As Awful As You Think

Today I have an anxiety breakthrough. It’s because I’m standing in my kitchen feeling anxious about the day, and then I realize I’m actually more anxious about being anxious.

It’s weird. It’s like when the fear of a thing is worse than the actual thing.

The anxious feeling is making me anxious. What is this about? I sit with the feelings for a minute and realize that part of my anxiety is about hating anxiety. So instead, I chose to stop having anxiety about the anxiety. It’s just what it is. It’s just happening to me, and I don’t need to get anxious about the feelings, the spinning thoughts, and the inability to make any kind of rational decision. It’s not that awful, really. It’s the anxiety about this that makes it awful.

Again, weird.

Then, everything washes over me and out of my mind like it couldn’t find a place to settle. This is a new trick to add to my arsenal against anxiety: When it comes, I don’t evaluate it and get anxious that it’s happening.

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  1. Not weird at all. That's the part of anxiety that those who don't understand it don't understand. I try to explain. It doesn't help. Last week as I was sharing my anxiety journey with a friend (who happens to be a licensed counselor) she said something like this, “Anxiety is when you perceive the situation as bigger than it is and you perceive your ability to handle it as less than you actually can.” She used her hands to show the chasm between the two. For me, it was a great description. When I'm in the middle of a panic attack or even mild anxiety, all of me wishes I could just step back and see that things aren't really that big of a deal and that I really can handle it. It's a journey.

  2. I relate to this 100%. I also agree with Kristin that people don't understand it. Anxiety can cause itself to snowball.