Anxiety Know No Logic


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.

I mourn her passing while she still lives. It pains me that I am alone in this, and makes me anxious just the same. What horrible person stands ready with the casket open and the hole dug?

 

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.

35 thoughts on “Anxiety Know No Logic

  1. That was very deep and personal and I am glad you shared it with us. You explained that feeling well. Fear of something will bring me to the brink of an anxiety attack and most likely there isn’t even anything to really worry about. I just stand helpless hearing the beating of my hear in my ears. This was every helpful and something to think back on when that fear sneaks up on me again and tries to make me think that the world is fixing to end and I’ll never make it. Hugs girl!

    • Thank you. I try to do everything I can to defuse anxiety. Anxiety is one of those things, that if you can’t find a deeply rooted cause, then it will forever plague a person. It’s unlike any other disorder in that regard. Sometimes, it can’t be fixed, but it can be eased. If a person can break that cycle of anxiety creating anticipatory anxiety, and kind of the spin off of that, then it’s likely not to return.

      For me, it’s logic. How probable is this outcome that I’m obsessing about? I explore all of the outcomes, and determine the most likely. Even if it’s a bad outcome. Anxiety is more about the fear of the unknown. So, once we eliminate the unknown, and make everything a possibility, we can start building from there. Or tearing down. Whichever is applicable.

      Right now, I’m having difficulty determining the root cause. I think it’s the fact that things are changing. I’ve worked so hard to get to a stable place, and now, there’s change. And for me, when things start shifting, I can never make good predictions.

      • I understand. Change unsettles me greatly to say the least and I feel everything changing right now too. I’m glad that you expressed that feeling. That is the first step.

          • well some changes you have to just let happen, that is if they are going to help you become a healthier person. If you are life me though, you have too fattned up pig roast and/or it lives. or scale to way her one you shot

          • don’t let your mental insecurties keep you insecure enough to let things go and hope they just fix themselves. no matter the illness, if you have it under control on a usual basis, you have to have confinence to put your foot down and trust yourself.-+

            • One thing that’s good about me is that I never back down from a problem I can solve. Especially if it’s a very serious situation. I’m great in an emergency. Everything turns off, and I just act.

              It’s just the ones that don’t have a solution within my control that prompt this anxiety. It’s all about the control factor. When I lose it, I feel terrified. It’s crippling. I’ll find myself obsessing about it.

              My house is practically crackling with electricity again. Everyone oozes anxiety for one reason or another. I try to leep it under wraps. My son is very sensitive.

            • yeah as a single middle aged only child, I feel that I must be that person who can instinctly know what to do at the drop of a hat. If anything happened to one of my kids, their dad is in florida and couldn’t get here for at least 5-6 hours and I have no sister or brother to call if one of my parents gets ill. That Is why I had been working so hard to stay in shape and have energy and be fit. But in like a couple days it was all gone and Im out of breath just goingto the kitchen. So if something goes wrong, Im screwed and so are they

            • Honestly, I’m trying not to think that far. My father is the go-to guy when things break. My mother is the go-to gal when things rip. And I wonder how I’m ever going to learn these skills and be self-reliant!

              C.S. and I had a talk recently about moving. The property is far enough off of the road that I’d have to drive to get the mail every day, let’s put it that way. What the hell am I going to do an in emergency?

            • well my mom just had to have two major surgeries. One in November and one in December. Dad was there with her casue they sent her to a better hospital out of town and I can’t leave my animals that long even. So that ‘s when I got to thinking about things like that. My mom and dad are in their 70′s. They have done more than enough for me. Sometimes over the line caring. I want to be a good daughter.

            • I think I have an obligation to be there for them. I dont know if you read any in my first couple of posts of my journal “A Journey of a girl of many faces” and actually one I just wrote about me having to go back home and it being like I was a 13 year old all over again. but My mother has a lot to do with the things I struggle with. She Has soemthing mentally wrong or something. But since I had a breakdown, she realized a lot of stuff and her way of respecting me is a miracle. After I prayed all my life. She is like my best friend almost now. Shes on the phone trying to get me to go to the hospital right now and I have forgiven her

            • TYVM. I’m at work, so I can only take a peek for now. But, at least I’ll be able to get a subscription. Hopefully. Before my boss finds me hiding in my prep room with nothing but a Blackberry in my hand.

  2. “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.” Wow. How many times have I felt that way? You put it into the exact right words. It is such a horrible feeling of helplessness.

    • It is a feeling of helplessness. For me, it’s more about the loss of control. I am a complete control freak. When things start to shift outside of predictable parameters, I start to freak out. If it is something beyond my control, then that’s when the anxiety sets in. Especially in situations where I am not familiar with predictable outcomes. I have no ground to stand on, and nothing to grab onto to.

      In times of high anxiety, I try to hold onto stable things that are constants in my life. The worst is when the constants seem to start to dissolve. And then what?

  3. As you well know as I’m sure I have said, I am a control freak also. But I rarely have a “constant” to hang on to. It seems that my anxiety forms because the things that are predictable are usually negative factors in my life. It’s like I already know all too well what is to come and that sparks the downward spiral. Unlike you, I aspire for change. Although, I have a very difficult time implementing that change. I get stuck on the same path day in and day out knowing that very soon the other shoe will drop. Lately, I have been trying desperately to focus on me and learning to like me so that the fear and anxiety of what is likely to come doesn’t impact me as much as I would usually let it. So far…it is kinda working. lol. Although, it seems that you have been going through so much lately…I just want to say I am proud that you had the courage to speak up about it versus sweeping it under a rug. Kudos to you, Lulu! (hugs)

    • This has been the first time in my life that I have not been eager for change. I have also always stood on unsteady ground, with undesirable constants. For instance, I have always been impoverished. I have always been in some kind of crisis. I have always had some kind of strained, dysfunctional relationship with others around me. Things like that.

      I feel like I have done everything to claw my way to where I am. And, in these stressful, dark times, I feel like that isn’t much of anywhere compared to my peers. I try to remind myself of the significant disadvantages I’ve had, and all of the things I have overcome to get here.

      Here, being this place where there are solid, good things. My husband, who loves me and my quirks and moodiness. My son, the beautiful, smart, sweet and tender little boy, to whom I will always be a mother to. We have a warm home and just enough food. We can get our bills paid, though sometimes we are tightening the belt beyond the notches.

      I am not swinging wildly, and for now, I can afford my care. I have come to understand and even love a lot about myself.

      I have a great support system here on WordPress, and what I feel are moderately successful ventures here. I have a fulfilling job with people I’d never want to give up for the world.

      I have never had any of these things before.

      And I think most of the anxiety comes from the vague threat that something can come and snatch all of that away from me, in a moment. Maybe not a singular something, but a cascade of events that robs me of this life. One serious event can have dire consequences.

      Depression and anxiety for me are often intertwined. Anxiety can really feed off of depression, and depression can really spark anxiety. Depression starts hesitation. I start second guessing everything to the point of freezing.

      Panic attacks are one thing. They are horrible, but they are momentary. This is just an underlying anxiety that kind of vibrates underneath everything. When exacerbated, it shows up in attacks.

      Unfortunately, as familiar as I am with depression, I am not skilled with anxiety. Probably less so with anxiety than hypomania, honestly. But, I experience anxiety a lot more. I think it has something to do with the nature of anxiety itself. It is not something that can really be looked in the face. It’s more elusive than any other mood episode. It shape shifts. It’s hard to pin down. And when you think you have it, suddenly it dissipates into the air, and the wind carries it away. Anxiety lives to haunt another day.

  4. I have spent so much time being so anxious for so long that I can’t recognize it anymore. I get utterly bewildered by not being anxious. And I’m lousy at communicating this anxiety to the docs because it’s become so normal to me. So the assumption seems to be that the anxiety isn’t that bad.

    • It’s heartbreaking to hear that! But, I kind of know what you mean in a different respect. It always takes me some time to describe BP symptoms to doctors, because there are some things that remain constant with me. And when I’m in a stable state, well, it’s strange at first.

      Anxiety is an odd duck, you know? And drawing the line between “not that bad” and “pretty bad” is tough. For me, I do it at my level of functioning. If a symptom is preventing me from doing something, then I deem it “bad enough”.

  5. Oddly enough, it was a severe anxiety disorder that gave me the groundwork for overcoming the root of all of my anxiety – uncertainty and lack of control.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder was the most incredibly unpredictable, seemingly random, and pervasive thing I ever experienced. It definitely knew no logic with me. It gave me seizures, caused terror states from things I was never able to identify, which lasted for weeks or longer, and often manifested as misdirected (often omni-directed) rage. It became the all-encompassing beast, the master of every other issue within me, dictating how I thought, my moods, my memories, all of it.

    And it was a simple, passing remark by a friend who had dealt with PTSD for years that changed everything. I was discussing with her how I couldn’t seem to figure out what had triggered a particularly awful reaction, and she said, “And sometimes you won’t ever be able to.”

    This rocked my life so extremely, because I always had to know why.

    Oddly enough, I accepted and came to terms with that idea very quickly. And that one major step, accepting the reality of perpetual uncertainty in myself, changed the game completely.

    • I don’t know if I always care about the “why’s”. I don’t know if it would even make a difference, or if there was a why in the first place.

      But, there’s this element of control with me. Not in the typical fashion where I have to have control of every aspect of my life. I threw that one away a long time ago. But, having control over myself seems to be something I can’t shake.

      What makes that mechanism worse are people’s expectations of me having that control. Of everyone having that control, sometimes to the point of stone face stoicism.

      First, I can’t live a lie. It would be exhausting and shameful. Second, why should I? This is me. Love it or leave it.

      Unfortunately, people exist in my life where I can’t say that. And I feel those pressures.

      Anxiety, for me, is the emotional wild card in this mixed deck. It can manifest at any time, without warning. Over something I forgot about, over something that’s nagging me, over nothing, I don’t know.

      How do you cope with anxiety when it strikes?

      • I’ve waited on answering that last question, trying to find a brilliant answer. Honestly, I don’t really deal much with anxiety anymore. I don’t have any generalized anxiety for the first time I can remember in all of my life, and I haven’t had to cope with panic attacks recently.

        Yesterday I did wind up in a situation that brought on some intense anxiety. I don’t really know if what I did would be at all helpful to you, though. There was focusing and breathing and a chai tea latte and some old movies involved, mostly, and I was able to come out of it. I don’t really think most of that would be applicable to the anxiety you have to cope with. :(

        • It’s okay. I wasn’t on the pilgrimage to Oz anyway. LOL.

          I know how to deal with it in the moment, but I don’t know how to minimize it in the bigger scope, you know? The frequency, the duration, etc. I’ve attempted to do things like find the source, exposure therapy (which does work. I have recently been forced to ride through a tunnel twice a day. My clautraphobia isn’t as bad.), and other things. I guess behavioral therapy can’t work for it if you can’t pick out what triggers it, right?

  6. I like how you put anxiety as being asexual. It truly does feed on itself to grow. I’ve been dealing with anxiety most of my life, so I know what you’re referring to. My anxiety is not as bad anymore, but somehow it’s always lingering in the background and tends to want to start growing when I’m under much stress.

    I lost my great aunt almost a year ago. She was 92. She couldn’t walk and was bedridden with dementia. Although her passing away was painful, I felt a sense of relief that she was not in pain anymore. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of my great aunt, who I try to remember the way she was before she became sick–fiesty and full of life.

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