Many people do not know that there is a link between anxiety and emotional immaturity. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anxiety as, “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it”.
It is this lack of confidence in one’s ability to cope with what they believe to be a threat is what links anxiety with emotional immaturity. When people are emotionally mature, they still experience anxiety. However, they have confidence in themselves and their ability to cope with anxiety. They realize that they have the knowledge, and possess the right techniques to overcome the situation that evokes fear and anxiety in them.
I can still clearly remember the first time I experienced anxiety. It was due to the fear I was experiencing as a six-year-old growing up in Poland, and with scoliosis. My mother was aware of the importance of making me go for swimming lessons – it would help strengthen my back. However, in Poland, which was controlled by the communist regime, pools were few and far between, and a person needed to have the right connections to get access to the few pools in the country. My mother managed to not only get access to a pool but also arranged for swimming lessons for me. I knew this was a privilege that she had to work hard to get, and it was just for me.
I could dog-paddle at that age, and hence, I was excited about my first swimming lesson. The swim coach was the rough and stereotypical Eastern European, who did not believe in mollycoddling or encouraging his pupils. However, I was unaware of this attitude at that time, and did not think twice when my mother asked me to swim the length of the pool so that she could see me swim.
I merrily started dog-paddling in the water with a lot of confidence when I heard a man yelling, “Who let this child who cannot swim into my pool?” On hearing this shout, I froze with fear. My mother immediately asked me to get out of the pool and walk the entire length to the other side so that I could join the group of children, who did not know how to swim. It was the longest walk of my life as the swimming pool was an Olympic size pool. For me, the long walk was a walk of shame. I felt humiliated and embarrassed. After all, no one had asked me to swim in a particular style. My mother told me just to swim. If I had known another stroke, I would have attempted it, but I did not.
It was on that fateful day that I got emotionally mired, and it was due to fear and humiliation. My response to this episode was to build a protective shell around me.
The following week, the night before my next swimming lesson, I experienced my first bout of anxiety. I was unable to sleep, and could not stop thinking about the swimming class the following day. I could not forget what had happened the previous week, and immediately I began to experience the physical symptoms of anxiety. My heart started racing, I got physically agitated, and my palms were clammy and sweaty. I would like to point out that this experience would not have got me emotionally stuck if I had the gumption to share it with someone. However, I did not; and hence, there was no one who came to my rescue to allay my fears. While my mother made it a point to be present for my swimming lessons, she was intimidated by the coach just like all the other parents. Above all, my mother did not want to stir up things lest we lost the privilege she had worked so hard to get. I just kept mum; I was an empath and that meant I did not want to hurt my mother’s feelings by letting her know that I was afraid and did not want to go for the swimming lessons. Instead, I bottled up everything inside, and went each week like an obedient girl for the swimming classes, always wearing my protective shield, but still experiencing anxiety.
It was only when I embarked on my own journey of Amate Growth Work with Dr. Martha that I figured out that by not speaking out, I got stuck in emotional immaturity, and as a result, my anxiety began. By healing my inner self, and ensuring I get the support I required, I managed to break the protective shield around me, and metamorphosed to emotional maturity. I returned to the little girl trapped inside me, and made her feel loved, protected, safe, and secure.
Today, I may still experience anxiety at times, but I am equipped to support myself, and to ensure the anxiety does not get the better of me. I have the right tools at my disposal to handle myself in any situation that comes my way. Nothing can stop me from doing and achieving things that I am meant to do and accomplish.
If you are suffering from anxiety issues, and looking for an experienced psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, your search ends here! Dr. Eva A. Malanowski has several years of experience in treating clients of all age groups with great success. Call her today at 303-242-7824 to schedule an appointment.