My anxiety has me on edge all the time and let me tell you, it is fucking exhausting. You see, anxiety causes my fight or flight response to kick, a common issue people with anxiety face. The problem is your body isn’t meant to exist in that state for prolonged periods of time. And this is why it is important to lower our defenses from time to time.
And some people might say that anxiety is just a bit of worry. And to those people I say, fuck you. Anxiety disorders can be a debilitating condition that requires constant management. Beyond that, there are real, physical side effects to such a heightened state of anxiety. Such side effects can include muscle aches, headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heart attack, and so much more. So yes, for the sake of your head, your heart, and the rest of your body, it is important to lower our defenses from time to time.
Beyond that, it is important to lower our defenses from time to time because the fact of the matter is that we are a social species. We literally need other people close to us in order to thrive. I’m not saying you let everyone in, but if you never lower your defenses long enough to let the important people in, then you will just be stuck with you and your demons, which isn’t fun for anyone.
For me, this goes even further. Once I do let certain people in, once I lower my defenses long enough to form real, genuine relationships, I am constantly afraid that these people will leave me at the first sign of trouble. Conflict is not only inevitable, it is we grow, how our relationships grow. Yet the first sign of conflict and my first thought is to raise the defenses again, waiting for the heartache I inexplicably and irrationally expect. It is important to lower our defenses, but it is also important, for me at least, to recognize that sometimes it is okay to leave those defenses down.
Because at the end of the day those defenses are so often merely protecting the demons of my anxiety. And why on Earth would I want to defend them.