Yesterday, I wrote about fear and/or anxiety, and received lots of helpful comments from readers.
Thank you, wonderful readers!
Last night, I had an anxiety dream.
In a typical anxiety dream, I am thwarted from doing something I need/want/desire to do, no matter how I try. In last night’s dream, all sorts of obstacles arose, keeping me from a real-life, highly anticipated event, later this morning. At 9:30 AM today, I am having brunch with:
- my long-time friend Lawry, whom I’ve known since 7th grade,
- Lawry’s family, including his daughter, who just graduated a very prestigious local university,
- Deborah, my beloved ESIL (which stands for Ex-Sister-in-Law), and
- Aaron, my son.
In my anxiety dream(s) last night — which seemed to last all friggin’ night, but probably lasted minutes in real-time — I kept running into all sorts of unexpected barriers preventing me from ever getting to the brunch. Along the way, various people involved were disappointed or angry with me, too.
That, in summary, describes my anxiety scenarios (whether awake or dreaming).
I’m assuming that you, too, have had anxiety dreams like those, at some point in your life, about important connections or tasks (like a test at school).
I loved that scene when I first saw it, and I’m loving it, again, today.
Why? For one thing, it demonstrates the point of this post.
This post has a point? Yes, it does, and the point is in the title: One possible function of anxiety. One possible function of anxiety is … it sure feels great when we let go of it.
Indeed, our real, current circumstances — even if they actually involve pain and danger — can feel like a relief, in comparison.
Now, I need to get ready for my highly-anticipated brunch — which may include challenges and glitches (e.g., meeting up with my ESIL and with my son who is away at an over-night AND getting to the brunch on time) but NOTHING compared to the outrageous slings, arrows, and whippings I suffered last night in my dream.
As Val Kilmer said, in Top Secret, “Thank God.”
Before I end, I wanted to quote from some of the amazing comments from yesterday’s post:
I think anxiety and fear are closely related. I did think that the word anxiety derived from anxious, which can sometimes be related to an intense sense of excitement/mixed with impatience which is not really fear. Or maybe it is and you fear the time will never come and thus get anxious!
…your gathering fear is really more a fear of dispersal, if that makes sense. Which is, in many ways, the most primary fear when it comes to things, people, circumstances, etc. we love.
I often look back on times in my life and think, I’d have enjoyed that a lot more if I hadn’t been worrying about what could go wrong.
I read somewhere, maybe even here, I can’t remember: that people who are anxious are living in the future and people who are sad are living in the past. That has stuck with me since I’ve read it.
There’s a difference between real danger and fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are created in our minds but to our body it reacts in the same way as real danger. A continuous fight or flight response coming from being anxious about a possible future outcome, causes stress and dis-ease.
Its our thinking that takes over, rather than the actual reality in the present moment. When we are anxious our mind literally beats us up…..
… I believe that fear and anxiety are about the future, albeit sometimes rooted in the past. That is a past trauma may make us anxious about it happening again in the future. Val is right about separating a real danger from a perceived danger but that is not altogether easy…even for real fears, we do need to stop ‘worrying’ about them and instead DO something about those things that require action.
And I’ll end with this one:
In the beginning when you asked “what is this post about? Well, so far we know it is about fear and metaphors”… Yeah, I had no idea that was what it was going to be about! I’ve learned not to try and find a point so early in your posts! Sounds like you are learning to let go of fear (not crediting the picture, hurting other peoples feelings) and I wish you well. I can only imagine how much better life will feel when you don’t have so much fear and anxiety hanging onto you!
I can only imagine that too, Kate. It seems like … a dream come true.
Thanks to Lawry, his family, Deborah, my son, Val Kilmer, Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker, all my eminently quotable readers (including those I didn’t quote today), and to you — of course! — for dreaming here with me.