A is for Anxiety


Apparently ‘A’ can be for a lot of things.  ‘A’ is everywhere and a lot of words in the English language begin with said letter. Aardvark, author, anger, abortion. The possibilities for Topic A are endless. What should I write about? Angst? Art? Though I have an articulate, absorbing, awesome article on Planned Parenthood somewhere, I think “A is for Abortion (but Not A Lot of Abortions)” would be sort of off putting for the casual blog surfer. I feel sort of like Hester Prynee guest starring on Sesame Street.

From awesomestories.com
"Prithee, sir, willst thou tell me how to get to the pillory at Sesame Street?"

So how do I cast my reel into the blogosphere, hoping for an abundance of readers adept at commenting and all? I guess I will just stick to my area of expertise. I’ll give you a hint. It starts with an ‘A.’ 7 letters…




Yes, my area of expertise is anxiety. And how! But how, you may ask yourself, is said author an expert at anxiety?

Can she treat anxiety? No.

Can she show the audience how to deal with anxiety? No, not really.

Can she show someone HOW TO be anxious? Why, yes. Yes I can. You see, unlike many people who claim, “Like, OMG, I am so OCD! LOLz” I am the genuine, authentic article.  This may overwhelm you a bit at the state of being in the presence of such authenticity, like seeing a rare bird  or someone from Glee. I understand. Don’t let me overwhelm you too much, sisteren and brotheren. While you’re catching your breath and resting here, let me fill you in on a little trade secret of “Being OCD.” Psst. Now don’t tell anyone I said this, but the key to “Being OCD” is realizing you aren’t OCD. You don’t be obsessive-compulsive disorder, you have obsessive-compulsive disorder. I know what you’re thinking, “You say tomato,” right? Or maybe, “OMG,  there’s that OCD.” I’m just telling you this for clarification. Personally, I don’t care as long  as you know there’s a difference you may “OCD yourselves” on with my blessing.

So how can you be anxious like me? How can you perfect OCD and SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)? In other words, how can one obsess like me? I’ll give you 5 examples and call it a day:

1.) First thing in the morning, before anything else, check your face for hair. Eh, what the hell,  even away from a mirror feel for it, feel for it, feeeeel for it,  any time your hands aren’t busy and no one’s looking. The checking and pulling are the compulsions. The thinking about it is the obsession. If you’re really good at the anxiety having you’ll take one man’s comments (who is a known asshat) and hold on to it for, what, 5 years or more and make it your “No one will ever love me, why God whyyyyy?! emo soundtrack forever and ever. Fun! Sure your chin hurts, but the price of beauty, right? Y’ou’ll think, “Why couldn’t I hold on to his comment about when I jump in the pool all the water splashes out?” But noooo. You love pizza too much. Oh, and then make sure to blame yourself because you’re you were the lucky 1 in 10,000 that that particular drug stops your period (great for swimming, though).

2.) Believe in the worst case scenario. Always. Your mom late? She’s probably just dead. Found a bump on you? It’s just cancer. Afraid you might go crazy one day? No worries. You’ll probably just become a serial killer. Amazingly enough, though, one’s mind adjusts to the belief that the worst is going to happen, so you handle actual  crises like minor annoyances.

3.) Believe everyone is mad at you or are about to be mad at you and will NEVER forgive you. You’ll try to find an offense in your mind. Sometimes you break down and ask, but you mainly try to hide that you’re that afraid of making someone mad or upset. Case in point: Dude unsubscribes from my blog ( this was in my early days of blogging). What a relief it was to know that he wasn’t mad at me, he just thought my writing sucks! ( I actually think that experience helped me become a better writer, though you wouldn’t know it from this post).

4.) Believe everything bad that happens is somehow in a round about way your fault. A secret gets told. You start to think other people think it was you who told. Then you start wondering yourself if you told the secret somehow. Math problem: 3 people lose their blogs that you follow. If you follow all 3 blogs, why did they lose their blogs ? (Remember to show your work!) Yes, I really believed that somehow it was my fault until someone told me the truth. And the fun thing is I know all that is irrational.

5.) Believe everyone thinks “stuff” about you. You are walking down a hall. You see someone down the hall coming towards you. You’re afraid if you look at him/her, he/she will think you’re staring at him/her. He/she passes you, you say hello, all the while wondering what that person thinks of you.  He’s/ she’s probably wondering who the next person will be to leave Idol, but you believe he’s/she’s busy thinking “There’s that weirdo” or there’s that ‘tard and why is she looking at me?”

Ahhhh, the catharsis of blogging. If any of you need more help being anxious, just let me know and thanks for reading!

29 thoughts on “A is for Anxiety

  1. I would add to that pretty full list every time you lock the car doubt yourself and check it again. And maybe again for good measure. Then sit where you may be and wonder if the car is really locked or if you unlocked it in your frenzy to lock it.


  2. I just want you to know how much I admire your courage and your humor when you for share what you think and what you deal with. You definitely are not your disorder but are so much more than the sum of its parts. I wish for you moments freed from anxiety that somehow grow into larger and larger segments of time.


  3. I already have the worst case scenario one down. Whenever my dogs are sleeping a little TOO still, I poke them to make sure they didn’t die.
    They kind of hate me.
    But I do it out of love!


  4. I agree with Iris, you are more than “just OCD” more than the sum of your parts.

    It would be as bad as being almost perfect but having one fault, but being defined as a person by the one fault instead of all the positive things.
    Ok that’s a nonsensical example because of course no-one is ever that perfect but you get the idea.

    I think the key is to know your faults (don’t we ALL have many!?) and to work on them as best we can but to concentrate on the positive aspects of us as MUCH as we are able so that we are the “best of who we are”.

    Heck I even share Pete’s habit of double checking that the car is locked LOL. Put 100 people in a room and ask what tiny traits each person has and if they are honest the list will be both enormous and very strange.

    None of us would be human without the little foibles that make us unique. Laughing and smiling about them all and accepting that we are human, for better or worse is a great way to be.

    You Lisa have made a head start and are way ahead of the masses who don’t want to admit they have *any* faults… you maybe a less OCD and more of a realist.

    Either way you are in the best of company.. you are have conscience and you have feeling… so BRAVO!


  5. Kudos to kiwidutch!

    “None of us would be human without the little foibles that make us unique. Laughing and smiling about them all and accepting that we are human, for better or worse is a great way to be.”


  6. I love where this commentary is going!

    These thoughts and feelings are well within the normal scope of our mental wandering. They become a ‘disorder’ when they grow out of proportion, like cancerous cells, and cannot be held at bay. We get no help at all with this from the consumerist media machine, which feeds on decay and disease.

    I can’t help but think that the reflective exercise you’re doing by blogging is likely to be helpful. I know it helps me, and I love the ‘friends’ I’ve made in this realm. But because reading and writing others’ words is significantly removed from real-world interaction, some caution is advisable. 🙂


  7. Other people don’t pay as much attention to us as we may think. That sounds negative but, like you said, they’re probably busy thinking about Am. Idol, etc.

    How do you lose a blog? Should I be worried?


  8. I used to be semi-constantly anxious about poverty. It was irrational, because even when I was dead broke and homeless I never ran out of friends to crash with for a few weeks, and I always got right back on the horse and found work.

    Now I have a sort of anxiety about radiating people with the x-ray machine. However, that’s from the process of training. They teach you to always check the settings against the orders and the patient’s chart more than once, so you never image the wrong part or fail to shield the gonads of young people etc. So I feel this “Oh no what if I missed something?” feeling every time just before I hit the trigger. I haven’t actually screwed up, though.


  9. All of us have OCD as some part of our make up, it’s only the degree what we have it to, that differs.

    For most it’s the tiny rational or irrational habit that we do all the time: is the door locked?, is the iron switched off?, which way around does the loo roll go? or the order of the items in the cutlery drawer.

    How far we take it often depends on outside factors, stress, health, our mental state on the day, work pressure, family stuff…

    I don’t think “having OCD” is the problem because we all have it to some degree or other, it’s how well we deal and are willing to help with it (in ourselves and others) that’s more the issue.


  10. Juat remember that nobody can pass on anxiety to you unless you are willing to take it on. You are you and the other person is the other person–even when it is someone you love a lot. We can be supportive, loving, helpful, but maintain our boundaries. It is not easy but it can be done.


  11. I’ve had various forms of mental condition throughout my life. At one stage I was diagnosed with OCD, but with the emphasis on obsession rather than compulsion. I thought I was going to mutilate myself in a particularly horrendous way or that I was going to kill a baby. These obsessions filled me with terror, and, the thought that I might harm somebody else filled me with terrible guilt.

    Over my life I’ve learned that thoughts are only thoughts and that having these gruesome obsessions is part of the structure of repressing perfectly justified feelings of aggression or anger.

    I suspect that fears about terrible thing happening to ourselves or others are similar. We feel aggressive feelings towards ourselves or others, but we feel guilty about having those feelings so, instead of taking responsibility for them, we project them onto the universe, which we feel will inflict some terrible revenge upon us.

    What has helped to liberate me from obsession, at least most of the time, is to embrace my sick fantasies. Watching the movies of my favourite film director John Waters has helped in that. Nothing is too sick for him to express it in his movies, his interviews or his books. So, I think, if it is good for him why not for me.

    It would be presumptuous of me to prescribe a course of action for you. I’m not you and can’t know what your situation is truly like from the inside. But what I can do is to say what I would do if I were having similar difficulties.

    My mother is long dead, but if she were alive and I was having anxiety about terrible things happening to her, I think I would sit down and imagine killing her myself in the most gruesome and sadistic way I could think of. For me there is no more powerful way to get the upper hand and prove to myself that thoughts are just thoughts. For my own situation, the thoughts about killing a baby caused me great anxiety and guilt, but now I would just imagine playing a football game and using an infant instead of the ball. The more ridiculously over the top the fantasy the more liberated I feel from the need to worry about my thoughts, as opposed to my actions. And my actions towards others are bound to be more generous, patient and tolerant for having got all that angst out of my system.


    • I still have harm obsessions but not nearly as bad as when I was a teenager. i don’t want a butcher knife in the house because I was terrified I’d just decide one day to kill somebody. I wouldn’t hurt a fly but the thought of it was enough to scare me. My mom had some d-con once and I asked her to hide it from me lest one day I poison someone. Mom knew it was just frightening thoughts but she hid it to make me feel better. I’ve always been afraid of accidently poisoning people. Happened with animals too. Last summer I had an awful fear I’d suddenly kill a garden spider I loved. I’ve had terrible thoughts of microwaving harmless kittens. The more I like someone or creature the more terror I’d feel.
      Now though I’m mainly afraid of angering or hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry. Harm obsessions aren’t about being angry, it’s because obsessive-compulsives have always worried that inadvertantly they would hurt someone somehow or go crazy. The thoughts are just there to torment.


      • I can’t speak definitively for anyone else, but for me the obsessions were about stoppering anger. It is easier to keep it inside if you have a fantasy of doing harm or going crazy to scare yourself with.

        A book which had a huge impact on me was “The Angry Book” by Theodore Isaac Ruben. One of the things he said is that there are no accidents. If someone “accidentally” runs someone down on the road it is just repressed anger finding a way to express itself. Which is why it is much better to find healthy ways to let anger out, so that we are in control.

        Another story he told was of a patient who said, “Oh, I never get angry. But, you know, I sometimes have these weird ideas about taking a machine gun and mowing people down in the street.”

        Life is full of contrary emotions. Every frustration and every hurt leaves us with aggressive feelings. Either we suppress them, and thus make ourselves mentally ill, or we find a healthy way to let them out. The concept of the loving person who doesn’t want to hurt a fly is lie with which we torture ourselves. If there has ever been such a person, then they were a person who was never hurt or frustrated, or one who found a way of letting out all of their aggressive impulses. But I don’t think I’ve ever met such a person.

        There is nothing wrong with wanting to microwave kittens. There is something wrong with doing it. But owning the thought and realising that we are capable of wanting to do such a thing is important in refusing to be a victim. They are not alien thoughts sent to torment me, they are my thoughts and they are the perfectly justified thoughts of a person who has experienced hurt and the frustration of having to turn that hurt upon themselves instead of finding a free form of expression for it.

        What you say about love is just the experience that I’ve had, that it is the feeling of love which leads to the worst obsessions of doing harm to the loved one. I think this is because we want our feelings of love to be pure, and yet, as long as we are keeping our hurt and our aggressive feelings bottled up, it never can be pure.

        Jung once said that the key to freedom is to recognise that we are capable of both the best things that any human has ever done and the worst and that neither is an illusion. I think he was right. We are capable of laying down our life for others, and we are also capable of torturing and killing our fellows. That’s what it means to be human. To think that we have only the one side to our nature is to torture ourselves unnecessarily.


  12. speaking of, i’m having chest pains and shortness of breath at the moment.

    i’m really hoping it’s anxiety, not a heart attack.

    either way, i should lay off the chips.


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