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When a Simple Question Can Bring on a Spiral of Anxiety

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It all starts with a question. Doesn’t have to be anything specific — just something big enough to send you spiraling. Like for instance, when someone wants to video chat with you. Or when a loved one asks what you want for dinner. Or when a stranger approaches you to ask for directions. Or when your boss asks if you can handle the pressure and you’re smiling but inside is chaos.

It’s like all of a sudden you’re lost in the middle of the ocean in the middle of a hurricane and you aren’t quite sinking but every now and then your head dips just enough under water to remind you death could happen at any time. Except in everyday life these questions don’t usually cause death – or any harm for that matter. Usually a person would just answer the question, but suddenly it’s like someone just asked you to give them the meaning of life at gunpoint.

I think in some way, wires got crossed in our brains and suddenly they think answering these questions is life or death. Suddenly saying whether or not you want steak is like telling a bank robber you can’t give them what they want.

Unfortunately I don’t have a solution for these situations – but I think it’s important to know you’re not alone. We’re not alone. There are others out there who can relate, and maybe you don’t know them but they understand.

We understand.

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Thinkstock photo by Transfuchsian

Originally published: February 2, 2017
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