Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash

I’ve been pondering what my anxiety is like, and what it needs. Its part of what I hope will teach me how to control that fucker a bit.

In addition to being a reflection of my needs and fears, anxiety is a symptom of a mistaken need/desire to control the world around me. I’ll try to explain what I mean, as the reasoning is a bit circular. I like to be in control. I’m certifiably type A, and I have an obnoxious overabundance of executive functioning. I have checklists and checklists of my checklists. I am an attorney where details matter. I am good at what I control.

However, if I go down a layer, I think my need to control is rooted in my terror of uncertainty, and a false belief that if I can control everything, bad things will not happen to me. My rational mind knows that this is not the case- that I am one of a billion forces in the world that set things into motion. Not to mention the panoply of the divine which I cannot even comprehend. But anxiety hijacks this perspective, and makes me feel like the world’s plate spinner and puppeteer. Its cerebro-narcissism at its finest.

Let’s go down another layer. Control is also rooted in my abandonment issues. I am terrified of losing the people I love. Control manifests itself here by a belief that my fundamental unworthiness/wrongness/badness is the reason for all that happens to me, and will bring about the abandonment that I fear. My mind mistakenly believes that if I am truly myself, that I will lose all I hold dear; or if I contort myself into the shape others want, that I will keep them forever. Control is a place to hide. The logic is flawed of course, and rationally why would I want to keep those that do not treasure my essence? But we aren’t dealing with rationality here.

I’m not sure what awareness of these patterns is going to do, but I hope over time, it can lessen the intensity of these feelings. I am experimenting with meditation and having some encouraging results. I am cautiously optimistic.

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