We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
- Winston Churchill
That is an absolute, inescapable truth about chronic anxiety and anxiety disorders. While we attribute out fears, phobias, and anxiety to external factors, the fact of the matter remains. It is the fear that drives the anxiety.
Recently, I have experienced what is perhaps the longest bout of anxiety in my course of treatment. I did not realize it at first. Anxiety sees the first sparks from reasonable reaction to an external stressor.
I have an abundance of stress-inducing events and circumstances all seemingly happening at once. My grandmother’s health and mind are failing. To be frank, she is dying. I have accepted it. She is eighty-five, and has had diabetes longer than I have been alive. This is nature’s way.
Anxiety is an asexual creature in the sense that anxiety begets anxiety in itself. It feeds off of one singular thought. “What if?” It does not have to be phrased as such, but it remains constant. Anxiety breeds more anxiety in the circular logic that one anxiety attack heralds many more. Anticipatory anxiety.
I abhor change. Mostly, it is ripe with problems that multiply like mice in a cascading domino effect. Even when it is a step toward something better, that fact still remains. And in certain circumstances, it is enough to have the whole thing come crashing down. Mouse trap. Caged in one’s own folly.
If we step back, even for a moment, the entire incredible illogical reaction is laughable. Anxiety is curious in the way that it narrows one’s focus, and puts a set of blinders on it’s victims. There is no sight beyond that immediate threat, and other threats that surround it. Often, we are unable to take that step to see beyond.
Or any step, for that matter. Fight or flight? Neither. Freeze.
Some animals in the wild, when in fight or flight, often freeze. Deer in the headlights. It is an attempt to camouflage into the surroundings, as opposed to fighting a losing battle, or fleeing from a quicker predator. Anxiety often evokes the freeze mechanism. It is an enemy that we cannot see, therefore we cannot run, and we cannot fight.
Worse, is the belief that there is no place to hide.
Why so much fear in the fear itself? How could one possibly cower in the face of an invisible enemy?! It’s absurd!
Until one has been victim of that transparent, intangible foe.
- How to Overcome Being Anxious About Being Anxious (psychcentral.com)
- Panic or Anxiety attacks (liscafo.wordpress.com)
- Musings on anxiety… (beyondmeds.com)
- Battling Anxiety (definingmydash.wordpress.com)
- Three Things That Maintain Anxiety (psychologytoday.com)
- Just Breathe: Beating Anxiety at Its Own Game (quitthecure.com)