Fuck You, Anxiety

Lately I feel like my posts have been focusing more on reviewing books and talking about video games. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, especially because I want to review things. But I’ve been avoiding talking about mental wellness topics for a while now and I want to address that.

If you’ve read a lot of my posts throughout the past year, you’ve probably read something about my struggle with depression. It’s not something I like throwing out there, but sometimes I feel like there’s no way around it and I just need to admit to it. The past couple of months, for no particular reason, has made me feel more anxious than usual and I haven’t felt like talking about things like mental health. In fact, I still don’t. But I had an idea I want to start trying out and I wanted to share it.

What if I treated anxiety like an obnoxious asshole? For example, I’m driving to work. It’s a 45 minute commute. I know it sounds bad because while operating a motor vehicle, you really should be alert at all times, but when you take the same route every time you go to work you can’t help but ease up and let the trip come naturally after a while. So essentially, I’m just sitting for 45 minutes unable to really do anything but turn the steering wheel and hit the turn signal lever. Depressed people should never sit still for that long without doing anything because their minds will eventually wander towards negative thoughts, and all they can really do is just sit there and take it.

So when those negative thoughts come swimming through my head and I start to feel like a wreck before I even get to work, what if I imagined my anxiety as some jerk in the seat next to me? I can’t tell off my own thoughts very well, but I think I could handle telling this imaginary person next to me to piss off.

Let’s compare:

Anxiety as a feeling:

Isn’t it great how you can pass by your old neighborhood every time you go to work? At least you didn’t completely have to say goodbye to it when you moved. You can still see it. Through car windows. Sure, you can’t just leave your home and walk around it like you used to, but you can remember it. And miss it. Here, keep looking at it. Miss it even more. Miss walking past the bank and couple of strip malls you used to grow up with. Remember the video store that was here? You used to rent video games in the summer here. Remember Kirby 64? You rented that one summer and played it at your friend’s house when you slept over one night. You took all the sheets in the house and made a big tent in his room while playing it. That was fun. Let’s remember more good things. That way it can make all the shitty things going on right now feel even worse. Blah blah blah blah you’re awful blah blah blah you’re not getting better blah blah blah…

Anxiety as a person:

Anxiety: Isn’t it great how you can pass by your old neighborhood every time you go to work? At least you didn’t completely have to say goodbye to it when you moved. You can still see it. Through car windows. Sure, you can’t just leave your home and walk around it like you used to, but you can remember it. And miss it. Here, keep looking at it. Miss it even more —

Me: Hey, can you go fuck off for a while? I can’t deal with you right now.

And I can drive the rest of the way listening to music without incident.

Or how about this. You’re in bed, trying to fall asleep. But low and behold, the bed is a terrible place to be when you’re trying to avoid anxiety. You’re about to fall asleep, everything’s blacking out, when anxiety lifts the covers and slides in next to you.

Anxiety as a feeling:

Hey. Sleeping, huh? Yeah, that’s cool. Sleeping’s kind of lonely without another person though, isn’t it? Like, how do you do it? How do you go to sleep each night knowing the fact that you’re going to wake up the next day without anyone next to you? How can you fall asleep without holding anyone? It’s weird. You’re weird. Here, I”ll hold onto you. We can sleep together.

Anxiety as a person:

Anxiety: Hey. Sleeping, huh?

Me: Yeah. Go away now. I can deal with you in the morning.

Anxiety: Yeah, that’s cool. Sleeping’s kind of lonely without another person —

Me: That was actually my nice way of saying eat a dick. Anxiety, would you mind leaving the room and shoving your mouth full of one? I seriously don’t want to listen to you right now. No one does, really. This would solve a lot of problems.

And then I can fall asleep.

Just an idea. I don’t think it’s going to work all the time. After all, if there was a surefire way to get rid of anxiety and depression nobody would be anxious or depressed. But it might be worth doing if nothing else is working.

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8 thoughts on “Fuck You, Anxiety

  1. Not a bad idea 🙂 does work often (not always) and getting some distance from feelings such as this is a good thing, for a while.

    Just, in the long run, it’s probably better not to make a, technically, good and natural feeling an enemy. Anxiety, in it’s usual, healthy form, is a good thing and necessary to judge situations etc. and, luckily, it never goes away. You learn to handle it (again) and even though it will probably not become a close friend, it will be that guy you don’t actually like being around, but every once in a while you need him (like a dentist) and he’ll help you get through life.

      • Me too, I know that kind of anxiety (pretty well, actually) which is why I thought it would be a good idea to point out what I mentioned. Of course the helpful and the not helpful kind feel pretty different, for a reason, but they are basicaly the same thing. And as I said, getting some distance from that emotion is a GOOD idea, just in the long run one has to find a way to live with it rather than always fighting it. You can’t fight all your life, there has to come a point where you find a kind of peaceful co-existance

      • Finding that co-existence is the difficult part, though. When the negative type of anxiety has more power, it’s not easy to identify what’s a good type of anxiety and what’s bad — it all becomes a burdensome type of stress that in the ends helps no one. Any suggestions on getting the two types in balance again?

      • Well, I am still working on that one too ^^

        For one thing you can identify the good from the bad by the possibility of responding to it.
        If you have a jobinterview and are really afraid you can face that fear by, well, having the interview and probably thinking afterwards:”that wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be”, that is a good kind of fear, it’s a positive stress response that makes you energetic and alert for the task at hand.

        But if you are afraid of having a stroke and that is all you think about all day it’s a bad kind of fear, because there is next to nothing you can do about maybe having a stroke, it happens or it doesn’t and it does not make sense to think about it or be afraid of it. That is also the kind of fear that triggers the (unhealthy) negative, chronic stress response that hightens your cortisol levels.

        Right now I try to handle anxiety this way: If you can face it, try that, if you can’t it probably makes no sense to worry in the first place. In the second case it is of course quite hard to get rid of the fear, talking to people about it sometimes helps, research about probabilities (like about plane crashes) can help, imagining the situation, really thinking it through all the way (what would happen afterwards, how would I really feel) trying to be as realistic about it as possible (no doomsday visions) . I don’t say this approach always works, anxiety can be a very illogical thing and it is an emotion after all, but often it does.

        I hope this helps 🙂

      • I’ll try to keep these things in mind. Thanks for taking the time to discuss your thoughts on anxiety over the past week. Hopefully they’ll help both me and anyone else reading them. 🙂

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