A N X I E T Y
There are essentially two different kinds of it. One is focused on a particular event or person, for instance, an impending public presentation, a blind date, a family reunion. The other is often called “free-floating,” and this is the more worrisome kind, because it has no directly traceable cause. You don’t know exactly why you feel this way, but you do. Since you can’t see its beginning, you also can’t see the end of it. It becomes a part of your personality, and people begin to use the word to describe you. Typically, the frequency with which this word is used to describe you is inversely proportional to the number of parties you get invited to. Mothers often use this word to describe their children, but not because the word necessarily applies to the kid. It’s just the best word that the adult can come up with to describe what she thinks is the source of her child’s child-like behavior.
Now, there’s an important distinction that needs to be made here. There’s a difference between having the free-floating kind and just having the focused kind very often. If you get the focused kind very often, well, that makes you a bit neurotic, and it might do you some good to stop worrying about everything, but it’ll pass. The free-floating kind, however, tends to be a feeling, and it goes beyond words. It also tends to get misdirected into all kinds of other feelings. Without even realizing, you’re desperately searching for a cause where there isn’t one. Those are the days when you just seem to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and everything bothers you. The color of your bedroom. The fact that you have to shave. Your commute. The commuters. Etcetera.
So, ask yourself: Am I really feeling this? Why? If you can come up with an answer to this question, great. Maybe you can work on alleviating some of that feeling. Practice your presentation. Come up with stories to tell your aunts and uncles at the family reunion. Hell, practice for that date. Maybe it’s a whole long list of things. Sure, that’s scary, but at least you’ve got your list, right?
If you can’t come up with an answer to the question, the only option is to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Maybe you watched a really, really strange movie last night and couldn’t fall asleep, and that’s the reason you’ve got this tension inside you. Maybe you’re anxious because you’re assuming that you have control over something you don’t. In any case, just recognize that there’s no real point in having a feeling for the sake of a feeling.
Now, I’m not saying I’ve been feeling this way lately. I’ve just got this website, and along with it this rule about writing something every day. So, a little Psychology 101 mixed with some personal relevance mixed with a fast keyboard, and this is what you get. This one got away from me pretty fast, but I kind of like it.