With the prevalence of depression and anxiety, or at least the words if not the diseases, it’s hard to talk about what it feels like to have anxiety. Without fail the first question I get when I say I have/had anxiety is, “why?” Fairly straightforward, if vague, question that reveals a complete lack of understanding. Nothing causes my anxiety. It just is. Like Rilo Kiley.
But that goes into what it feels like to have anxiety, not what it feels like to be anxious. We’re all often anxious or stressed. Life is like that. It consistently throws issues in your face. You either deal with them or let them fester and deal with something a lot worse in a few years. However, most of those stressors aren’t “will I wake up tomorrow?” That’s a question I ask myself more often than I’d like to admit. (I don’t want to admit it because it’s a bummer and embarrassing not to be able to control your thoughts.) And, unfortunately for all those fans of the live every day like it’s your last platitude, believing this day might be your last constricts you to accomplish less than you’d like. As Adam Smith so smartly wrote a billion years ago, knowing of a personal tragedy that will happen tomorrow will result in a sleepless night. (He used the thought to discuss something completely different, and, arguably, more insightful and useful.) Worrying about continuing to live (not by any action or inaction, simply nature) is overwhelming. And though I tend to agree with Nietzsche when he said “He who has a why can bear almost any how.” everything becomes muddled when life and death come into play. A will to live does not prevent a heart attack, unless you plan to argue that everyone who has had one had no will to live. A cruel suggestion.
Anyway, I thought I’d talk a minute about my anxiety. I had no goals or point to make. Sorry if that’s disappointing. Sometimes I get down when I hear other people use words. I feel similarly about the use of Asperger’s. In my world, at least, the use has died down over the last couple years, but for a while, a lot of awkward people, typically comedians, would suggest they had Asperger’s. I understood the point, “I’m awkward in social situations, ahhhh.” but it’s a real thing that is being diluted by the repeated use in probably unwarranted situations. I also see a nice thing about hearing words a lot, it takes the sting away from them. The words become a little less taboo even if understanding isn’t necessarily increasing. I kind of appreciate not feeling insane when I say I’m depressed, even if people usually just assume I’m stressed out. My only issue is when it bleeds into the actual study/discussions of these disease/mental health issues. When psychology is overrun by random celebrities or internet celebrities with opinions. Then it becomes dangerous.
I suppose my feelings are complicated. Typical me.