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Anxiety and the Fear of the Future


“What is anxiety?”

When I hear those words, I panic… it’s what I do. Then I think (that’s also what I do). I respond, “Well, it’s having no desire to go to sleep because then I’ll have to wake up and face tomorrow. It’s thinking too much about things.” Once that conversation is over, I remember things I should have said. I think of things more in depth and go back to them or have that conversation again like a broken record, but anxiety, to me, is the fear of the future. When you have a fear of the future, you think about everything that could happen even if it’s impossible. Fearing the future is saying “just in case” a million times a day.

I also have a fear of the past and deal with depression. I fear past events, anxious that my past problems or days or anything from the past could shape me or set a reputation for me.

Fearing the past and fearing the future are difficult when you’re stuck in the present day. Top that all off with high school — the “greatest” days of my life. The endless visits to the counselors to tell them again and again I don’t need them to pull me out of class. Teachers knowing I’m depressed or anxious and feeling bad for me because I’m crying and don’t know why. Classmates staring because I look like a kiss up.

I think I will forever fear the future, and that’s OK. Fearing the future is anxiety. So, next time someone asks me, “What is anxiety?” I can continue to try and explain it until they pretend to understand, or I can simply tell them, “well, it’s my fear of the future.”

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Thinkstock photo by Sjale