Fear and Anxiety

It's been awhile since I posted. I've seen this happen to other blogs before. After a run of furious posting, the posts start trickling out a bit more slowly, then they just stop. Without becoming part of a larger dialogue, these things are just on-line diaries. And at the end of the day, when you're done with work and you've finally just gotten home, what do you really want to do? Spend a half hour writing a post that no one will read, or make yourself a nice dinner, watch some television, and then try and get your girlfriend to take off her clothes?

Anyway, I had a thought this morning. Incredible, I know.

I'm not entirely sure why I was thinking about this, but it struck me how people are always trying to find someone/something to blame for the problems that they see. I think the reason for this is pretty intuitive. When a specific problem can be attributed to a particular source, it's much easier to deal with. You can isolate the problem and work towards a solution, or at least dismiss it in some way.

When you don't know what the problem is, it suddenly becomes far more insurmountable. Without having a clear target to attack, it's harder to control whatever it is that's bothering you. You have less predictive power over when the anxiety will strike and this only makes things worse. 'Sourceless' problems like these seem to be what cause people to become deeply depressed and/or generally unhappy.

Some time ago, I read about a distinction between fear and anxiety. It categorized problems with identifiable sources as fears and the others as anxiety. I wish I could remember what article it was, because it was kind of neat if you're into keen word-mincing.

In any case, what I was thinking about this morning is how there's probably a very strong inclination to blame one's problems on the first plausible source, especially if you're possessed of a Type A personality and have a borderline compulsive need to do something about it. By blaming something else, it's a quick and virtually costless way of regaining a bit of control and composure.

Obviously, you can't just blame anything. Blaming your insurmountable feelings of inertia on a cheeseburger you ate in 9th grade won't ring true enough to pass even the weakest of internal dialogues.

That being said, I think the problem with this approach to regaining control is that it focuses too much on identifying the problem and not enough on solving it. In some cases, identifying the reason that the problem arose won't lead to a solution. For instance, if you're driving on a highway and your direction-giver doesn't tell you about your exit until it's too late, identifying that person as the problem isn't going to fix the fact that you now have to find a way to turn around and get back to that exit.

Ok, that's all.



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