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What do Lizards Have to do with Anxiety?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Lizard brain: that part of your brain that operates like a reptile, choosing fear as a default response. It used to be an essential part of our survival tool kit way back in the days of cavemen. Now, in the 21st century, its status has changed. While it was once essentially important, it is now only occasionally important. Sadly though, our lizard brain part doesn’t always realise this. Unless it's kept firmly in its place it is more than happy to take over again.

In honour of my lizard brain, I have a lizard made of ceramics that is stuck to the wall by my bed. I call my lizard Drazil because he – yes he – always takes me backwards.

I used to wake in the night because Drazil is too talkative. At 2am rabbited on about the things I did wrong yesterday, last week, last year and way back when. He also ranted about everything that might go wrong tomorrow, next week or next year. And then when he was done on all those topics he started on me, and everything that he thinks I could improve on. Wow, for someone who doesn’t have anything nice to say he talks an awful lot!

Eventually I decided that Drazil must be talking lots because he’s scared. It’s night time so he’s probably scared of the dark. When he starts up now at night time I light a little candle for him to push away the dark. Then, I spend a few seconds appreciating the quiet as I drift back to sleep …

A while ago Drazil had been working very, very hard. He had plenty of raw material to use; a treasure trove of golden nuggets and gems that left me overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted. I was going through the motions of everyday life on default.

After a few nights of being woken by Drazil I was in even worse shape. Adding to all my burdens was the fog of sleeplessness. “Enough,” I whimpered to myself. “Oh, what's the matter?” he asked. “Are you going to be a crybaby now too?” Seriously, Drazil is a top class nasty piece of work. “Actually,” I replied. “I’m going to have a damm good cry because I deserve it. And then I’m going to sit down and plan a holiday for you. So while I’m crying have a think about where you’d like to go.”

In the end Drazil didn’t decide on a destination, I just sent him on holiday. Nowadays I generally don’t hear much from him, but sometimes he’ll send a postcard. The postcards are written in his usual depreciating style; but the thing about a postcard is that when it arrives, you don’t have to read it straight away. You can put it to one side, make yourself a cup of tea and sit down to read it when you’re ready. Or if you like, you can just chuck it in the bin without even reading it.

Here’s a sample of Drazil’s postcard offerings:

  • How are you going to manage that?

  • Why do you think you can do that?

  • You’re too old.

  • You’re too scared.

  • You’re not good enough.

  • No one is going to listen to you.

Funny, they all sound a bit like my people I’ve known in the past. Happily I don’t surround myself with people like that anymore. And Drazil will be staying away on holiday for the forseeable future. The only way he’s ever allowed to come back is when he’s useful.

Surprisingly, this does happen occasionally. Every now and then he’ll pop up for a good reason. Like not so long ago when I pulled out into a gap in the traffic only to be met by a police car coming directly towards me. Drazil was there when I needed him, squawking away “Stop, stop, stop, STOP.” His holiday is obviously suiting him because he went back there straight away, not bothering to hang around for any further chats.

Excellent, holidays for lizards needs to be the next big thing.

If you’ve got a lizard chattering away in your brain, I’m more than happy to help you plan that holiday … the sooner you get onto it the better. Click here to arrange a time to talk with me.

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