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Growing up with Anxiety

Ingrid Langenbruch on the right

As a little child I already had anxiety in my body and it was part of my daily life.

After the war in Germany my parents put me in and out of an orphanage several times till the age of maybe eight or nine. The shortest periods were for a month, the longest for over a year.

During the periods of time I was in the orphanage I never knew when I would be picked up again to go back and live with my sisters and family. And when I was at home I never knew how long it would last.

When I was permanently at home from 8 or 9 onwards and well into my teenage years, the threat of putting me into boarding school was often used to keep me in line, to be a ‘good girl’. I don’t remember much of my childhood so I don’t know how I reacted or responded whenever they dropped me off in the orphanage. Was I looking forward to playing with all the children there? I doubt it because it always felt like a nightmare being there and I carried anxiety and fear of children way into adulthood. Was I happy to be picked up to go home? Or was I sulking and being mistrustful? I don’t know. What I realised over the years of adulthood was that in certain situations I would outright panic. For example, going shopping with a girlfriend in the city, we would be interested in different shops and agree to meet at a certain place at a certain time. When she was not there at the agreed meeting place on the dot I would get nervous one minute after the arranged time, after two minutes I was very nervous and after five minutes I panicked running up and down the street looking for her. Or I would arrive by train at the train station to be met by someone. Before the train even stopped I had this feeling in my body, being anxious that the person would not be there to pick me up, panic creeping in when I couldn’t see them after stepping out of the train. I carried this anxiety all through my life and only in later years could I realise what was happening, where this anxiety originated when it came up in certain situations. I could connect it with the events of my childhood and that they really had nothing to do with the present situation. Now the feeling might still come up mildly in my body but as soon as I become aware of it I can understand and let it go. I have started to remember more from when I was about 10 years old and I was staying permanently at home with my parents and two older sisters.

As a teenager I remember a ‘giving up’ energy, depression and the occasional suicidal thought. I started drinking and smoking at 14 years old and hard drugs at 18 and hence I did not feel much anymore. I just numbed the intensity of my feelings of anxiety, lack of confidence and lack of self-worth, a deep feeling of being useless and being outright wrong. I still had anxiety attacks when someone did not show up at the agreed time but otherwise I was out there, outspoken, talking and ‘connecting’ with anyone, as long as I had had a few drinks. Alcohol and uppers (speed pills or cocaine) made that easy and were my favourite drugs because of that. That all changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had to have a good look at my life and how I was living. Meeting and having healing sessions with Serge Benhayon, and going to his presentations about energy and feeling energy, and studying the Way of the Livingness now for several years, has changed my life. I am now no longer a victim, I take responsibility, I am loving and nurturing to myself and I am more confident and have no need for alcohol or drugs. I haven’t had a drink or any drugs for a few years now and I feel better with and within myself and in my body, better than when I was younger. I no longer put food or drinks into my body anymore that do not feel right for it. That all makes a huge difference. My relationship with children has also changed beautifully over the last years. When before I would stay away from kids and just be uncomfortable or scared of them, I now choose to connect with them, talk with them and help friends to look after their children. And I realise I actually can do it and am good at it too. They can feel my stillness, my love and clarity and openness to connect with them as equals, but I also set boundaries when needed. Finally, I now listen to my body. I allow myself to feel when I need a rest and to be aware of how my body feels after I eat and drink certain foods, including how it feels the day after. I have healed many old hurts from my childhood and am now a confident, joy-full woman of 64 years, loving myself and humanity.

This article was first published on the Joy of Ageing website.

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