Jen Kirkman is a comedian, author, actor, TV writer, and podcaster that has lived through anxiety and panic for large portions of her life. I was fortunate enough to have Jen on the podcast this week to talk about her path into anxiety and panic, then out the other side. I’m sure her story will sound familiar to most listeners.
While talking with Jen (I was on her podcast last week), I realized that we had lived very different experiences emotionally and mentally, yet both wound up in the same place with regard to anxiety and panic issues. Panic attacks. Irrational fears. Driving anxiety. Life restrictions. Jen and I lived a similar experience with anxiety even when our emotional and thinking styles could not be more different.
I spent some time exploring this with Jen.
She was very tied to her emotions and thoughts, and almost found her identity as a deep thinker that was in touch with her feelings.
I was exactly the opposite, rarely giving my thoughts or emotions a second thought. Regardless, we arrived at the same point in the anxiety universe, which tells us something about the mechanics of the process.
Hearing Jen come to the conclusion that she had almost “set the table” for disordered anxiety by following every thought and emotion she had was of particular interest. The idea that she could recover by NOT following every thought and feeling seemed completely bizarre to her because that notion was completely outside her experience.
In comparison, the idea that I wound up in a place where I started following my thoughts and emotions was completely foreign to me and presented a particular challenge.
Two paths … same destination.
We ended the conversation by revisiting Jen’s pervasive fear that gravity would stop working for her when she experienced high anxiety and panic. The fear of literally floating away is a great illustration of how creative a frightened mind can get. In all my time interacting with thousands of people in this community, Jen is only the second person I’ve found with this gravity fear.
I really appreciate her willingness to share that so openly because the moral of that story is that no matter how “strange” you think your specific fear might be … you’re likely not the only one that has it. You are not alone, nor are you especially broken or unique!
Thanks so much to Jen for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to us this week. I’m looking forward to having her on the podcast again when time allows.
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