An Exercise In Dissecting My Own Anxiety

photo of woman holding her neck
Tanja Heffner / Unsplash

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t say I have anxiety, but I’m a pretty anxious person. And by that I mean, sometimes I stress the fuck out and sometimes I need to do bullshit breathing exercises (that work, I don’t know why I said bullshit, I’m just stressing out talking about dealing with stress) to calm my nervous-self down.

I fret tiny details and run myself into overdrive thinking about the infinite possibilities of human life so that I can maybe have a sense of control over some of them. Funny thing is, I KNOW there’s no way to have control over everything. I still stress out regardless.

I have to do my best to make sure everything goes well. In other words, I have to think myself into oblivion so that anything my poor brain can still think of at the end of the day is under control, and anything that is not under control, I am too tired to think of anyway.

I plan stuff out ages before they happen so that I have a tactical plan for when shit goes down, even the simplest stuff. And if the slightest deviation happens from that plan — that I might as well set in stone — I freak out. I hate having to change plans that I’ve worked on, perfected, and set aside for when they actually happen, like they’re archived in my brain — I can’t mess with that.

And when I say I freak out, it’s not like, “OH MA GAAAD WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” but more like, “Well, this plan has gone down the pooper, better start over from point zero because I cannot and will not change anything in my already set plans.”

To me, it’s more logical to abort than to change. Well, not more logical, but more convenient.

I’m not really good with improvising life. I don’t have a swift reflex or reaction to things. I have to be pre-programmed to smoothly go through whatever it is that life throws at me. I’m one of those people that always gets the same dish at the same restaurant because they get nervous when the waiter comes and they feel like they’re taking too long to decide what they want.

The reason I get tiny panic attacks when stuff like that happens is probably because I know I’m not good with improv decisions.

And how do I know that? I actually don’t (joke’s on me), it’s something I’ve led myself to believe in a desperate attempt from my brain to block out the real reason behind my simpleton anxiety.

My brain is scared of facing the truth behind it because guess what? It’s new info. And what is behind my brain-barrier is my fear of newness which is the root cause of my anxiety that comes along whenever I am put in situations where I have to deal with new experiences without previous “rehearsals.”

It’s like my brain has Leonardo-DiCaprio-Inceptioned itself in an attempt to put up a very dysfunctional defense mechanism.

Somehow, throughout my life, I’ve been unintentionally conditioned to fear the “new,” the “unfamiliar,” the “untested.” That is why I have to think everything through and have constant plans and schedules that my life revolves around. THAT’S WHY I HAVE ANXIETY!

But wait, why do I have that fear, though?

Well, that’s what I am currently working on. Peeling away the years of unconscious conditioning to find the root cause and work on resolving that.

My point here is not that I’ve reached an epiphany in the shower, but rather the moral behind it.

How many of us have uncontrollable issues that stem from other unresolved issues that stem from other unrealized issues?

And how many of us settle for trimming the weeds when we should be plucking out the roots?

How many of us take out our frustration on the world when we don’t even realize the true core of our frustration?

“Why?” is always the question.

And the answer will somewhat always be logically eye-opening. TC mark

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