physical?
Yes. I probably should. I just don’t want the doctor to tell me I have something and then be stuck in the system for the rest of my life. I want to try and improve my health now and see if I can get whatever is in me under control.
We all have some kind of disease in us.
I know. But it just starts to manifest more in middle-age.
And once you become middle-class.
I know. It is important that you get your mind under control. All of this worry and feeling like something bad is going to happen is not good for your body. You need to really try and calm things down upstairs.
I would like to but it is like my mind continually is running off without my permission.
Well then just keep bringing your mind back to your breath. Just breathe and come back to being present. In the present moment you are all right. In the present moment the security that you need is there.
Worry is all about some made up future in your head. You just need to keep your focus in the present moment. When your mind runs off and starts thinking about all the things that can go wrong in the future, refocus on your breathing. Come back to the present moment.
Yes. I would like to do this. This middle-class ailment is really a problem. And no one is talking about it!
Yes. Well, that was helpful. I needed to get that stuff off my chest. Thanks for listening and talking.
Sure. Glad it helped.
It did. I
Good talking with you again.