Good and Bad Anxiety

I think people generally think of anxiety as a feeling towards negative things. You usually experience it when there’s something bad you’re worrying about. In the case of people who have an anxiety disorder–anxiety often enough and to the extent that it causes issues–this is also the most frequent way it presents itself. But the word anxious also refers to that feeling of “earnest desire; eagerness,” and I somehow just realized the other day that when you have problems with anxiety it really does go both ways.

I’ve always had this and I think it happens more than I realize, I just don’t group it together with the bad anxiety because my body’s responses are different. When I am having bad anxiety–the kind that leads to an anxiety attack–it causes that choking can’t breathe feeling, like my heart is being squeezed, vomiting, and stomach cramps. When it’s because of a good thing, something I’m eager about, it causes a stomach ache, a rushing head feeling, and a fluttery feeling, like my heart is racing so fast it’s going to jump out of my throat.

In both cases I think the main issue is the obsessive thoughts; it’s the only constant. Whatever is causing the anxiety will not get out of my head. It is HARD to distract myself and break anxiety. If it’s into attack mode, I just really have to let it run its course (unless it’s a social anxiety attack, which is yet another thing, but I digress). It really, in all cases, just takes some time and effort to redirect my thinking and, especially in the case of “good anxiety,” let things settle.

P.S. You know what, I’m tired of the great lack of resources for parents who are the ones struggling with various mental functioning difference disordery type issues.  It currently seems like a good idea for me to try and steer things that direction and blog here about my experiences and maybe make sense of it.  Who knows if that will ever happen.  I’m always having sudden interests or ideas that 2 days later I’m like meh.  We shall see.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kirsty Karlsson
    Jan 11, 2015 @ 16:00:41

    I find that insight really interesting — and a practical way to tell the difference between the symptoms of excitement versus fear. Do you find that it helps to sometimes observe “bad” anxiety, and accept it rather than fighting it?


    • Shan
      Jan 11, 2015 @ 16:04:29

      Yes! In the last few years I actually would say I have a bit of an easier time dealing with the bad anxiety when I accept it. Expecting it and allowing and not trying to fight it I do think gives a better perspective, one that will allow things to sort of blow over sooner than later and not be as intense.


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