An Ode to the Anxious: When the Feeling Is All You Know

Anxious is your version of normal.

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This article isn’t about the unnerving feeling that consistently creeps up on you at inopportune moments. It isn’t the racing thoughts, the sweaty palms, or the shortness of breath that we try our hardest to conceal.

This is about our attachment to it all.

Strange as it may sound, anxiety been with us so long that we have involuntarily become addicted to it. We don’t want to accept that it’s part of who we are, but it’s too late for that.

For instance, we may be feeling on top of the world and worry-free at one particular moment, but that unwelcome visitor will always make an appearance.

Are you absolutely positive that there’s nothing you should be stressed out about? Why are you so relaxed right now? Something bad is going to happen any minute.

When we don’t feel anxiety, we oddly miss it. Our brains are desperately searching for something to cling on to — something that we can over-analyze and obsess over, like we are so used to doing.

Anxiety and perfectionism often go hand in hand. In that sense, we feel our best when we are working hard and accomplishing something worthwhile. We would never admit it to ourselves, but our anxiety actually has a large role in helping us persevere.

By triple checking our work, we’re lessening the chance of berating ourselves over committing a small error. By over-preparing for that presentation, we’re mitigating the likeliness of stumbling over our words.

So when we say we wish our anxiety would go away forever, we don’t necessarily mean it. In a way, it’s a critical building block of our personality.

Everybody manages anxiety differently, and the amount that we can effectively handle varies per person. This isn’t to say that we should be more thankful for our anxious tendencies — or conversely, that we should work harder to fight that addiction and allow ourselves to relax.

It’s simply to acknowledge it.

Recognize when you are searching for that anxious feeling, and understand that you are not consciously seeking negative energy. Anxious is your version of normal — and you’re craving that stability, time and time again.

Originally published at

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