Anxiety: Have You Ever Felt Safe?

May 10, 2011 Kate White

Have you ever felt safe?

Maybe that seems like a stupid question, and if it does, consider yourself lucky is about all I can say. My therapist asked me something like it once, and I ended up triggered, taking a 20 minute tangent via Intellectuals 'R Us to pick up a freakin' clue.

Look hard enough at most things in modern life and they are pretty scary.

Panic: Life = risk?

Life = risk? Is that as good as things get?? Well, catastrophizing ever so slightly less, life = many things but in amongst them, inevitably, is an element of risk.

That's the element they don't teach you about in Chem101 except to remind you that things will probably go boom if you do not follow the directions.

So you follow directions, and learn to take instructions, and hope things don't go boom. They tend to, after all it's a universal law: Murphy and me, we're buds.

Trying to rationally explain why things go wrong is something people almost can't help but do. I like explanations, even if I have to get creative; Sometimes I think I feel anxiety because it's so difficult to explain the world any other way.


Because life doesn't make sense -and what else should I do with all the times someone else didn't follow the directions, or I missed a step?

Ultimately, I'm not anxious because of risk

That's what anxiety and PTSD feel like to me- like I missed a step. Like when you think you know how many stairs there are, and you get to the bottom, only to find out you're wrong. Really quite wrong, actually.

Which feels less great each and every time it happens, and that fills the life = risk equation up with certainty, possibly dread.

I'm most likely to be anxious because of the risks I don't take, than those I do (Those are fears conquered, or at least laid aside).

And because I've looked at the world and divided it so very neatly, already, in my head.

People with panic disorders do not feel safe

This kind of a relationship to life isn't very stable but it is reliable. It's not the kind where one can take anything for granted except the fact that you will be terribly, terribly afraid.

The one thing known and sure is anxiety, stress; A partner with all the elegance and tact of semi-automatic weaponry. But, er, at least it's there for me?

At least I know it won't leave me stranded. That's a little worrying: just how certain I am of that.

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, May 10). Anxiety: Have You Ever Felt Safe?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 19 from

Author: Kate White

Kate White
June, 14 2011 at 9:42 am

hi marty,
yeah, i agree. external uncertainty isn't ever going to alleviate anxiety. i guess i'm really just saying i'd like to internalise less of the uncertainty that's generated by that outside stuff, because i already have enough going on inside without it. i don't know how realistic that is because as you point out, it certainly isn't easy. and i don't think sticking my head in the sand is the way to go about it.
i was reading recently that the people who deal with PTSD most effectively tend to be people that can take their fear/trauma/worry/stress and make some meaning from all that. (usually in terms of advocacy or something similar) that makes sense to me but i am also well aware anxiety can be so truly overwhelming that this isn't possible or realistic for everybody.
so i wonder if those people who are able to transform their anxiety that way aren't already a little more resilient somehow? -chicken or the egg argument there.
frankly i think what would help is if there were more people willing to face their fears along with us. "watch sports" sure isn't the answer, and i'm sorry it has cost you in terms of relationships. i can relate.

June, 14 2011 at 7:51 am

While I agree that anxiety may seem an unreasonable fear, the uncertainty of life or the world in current day(s) does little to alleviate fear/anxiety. I have too many associates/friends who tell me I worry to much. Well, maybe, but their continued ignoring things drives me nuts. I am told, "watch sports", or "change happens and there 'ain't' nuttin you can do" I find myself avoiding these folks which narrows my world, alas, more reclusive behavior. In the face of insane heads of state around our world, I would love to put my head in the sand. But, that is not something I am good at.

Dr Musli Ferati
May, 23 2011 at 6:49 am

The reality even in appearance looks very neatly, it is more complex and contradictory issue. It depends of oneself points of view upon daily events that tangle in our life global functionality. These views determine generally our activity and reaction at same life's difficulties. Meanwhile, this colours our emotional state, which may be anxious or placid. It is well-known fact that anxious persons have an doubtful standpoint on others, because they think that the world is overload with many dangerous things and threatening events as well. Amongst others causes that anxious people have unreasonable fear, it is their inability to see the world with others eye. Shortly, this phenomenon in psychology is known as dereality. In order to decrease this insidious fear, anxious psychiatric patient should to change their conception on reality, that presents the sum of views to every person in social milieu. By me, this statement is a promise starting point in reaching the sense of self-confidence as main prerequisite of healthy mental life.

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