episode 103

Anxiety Trauma



When you've experience anxiety unexpectedly or alarmingly in the past, you can have a trauma response in the present

with memories of what the anxiety was before. Often we're unaware of how our thoughts create anxiety, so it feels threatening & out of control in our body. Listen today as I share 10 ways you can tell if you have anxiety trauma coming up postpartum (with a fight, flight, or freeze trauma response). To work with me, book a consult below!
Show Notes

Hello everybody, welcome back to the podcast. This week, I have been cleaning out and organizing my clothes in my closet. As you guys know, I told you here on the podcast earlier; if you missed it now, you know, we are moving to Costa Rica this summer, Costa Rica, Costa Rica. We’re moving there this summer; I’m so pumped.

It also feels like I’m just putting on a glove or a shoe, it kind of just feels like it’s always been woven into the fabric of my life, and we just happened to have gotten to this part of the journey. So we’re moving to Costa Rica; I’ve been going through my closet. By the way, if you ever want help redesigning your wardrobe, styling your family for a photo.

I have a friend who is so good at styling and anything to do with clothing, fashion, and style. And really, it’s a lot less; I mean, when I hear the words fashion and style, I think about magazines, and I don’t know stuff like that. But her name’s Tiffany Cook, she’s on Instagram at Tiffany T-I-F-F-A-N-Y Cook style, Tiffany Cook style. 

So Tiffany Cook style, go check her out, she’s a personal stylist. She’s helped my mom kind of clean out some of her clothes over the years and get a fresh kind of like hone in on what she loves. I can’t tell you the difference energetically when you only have clothes in your closet that you love, you don’t keep them just because you were given them, you don’t keep them just because you needed them once and then you feel bad getting rid of them.

You find really good places to put the things that are nice that you don’t need anymore. I’m going to be donating my clothing to a really great cause, and I feel like so excited about it. And the energy that this whole process has given me has been awesome. So check out Tiffanycookstyle; she styled my family photos that you see on my Instagram.

And no, I’m not a partner with her or anything; I just think she does such a good job. I’m on Instagram at Lizzie Langston; by the way, if we don’t follow each other, you can see me there. So anyway, I was cleaning out this closet, and I found a pair of pants that I bought way back when to build my business and to go to networking events.

And it almost, when I came across the pants this time as I was cleaning out my closet, I’m not keeping them. And I realized that that was a huge part of my life, and I needed clothing to play the role of business builder network or lady. And now, two years plus into my business, I don’t feel like I’m trying on pants to be somebody.

I don’t feel like I’m trying to be somebody that I’m not in my business. I just am me, and I’ve created a business and a brand and a following just from being me. And I really want that for you guys. So over the next few episodes, for those of you who want to build a business from home or who have already started to become, whether it’s a coach or a consultant, something at home that you love doing, or you want to start doing that you love. I am helping women build their businesses. 

And so, over the next few weeks on this podcast, I’m going to be just doing thoughts on business. And you can listen to those as optional bonus episodes if you want. And on those episodes, I’m going to be sharing more about a mastermind that I’m running that I’m starting in the next few weeks.

Where we are going to be learning how to do business together. I’m going to teach you how I went from kind of a side hobby jobby thing of like maybe under two thousand dollars a month at the most, to ten thousand plus dollars in a month’s time over the course of a year building up to like 125,000. Through the course of 2020 in the pandemic, all organic, no Facebook ads, just being myself doing what I love from home.

So if you want to hear more about that, just be sure to check out the bonus podcast episodes. All right, today’s podcast episode is called anxiety trauma. And this really is something that happens, but a lot of people don’t even notice it. I didn’t even know it was a thing until I started helping many postpartum women.

They started dming me and sharing stories with me, or they were my clients. And as I have touched so many women who are postpartum, and I’ve heard their stories and the things they struggle with. I’ve realized that it’s not just postpartum anxiety we struggle with, it’s postpartum anxiety when we have had really bad anxiety before. Some of us grow up really anxious, and we’ve just had anxiety since we can remember. Some of us had anxiety when we had baby number one, and now we’re either getting ready to have baby number two, or we’re freshly postpartum with baby number two, and we’re nervous that it’s going to hit us.

Whatever it is, what happens when we’ve had trauma from past anxiety, is that our current anxiety becomes even scarier to us. It builds up even faster because we’re scared of it, and we panic, and we pursue ways of getting help that we might not even need, or that might not even be that helpful to us.

Simply because we feel very desperate, graspy, and scared of what could happen. We start to really want our husbands to be home all the time. So I’m going to go over some signs of how you might know that you have anxiety trauma, but chances are if I say this term and you’ve had anxiety previously, you will probably know just kind of straight off the bat.

But just in case, and even just to help you see how it’s touching your life, let me just paint the picture for you. So here’s some ways that you might know if you are having anxiety about anxiety, right? That’s essentially what’s happening. Is we get more anxiety about anxiety if we feel anxious because we’ve had anxiety in the past, and it freaked us out, and we didn’t know how to get out of it?

And by the grace of time passing or a little bit of circumstance changing or medication, we were able to kind of by the skin of our chinny chin chin, get out of it, and feel okay. But now that we’re thinking of having another baby or we’re postpartum again, or we have a stressful job, and we’re a mom, whatever the circumstance may be. Now we’re like crap, is that going to happen again?

And we’re scared to death of it happening again. And when that’s the case, some really unique things. Mind you; this can be subconscious or conscious; maybe you don’t even realize how afraid of this you are. So listen in to see if we can bring some subconscious stuff up to the top. But when this is the case, some really interesting behaviors can occur. So let’s go through some examples that I’ve seen in coaching and talking to clients, and here we go.

Okay, so I’ve mentioned a couple already, like being really needy of your husband, and I don’t say that critically, right? This is not us being ourselves, but this is something that can happen. When we’ve had scary fight-or-flight responses going off in our body without warning, and we don’t know why they’re there, that’s the scariest part about anxiety.

Now I teach my clients in my group coaching programs; I teach my clients why their anxiety is happening. I have a ten video course that my group coaching students are viewing, and it’s only growing. And I teach them why anxiety is being created, and that’s half of the battle with anxiety, is just knowing why, okay.

But when that’s been happening, and you haven’t known why it feels like it can strike at any time; it feels like you’re walking on eggshells but with your own body. Can I just give you one more example of what I mean when I say trauma? I remember I was swimming in the pool when I was little, and I got trapped underneath like a big floaty, kind of like one of those lounging things where you can lay in the water.

It was pretty big, and there might have even been a couple of them; I think there were a few people around swimming in the pool with me. But I got trapped, and I couldn’t like find where up was, I could not get to air.

And I did at the very last second, right? But I was so freaked out by that. I kind of had some trauma around swimming in the future; it messed with my decisions that I would make. I was like, oh, I don’t want to go over there when those floaties are over there, or I don’t even want to go out in the pool when I’m by myself. And I just had these kinds of strange little behaviors and fears and OCD thingies that would pop up because of this trauma in the past.

So when you have fears and OCD obsessions, or just really worries or behaviors that you kind of develop when you’ve had anxiety in the past, and you didn’t really know how to manage it well, this is what happens.

So like I said, neediness with husband, here are some other examples. It makes you not want to or be very afraid to have more babies. I notice if you had really bad postpartum anxiety last time, it might make you feel really afraid to have more babies in the future. You try to forget that time in your life.

So if you had anxiety and you didn’t know how to handle it, and you are then traumatized by it, I notice that you don’t really not you, okay. I’m just saying women in general. We don’t want to get help or go get training or learn how to manage anxiety so that we can be prepared for the next time.

We tend to want to just forget that ever happened, that’s kind of a tendency when there’s unprocessed trauma, okay. Another thing that we might do is we avoid learning tools, and I kind of just mentioned that, but you just get really hopeful and kind of desperate that medication will work.

And this is just one thing; you might be really hopeful that your husband can help you; you might be really hopeful for x, y, or z solution. You kind of tend to put all your eggs in one basket because it’s so scary for you to look back at that time and evaluate. Okay, why was that happening?

And what can I do to not have that happen in the future? And so instead, you kind of just put all your eggs in one basket and just hope and pray that this one thing will get you through. Whether that means you’re doing that before you have another baby, while you’re pregnant, or postpartum, you just kind of avoid the problem of the trauma that is unprocessed from that past experience. It affects your behavior both in the present and decisions in the future.

So, for example, maybe as you start to feel anxious, you basically have a trauma response. So anxiety, maybe somebody who hasn’t had anxiety in the past might be like, whoa, what is this? What’s happening? Whereas if you’ve had anxiety in the past and you didn’t clean that up and process it, and it was very traumatic for you, which if that’s you, I send you so much love and compassion, and we’re going to talk about other things you can do here. You might escalate really quickly.

So that’s something, a tendency, and kind of a pattern that I’m noticing is that when women have been anxious either in a previous postpartum phase of life or just previous to ever having babies, they get really nervous about anxiety happening again. And so at the first sniff of just anxiousness in their body, maybe their heart rate goes up, maybe they feel tightness in their chest, wherever they feel at first.

They start to do a few things; really, they start to have a trauma response of either flight, fight, or freeze. Okay, so when I say trauma, I mean that when you experience anxiety in the past, you either fly. I wanted to say these in past tense; I was like flighted, flew, you flew, you ran away.

You either took flight, ran away from it, which means distracting yourself, avoiding it, changing your circumstances. Turning the TV on, just trying to run away from it. You’re fighting it where you’re resisting it, you’re getting angry. Why is it here? You are no; I don’t want to feel this way today, I don’t want to feel this way, it’s fine, you try to talk yourself out, that’s kind of fighting it. Or you freeze where you just shut down, okay.

And fight, flight or freeze, so that’s how you probably reacted when you first had the anxiety, and that was your trauma response to the anxiety having no idea what to do with it. And so now, if it ever happens again, and you have that memory of that traumatic time of being so anxious and not knowing what to do, now your response to anxiety is even worse actually.

You would think, oh, I’ve been through this before, and sometimes we learn little tips or tricks, but especially if we were really traumatized and kind of freaked out the first time, and we just avoided it. The second time, maybe the next baby postpartum, for example, you might really have an anxiety response of fight, flight, or freeze.

You might be really fighting it, like I said, shutting down if you’re freezing or kind of distracting yourself and pretending it’s not there and trying to talk it away from you. And what that leads to is panic, panic attacks, and it leads to, or that’s one of the main things if you stay in the anxiety.

So the fighting it definitely does that. The freezing creates just a lot of disempowering, like telling yourself you can’t do things or losing the desire to completely avoid doing certain things because when you do those things, anxiety comes up, and you have no idea what to do with it. Or memories of past anxiety comes up.

Or you just stay so busy that you kind of wear yourself out the flight, right? That’s the flight characteristic is. Maybe you just get really into cleaning. Maybe you just decide I’m just going to have another baby really fast, so I can be really busy. Maybe you go back to school. I’m not saying any of these are wrong; I’m just saying sometimes we make these decisions from the place, basically, from a trauma response, we don’t even know we’re having.

And all of this can be broken down and processed. But that’s the point of today’s episode is for you guys to see is this happening for me. Let me give you a couple more examples. Another way you might know that you’re having some trauma either around the present anxiety or you had trauma around past anxiety that’s now coming up in the present is if whenever you feel anxious, it skyrockets to panic pretty consistently and pretty quickly.

So you don’t just have mild anxiety, it’s like you’re always at a seven to a ten. That’s really hard, it’s really hard on your body, it can be hard on your marriage, your sex life. I mean, nobody wants to, it’s really hard to kind of have that parasympathetic, restful, replenishing nervous system talk to you and be something that your body uses when you’re so anxious all the time.

So it can really take a toll on your physical health. You can start to have digestive problems potentially. So this is really an interesting thing to pay attention to. Another indicator is if you would describe moments of anxiety as living hell. If you look back on it, and you’re like, I don’t know how I got through that; it was the darkest, scariest time of my life; I hope it never happens again.

I’m terrified to have another baby. I’m terrified that I will ever feel that way again in my body; this is stuff that is telling you these are red flags that you haven’t processed it. And what I mean, I want you to think about, I use the word processing a lot, and what does that even mean? Okay, what I mean by that is you want to, not necessarily relive it; a lot of people think that if we’re processing trauma, we’re reliving it. That is not at all what we mean.

It just means you zoom back to that moment in time only enough to find sense in it all, right? The reason things are so scary and the trauma stays with us is because we continue to not know; well, I’m going to say maybe not all trauma, but with anxiety, anxiety trauma is we just still don’t know we still have a big question mark as to why we ended up feeling the way we did. And if it were to happen again in this moment, we still have no idea how to handle it, okay.

And so a really easy way to process your past anxiety is to learn in the present, moment for the sake of your past self to calm her down. You can use your present life and your present time and attention span to learn what she didn’t know. This is essentially what I do with my clients, right? We learn how to handle anxiety.

And then if there’s past anxiety trauma or any other kind of trauma, we can take what we’ve learned in the present, and literally, we go inside of our body in our mind, in our psyche and our heart, we connect with our past self that was so freaked out, and we finished the run, okay, that’s the phrase. What finishing the run means is that if a bear was chasing you, or sorry if the hunter was chasing a bear and a bear got shot with a tranquilizer gun, stay with me here; this is going to make a lot of sense, okay.

If a bear was running from a hunter and he got shot with a tranquilizer gun, he would fall down and go to sleep, right? But when he wakes up, when the tranquilizer wears off, he keeps running. This is how our nervous system works; this is how our nervous system works, is it needs to finish the run. This is why we have trauma that affects us for the rest of our life, is because we haven’t finished the run.

And so when it comes to past trauma about a period of our life where we felt super anxious and didn’t know why and didn’t know how to get out of it. We have to, in the present moment, finish the run. So we have to essentially stand as proxy for our past self and learn the stuff she didn’t know in a way that makes us have power over anxiety, and it’s not a big deal.

And then, really importantly, we go back to our past self, and we connect with her. This is a real thing, by the way, this might sound like oh woo-woo fluffy clouds like oh, we could past self, that’s cute. No, it’s real. That emotion that runs that has not been finished, it’s a ball of energy stored in your body. And you are the only one that can go in there; I mean, I can because I do energy work now with my people. But it’s awesome for you to do it for yourself, and you can.

And so I love to watch my clients and help them, facilitate them going back, you’re the only one that can go back there and release it for yourself. Again, I’m not going to say you’re the only one because I service that I can help people release stored energy in their body. But it’s a really intimate and self-beautiful experience to be able to connect with your past self and heal her. I’ll share a little bit of an example with this. I remember the first time I ever hired somebody to help me do energy work, and it was at a time where I was doing pretty smooth sailing.

I mean, as far as energy and depression goes, it actually wasn’t that long ago. This was probably six to eight months ago. And so I’ve been working for a couple of years plus now to understand anxiety and depression, and everything I’ve understood and been taught by the Lord, I have then taken it and packaged it really clearly, and I’ve taught people, and it’s helped a lot of people, cool, right?

And there’s still work occasionally that I come across, memories that surface and emotions that we find in my body that are from those scary days when I didn’t know this stuff. And I didn’t have, I’m not going to say I didn’t have the support in the sense that other people weren’t supporting me, but I just wasn’t able to receive support. I wasn’t able to give myself support.

My inner climate and the inner tone in which I talked to myself all day was not one of support and healing. And so I racked up during that time in my life, especially having three kids in four years; I racked up a lot of stored emotions. And I only recently, even though I’ve been helping women postpartum for a long time, I only recently learned about how energy is stored in the body and how it needs to be released, and trauma is, and these behaviors and the OCD stuff we can develop can all be stemming from that trapped energy.

So I worked with this energy worker, and I got aware of some stuff and some past memories. Like we went back in time basically, to the hardest moment that I could think of, that kind of my subconscious gave me surfaced for me. And so I went back, and my eyes were closed; I was literally like in my mind. My body was here, but I was not, I was very much in these past memories, and I was doing this work. And I remember, guided by my energy friend’s voice, she was just helping me. And this is all Christ-centered, by the way, okay.

She was helping me connect with that woman, which was me, but she was then having me ask her what was so hard. And why she was feeling the way she was, and what was she feeling. And then she said if there was one thing you’d want to tell her, what would it be? So I want you to do this right now, okay? Because it was extremely healing. I want you, and I do this with my clients, and I invite you to do it right now on the podcast.

Take a minute, if you feel ready and when you feel ready, and if you don’t want to do it by yourself, then come join one of my groups, okay. So get on my waiting list, reach out to me, and I can help you do this. But I want you to, in a minute, so hear the exercise first and then go do it. I want you to close your eyes, you’re going to pause this, right? You’re going to close your eyes. And you’re going to go back to the scariest moment. You don’t have to relive it, right? You’re not being her, you’re witnessing her. So you’re imagining yourself in the past being in that scary moment.

Again it’s not you, right? Because you are no longer your past self, you are your present self. And yet your past self has lingering, unresolved, loose ends of anxiety that freaks her out. It’s still that the energy of being totally powerless and scared, and whatever, not knowing what to do, is still there. So you, your present self, when you feel ready, and you feel like you understand this and you have the tools around anxiety.

Which if you don’t, again, come join my group program, I’ll teach you. You can go back, and you can talk to her, and you can ask her how she’s feeling. So that’s what you want to do is. How are you feeling? And maybe you don’t even need to ask her because, you know, you know exactly how she’s feeling because you were there. So maybe that question becomes pointless, and you can just say listen, I love you. What do you want to tell her?

What would you tell her? To my past self, I sent her love, and I said if you could see your life in three years, you would be willing to stick this out. You’re going to help so many people. That’s all you need to know, it’s worth it. There’s a reason, there’s a purpose, there’s a purpose in this suffering. Now I want you guys to know you can do this with anything; it doesn’t have to be anxiety trauma. It could be maybe a lot of people have trauma from their postpartum depressiveness that they had last time they had a baby. 

Some of us have trauma around; I don’t know, anything. Literally, we could have sexual trauma; we could have trauma around husband disapproving. Maybe we were married once before, and that husband was really this or that. Or we had our boyfriend in high school, or a friend that’s a girl, right? And she just dropped us. Like whatever the trauma was, and we didn’t understand it, and it didn’t make sense, and it was so painful.

And we didn’t have the tools to support ourselves and love ourselves during that time, it’s stored, it’s still there. And so you want to, this is essentially, what we’re doing is we’re releasing a trapped emotion through your mind, and through the intention of healing yourself. It works just like if you were to come to me and if I was to use Dr. Bradley Nelson’s emotion code, the emotion code. If you haven’t heard of that, go Google it, it’s a book.

You can learn how to do energy work and muscle testing for yourself and your kids with the book. I think it’s like ten bucks or something. It’s amazing; I’m now getting certified through, it’s called discover healing. Dr. Nelson’s program to become an energy practitioner. But regardless, I just want you to know that that’s essentially what you’re doing, is you’re releasing stored energy of an unfinished “run” of the trauma that is still in your body, and anxiety trauma is really real.

I want to express compassion to you guys; if it’s depression trauma, anxiety trauma from last time you were postpartum, or maybe who knows when? I just want you to know that you’re not alone. And that’s one of the main beautiful things about the groups that I run, is this is the first group that I’ve done, right? So we just launched it a couple; last week, we’ve just done one call.

And by the way, I felt prompted, I want to say this. I did feel prompted to share here on the podcast. That if there’s somebody, I feel like there might be a couple two, three people who I don’t know like maybe are either just hearing about the group and want to get in, or have heard of it but were kind of waiting. I just want you to know that I have felt a tug for you.

So there’s a place for you, and we’ve just done one call. And if you feel like absolutely, you were supposed to get into this group, and you missed your chance. Or if you thought about it and then didn’t and now you’re kicking yourself like you can start a week late, I mean you’re still going to pay the full thousand dollars, and you’ll just have missed that one week, but you’re still going to get 11 sessions of group coaching.

And you get ten videos, you guys; I recorded ten whole videos. And I didn’t plan to make this announcement at all, my launch was closed, but I just felt this like kind of tap on my heart. So if nobody comes, that’s totally fine. But if there’s a couple of you that are just like kind of needed a little invitation like yes, you’re totally right, I need to be in that group. And you feel that confirmation right now, then just book a consult, LizzieLangston.com/consult, you know the drill.

But the group has been amazing because you’re validated instantly. All of a sudden, I just kept seeing in our first coaching call people are making comments and then in the Facebook group interacting with each other being like, oh my gosh, me too, yes, I struggle with that, thank you so much for sharing about that. And that is so much of the heavy lifting when it comes to our own healing, is a lot of the times, we can know how to heal, but it’s all of the constant thoughts of shame and guilt like, am I broken?

What’s wrong with me? Why am I being like this? I must be the worst mom ever? And all of that really pulls our energetic vibration down; it really makes it hard for us to dig in and do the beautiful self-connected work of healing. Those types of thoughts really create disconnection from yourself, and so that’s one of the big assets of being in a group of women dedicated to focusing on depressiveness and anxiety and healing postpartum, is that instantly those thoughts like are useless anymore, because you’re like oh, yes. You’re just easily able to prove to your brain that you’re not alone and you’re not broken.

And it isn’t you that’s the problem, it’s not inherently wrong with you, it’s just a thing that happens, and there’s exact reasons. It’s not a mystery, it’s not confusing anxiety and depressiveness. They aren’t mysterious and confusing. When we say oh, it’s because of hormones and sleep, it becomes very confusing like oh, well, how much of it is me?

How much of it is my hormones? How do I make that right? I teach a very simple process you learn how to calm your body in moments of anxiety. Once you learn how to calm your body, then you can calm your mind. If you try to do it at the reverse, if you try to calm your mind when your body’s not calm, it is very hard, and it usually just ends up escalating your anxiety.

So I teach women to calm their bodies, then they can calm their mind. Not just one time, but permanently. So this process builds on itself, and the results of learning how to calm your body and then calm your mind on repeat over and over, what happens is you lower your baseline of calm, you just get calmer and calmer, and you end up with step three which is calm your life. You end up living a more calm life.

You end up going from trying to just survive and do the basics to of your health and your wellness emotionally, physically, spiritually, mostly emotionally, and maybe spiritually too. To then really living in, it almost feels like you’re living in a different existence. It’s almost like you don’t even recognize, you’re not the same person you were.

When your baseline gets lower, you make totally different decisions. You spend more time with yourself. You seek out healing and bring in to your life yoga or tai-chi, or you change your diet. Like you just make these decisions from this intuitive place because you are calm. Because you know how to calm your body, you know how to calm your mind. There becomes a connection between your body and mind that really facilitates almost like a new identity but in the best way.

And you start to have a calm life. You no longer identify as somebody who struggles with depression or anxiety; you identify, like imagine who you would be if those were not struggles for you ever again, right? Because when you invest in learning how to manage anxiety and depressiveness, once I mean at least with me the way I do it, is you no longer have to worry about those for the rest of your life.

I can imagine investing in a car, it’s always going to, you’re going to have to buy another car in a few years. Whereas when you invest in your mind, gosh, you get one brain for the rest of your life. When you invest in your body and knowing how to calm your mind and body. I don’t think there’s any more valuable investment. Like health is wealth, and you can’t have wealth without health. So I love this for mamas; I’m so grateful I get to do this work.

And if you’re interested in doing group coaching, like I said, I just feel like there might be a couple people that need to hop into this group. So if that’s you, book a consult today like do not waste time because we’re rolling forward. We meet every Friday at 10 a.m. with a couple of exceptions for dates where I’m out of town or something like that.

But Friday’s at 10 a.m. mountain standard and yes, come join us. But otherwise, you guys, if you’re hearing this at a later time, just get on my email list. The link to my email list should always be in the podcast show notes, or you can just reach out lizzy@lizzylangston.com to email me, that’s a great way to be in touch. But know that there’s help, hope, and healing for you.

I know you can heal your heart so that you can heal your home. And I love and stand by my process for doing it. So go to lizzielangston.com/consult, and you guys there is hope after trauma with anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t have to be scary. I hope this exercise of going in and healing your past self helps, and we’ll talk to you next week!

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