So I have made some changes in my life. I think (maybe?!) I am ok with those decisions. But yesterday afternoon I had an anxiety attack. I know the signs and I know how to get through it without too much pain. I have strong physical symptoms (shaking and a sense of confusion) but breathing and being “real” normally restore some sense of balance.
I was reflecting on fear and anxiety. I once heard a sermon that stated (with much authority) that anxiety is just a stronger form of fear. It went on to speak about anxiety as a choice that people make and they can make an equal choice to simply not fear. I really struggle with that thought and the theology that backs it. In one sense, my anxiety is a physical response to chemicals in my head. In another sense, my anxiety is not like my fear.
In my experience anxiety is unfocused. Fear has an object – I am afraid of mice! But my anxiety is a general feeling of foreboding. It is not a fear of something but simply the feeling of being afraid. And, unlike my fear of mice from which I can walk away (that is, the mice), my anxiety is something inside me from which I cannot simply walk away.
So I am stuck with me. And that is the fundamental problem – me. Maybe at the root, my anxiety is all about my fear of people working out who I am? Or maybe it is simply my fear of me working out who I am? No matter what happens in life, one problem remains – me.