• Benjamin

Anxiety?! In this economy??

Believe it or not, anxiety isn't just a creation of the mind that can be easily overcome.

I hear the word Anxiety thrown around a lot, diminished to the level of fear. Unfortunately, if it was as easy as fear to overcome, then life would be a hell of a lot easier.


What is Anxiety? Well I guess you would need a degree, and knowledge to fully explain it, but I'll be explaining it in the way that it affects myself. I read somewhere once that likened the physical feeling of Anxiety to leaning too far back in a chair, and getting that pit in your stomach; only consistently and it doesn't go away. That is a very interesting way to characterize the physical sensation, but I'd like to expand on it a bit more.


So you have that pit in your chest, stomach, whatever, and continuing the action (which is often unavoidable considering it happens during mundane things) makes you sweat. Not the "oh damn it's hot" kind of sweat, but the kind that feels like icicles down your face. Suddenly, the world around you stops for a moment, and there is the pure absence of noise. No, not silence, but that intentional absence of all noises; you know the one that appears right before a jump scare in cinema.


I guess that is a good way of describing it, it's like your body screaming at you that the jump scare is coming, the rollercoaster drop is coming, the big baddies under the bed are going to grab your leg and whisk you away.


The unknown is a big trigger of Anxiety for me, what's behind that door, what can't I see in the dark, what is the other person going to say or respond to me. The door thing genuinely reminds me of those moments in the original Resident Evil, where the doors took forever to open, and you had no idea what would be in the next room. Also, genuinely the social anxiety will make me freeze up so hard sometimes, to the point where I will start stuttering.


Yes, through therapy, and medication, you can start to get a handle on Anxiety, but it's truly not as easy as you might think. The way Anxiety disorder was explained to me once was this, your amygdala is the part of the brain that regulates fear. It's the piece of your brain that triggers your fight, flight, or freeze responses, and when you deal with an Anxiety disorder your amygdala will continuously misfire and immediately go to panic mode over very small things. When your body is consistently overstimulated by these chemicals, it starts to affect your rational thinking in ways you wouldn't expect.


When you're untrained for it, it can hit you like a freight train. Hell, even if you are it still can. It is truly as if I lose all rationality, and getting out is the only way my brain knows how to react. I'm somebody who is terrified of the supernatural, consciously I know it isn't real; but in that state my brain will flash past 'scary' memories which may cause a spiral. These are flashes from horror movies, games, etc. that will just remind me what *could* be there.


Sometimes, the stupidest things will set me off. Simply seeing, or even hearing an ad for a horror movie can send me into that state, because it triggers that feeling again; the absence of sound. That moment when absolutely anything and everything could happen. Never encountered a vengeful spirit before, but who knows, THAT could be the moment right there. Sometimes nothing will trigger it, and I could be anywhere, and start spiraling.


Then, we see panic attacks. I'm pretty decent now at holding them off, but there's a damn reason they are often confused for heart attacks. It's your body going into a full panic state, dangerously increased heart rate, sweating, nausea/vomiting, dizziness. Let me tell you, when your body throws a fake heart attack at you, because you messed up a sentence in front of a group, is a crap feeling.


We have started to as a society downplay true Anxiety and Panic Attacks. Yes, its great to normalize these terms so that people are less afraid to seek help for them, but we shouldn't devalue how these can affect the people who suffer from them. If you suffer from Anxiety, or Panic Attacks, consider talking to a medical professional, as they may be able to give you advice on next steps to help with symptoms associated to these illnesses! Anyway, have a fantastic, anxiety-free day!

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© Copyright 2020, Benjamin Imlau