Monday, July 28, 2014

I still don't really know what I'm talking about but I think you should know

I get anxiety. Which is to say, a fear response in the absence of direct stimuli. I've never really been aware of it, but in the past fortnight, I became aware. It's good, it is infinitely more manageable to be aware of something.

I wouldn't identify as an anxious person, if anything I over correct and mute the signal. I'm just less superhuman than I thought, or maybe I have stepped closer to superhumanity. Who knows?

But here's two things, I'd call them distinctions but it may actually just be indicative of how little I understand.

There's a situation I can put myself in that triggers the fight or flight response in my brain. Even just thinking about it or planning for it puts tension into my shoulders and has me reflexively closing my palms. But that situation is one with a clear and predictable pattern where I get injured. Thus to avoid it is quite sensible, and to seek it out a stupid alocation of my precious resources. Consider if you will saying 'I get really anxious entering the bear enclosure' I'm not sure that's "anxiety" as described, because bears will fucking eat your face off and there's very little you can do about it. Thus to be scared in the presence of bears is smart. It's a good priority, an optimal alertness.

To tense up around teddy bears because they remind you of bears is what I think I mean when I say "anxiety" it's not helpful or normal at all. It is sub optimal.

The second thing is, that I've come to appreciate that there's a real difference in the conversation between people who experience anxiety, anxiety attacks and feel nervous about showing up to parties and people who have anxious personality disorders, generalized anxiety, OCD, social phobias etc. I can relate part way but I don't wish to ever trivialise what people go through. I can sympathise. I can't recall what it is to have these conditions or be seriously debilitated by them.

For the most part I just experience stress, that leaves me highly functional and my anxiety has not yet succeeded in preventing me from pursuing anything I actually want or seek out. (though it got pretty close, I am very very fortunate and very very privileged to have resources available to me)

If you suffer from debilitating anxiety, and are reading this blog - you probably have access to more resources and privilege than you know. There's a lot of knowledge freely available, a lot of knowledge cheaply available and there is a lot of care freely available also.

Just ask me how.

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