The Thing About Anxiety

The thing about anxiety is that it lies to us. Sometimes those lies are rooted in truth, and sometimes they are blatant fabrications, but when you have anxiety, you can’t tell which is which. When it comes after you, it all feels real. Undeniable.

A short example of the pretzel logic anxiety uses to attack its victims: So, that job interview you have coming up. It’s a big deal. Have you figured out what you’re going to wear? You know how important a first impression is, and you only get one chance to do this right. You have to be professional, but you — only, no. Don’t be you. If you decide to be “you”, you’ll fuck it up for sure. But, then again, it’s a long shot you’ll get this job anyway. It was only luck they’re asking for an interview. It’s ridiculous, thinking that you’re capable enough to do this job, and the interviewer is gonna pick up on that right away. Why even do this to yourself? Why set yourself up to fail? You know this isn’t gonna work out. You might as well quit while you’re ahead.

There are certain times when it’s normal to experience anxiety — a new job, graduating, having to move. Big changes and periods of transition, where there is a lack of certainty, those are common times to be a little anxious.

But anxiety about smaller things like government paperwork, and needing to set foot outside the house today, those are above and beyond normal levels. And it’s really hard to try and talk about that kind of anxiety. Because, sometimes, anxiety is rooted in specific events — a hate crime, bad experience, trauma — or tied to specific triggers. But other times, there is no reason — there’s no cause you can point to, there’s just the anxiety trying to cripple you for no reason at all.

But how do you explain that? Worse, how can you expect other people to understand, to help you, if you can’t explain?


I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.


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