Kieran Kelly

THE 48 ACTS

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Anxiety

Anxiety is an instinctive response to the body’s natural fear response for survival. Everybody has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, whether it is about preparing for a job interview, your first day in school, during an exam, meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. We associate anxiety with alterations to our mental state, experienced as a worry or apprehension perhaps, and physical symptoms such as raised heart rate and adrenaline.

We also understand that it is likely to affect us only temporarily until the source of our anxiety has passed, or we have learned to cope with it.

Anxiety therefore is one of a range of emotions that serves the positive function of alerting us to things we might need to take care of: things that are potentially harmful.

More importantly, these emotions help us to evaluate potential threats and respond to them in an appropriate way, perhaps by quickening our reflexes or focusing our attention.

Anxiety is an emotional state that can work for us as well as against us. It is something we all have in common, but where we differ is in how we perceive these feelings of arousal and how we respond to them. Our life circumstances, our upbringing, our programming, can all be factors in how we respond to anxiety.

Paddy Rafter

Paddy Rafter

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What Happens when Anxiety Takes Over ?

Where anxiety is concerned we are all on a continuum. On the lower end you have no anxiety at all. That would not be good for us as we all need a certain amount of anxiety to get the job done. However if we have too much anxiety we can end up on the top end of the continuum and develop an anxiety disorder.

What happens when anxiety takes over is that it takes over your whole life. Usually it starts in small incremental stages, and when we leave it unchecked or unexamined it grows rapidly, eventually having devastating consequences for our life and the way we live.
Basically it is when fear takes over. As we said, all fear has its place in limited circumstances in scope. However when fear becomes all-pervasive it makes our life very unmanageable and all the fun and enjoyment is gone. The beauty and thrill of life is replaced by fear and fear of the unknown, unnamed fears, dread and terror. It also manifests itself in us in physical ways. If we don’t learn to understand anxiety and deal with it in a real and proper way, we will never achieve any of the things that we wish to achieve, or we will fail to continue with those which we have begun. We will fail to have proper relationships, set proper boundaries, and will have a very skewed perception of the world and reality around us.

Anxiety is a maladaptive behaviour as a way to deal with reality.
Anxiety is a response to trauma.
Anxiety is an inability to cope with the reality of the world as our perceptions are mis-concieved at best, or deeply flawed at worst.
Thus we can see that it is a response to our programming and, indeed, to our drugs of approval and appreciation. We feel we can never measure up to the expectations of others, or our own self expectations.

We feel we will never be good enough, clever enough, attractive enough and all the other similar things associated with the judgement of others.
Thus we become anxious, more and more, bit by bit.
We hear and experience the world through the coloured lens of a media deliberately trying to create danger and catastrophe in order to sell their products. Everywhere we are confronted with fear, be it individual or society based.

Climate crisis, food and power shortages, war after war. The message is always the same…imminent danger….Fight, flight, freeze,,,,all day every day.
We can see that because of our programming and our evolution over millions and millions of years, we are triggered to respond to the threat of danger immediately, at a given instant, from when we were primates and even long before. However the stress went away quickly as you either fought the tiger, or you ran away from the tiger and you learned to associate sounds, sights and places with the tiger and avoid them in future.

Unfortunately for us our brain is unable to distinguish the difference between reality and the perception of reality, just as we have seen.
Therefore if the messaging that we are receiving 24-hours a day 7-days a week is fear and fear based we are obviously going to respond in an anxious way because anxiety is just a natural response or behaviour that has become maladaptive. Fear has taken over.

I know this from my own experience, the feeling of fear and the overwhelming constant underlying anticipation of waiting for something dreadful to happen. It almost never does happen, but the thing is it’s not the happening that’s the problem, it’s the anticipation of a perceived reality that it may or will.

I grew up with an ever present and pervasive sense of dread that in my case I eventually had to medicate to get away from my fears.

People suffering from or afflicted by anxiety are given prescription medications, of ever increasing potency, which they feel compelled to take, to get away from their fears, but in either case, as you can see the outcome is the same: an ever increasing sense of hopelessness, despondency and despair . A fundamental lack of self authenticity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having to take medications to allay the worse effects of an anxiety episode. Nor should we be in any way ashamed of doing so or going to seek medical help in this particular case. It will allow us time, it will buy us time. But we must use this time to work this programme and establish the real reasons causing our anxiety in the first place. The huge danger for us is that we become trapped in the symptomatic treatment instead of the underlying cause. When we begin to identify the underlying cause,then we may begin to deal with it effectively.

When I played sports but especially when I performed on stages all over the world, as I became increasingly proficient and better at my craft I did not feel a lessening of anxiety but an increase of it as my perceived understanding of the expectations of the audience diverged from the reality of what it was.
Over time my anxiety increased exponentially to the point where it became crippling and I was unable to perform anymore.

Fundamentally this programme is about a new way of looking and a new way of seeing the world. Only then can you be present in the world. Only then will you have agency.

Part of the reason I created ‘The 48 Acts‘ was that, through suffering and the subsequent journey of understanding, I learnt how to manage my anxiety so that it plays no negative part in my life anymore.
I learned to live and act. I learned to be present.
I did it through the use of the precepts set out in these 48 acts and if you do the same and follow it assiduously then it will surely work for you and set you free from this crippling affliction. The maladaptive behaviour that is Anxiety.

If you follow this programme set out in this book, you will get an unfamiliar and original perspective for a new way of living which will help to lower your anxieties, by understanding why you have become the way you are.

You will have information, knowledge, understanding, and awareness. You will be free.

Accepting this situation, you will have the confidence to move on and live life.

If I have gotten well then you can also.

Paddy Rafter

If you need help with with Anxiety, Depression, Addiciton or are experiencing Coercive Control, Join me Community where I share my Music, Tips, Tools and Experiences.