Reverse Anxiety: Part I, What Anxiety Is?

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.

Arthur Somers Roche

Google says anxiety is:  “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”

Toxic anxiety (the kind that poisons a life) is real and it's frightening.  It’s caused by a mess of things (biology, shame, fear, trauma etc.).  It’s rude, cruel and very untactful (like when I asked a bride for her wedding cake...'I love cake what can I say?').

I remember the craftiness of anxiety.  Faint, uncomfortable and ruthless, like a psycho ex, it wouldn’t leave me alone and no matter what, where, how, when I did things, it was there to remind me that it owned me.  Faithfully flushing my confidence, my life, down the toilet, day-in and day-out.

Worry Vs. Anxiety

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.  

Corrie ten Boom

Worry vs. anxiety, I liken the difference here to the difference between high-functioning autism and low-functioning autism.  With Autism, in one person, sometimes, it can be so slight you barely notice its presence.  And, at other times, like in my 14-year-old son, a person can be so controlled by autism that every part of their lives and everyone's around them is altered (i.e., right now I’m putting up sheets of plywood so Cullen doesn’t break anymore of the drywall into pieces and so that he doesn’t kick his room window to China).  

When I think of worry (high-functioning autism comes to mind), I think of times when I can’t get my bills off of my mind, or I’m worrying about my heart condition, or my father-in-law”s battle with cancer.   When I think of anxiety, the toxic brand (phobias...social phobia...agoraphobia etc.) and the different shades of each, I think--like with low-functioning autism--all parts of the person suffering (and the people around them) are impacted by its ruthlisness.  Obsession is the word that comes to mind.  For example, I couldn’t even ride in a car or stand in a line for the longest time.  The toxic anxiety you face may look different but share the same "what if" theme as mine.   Maybe you're excessively ruminating about the health of your child...or whether or not you turned the burners off...set the alarm...or didn’t run anyone over.

“Worry casts a shadow over your day.  Toxic Anxiety, when fed, scorches it.”  

Jeff M.

Typical worry is the well-behaved, honor-roll student bent on protecting his future. Toxic anxiety is the unruly, selfish, whiskey-chugging fool who oversteps boundaries and doesn’t care who he hurts in the process.  Let’s face it toxic anxiety when left undisturbed is a glitch in the system.  Unfair.  Unkind.  And completely focused on itself.  And it goes after your attention too.  It scares you, bullies you, deceives you, exploits you...

But...it's not harmful...

Jeff Mowery, LPC

For more detailed info on how to overcome anxiety from an author I trust, click on the link below:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
By Edmund Bourne PhD

(While the author is a licensed professional counselor, this is not an attempt to provide therapy or any other form of professional treatment, not even a bit.  The writings are merely the author’s experiences on overcoming anxiety, depression, and on life and therapy in general. And in no way are they an effort to provide counseling or any other professional services.  If you need professional help, by golly, seek it out...you and your family deserve it!)