F ChannelAlissa: Anxiety Addiction - Are You Stuck?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Anxiety Addiction - Are You Stuck?

So how many of us are aware that when we're feeling nervous or anxious, we're likely holding our breath?

What about growing up in situations (or Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACE]) where being quick-witted and ready-for-anything was a good attribute?

What about situations where you are "the fast actor" and are able to access adrenaline to get through difficult short-term experiences?

From a different perspective, you might be addicted to anxiety. Yep, I said what I said.

Anxiety is a body response to stress stimuli. Sounds simple enough, but the process of prolonged stress in environments changes your brain structures and neural pathways. Sometimes people present with anxiety because of a single situation (near death experience, car accident, etc.) and begin noticing that they have symptoms (heart palpitations, sweaty palms, feeling "frozen", dissociation, etc.) but often aren't aware of the exactly how much they're accessing their adrenaline. Adrenaline gives us extra energy boosts in situations perceived as unsafe by our bodies and minds, which can be a great, life-saving thing, sometimes allowing temporary "superhuman" strength and abilities.

What happens though, when you live in a constant state of some form of fight-or-flight? C-PTSD (Complex posttraumatic stress disorder) is a term gaining traction for people who grew up or were exposed to environments that were unsafe, codependent, or abusive in some way, where the person was unable to "get over" or accept trauma before being presented with additional, ongoing triggers. Of course, there are full definitions (and believe me, I am cheapening that in this essay for brevity), but you can find more about C-PTSD and treatment here.

What happens when we "hold onto" old memories, or access feelings from a past situation that allows for us to stimulate ourselves into fight or flight? Is there some link to "phantom/mystery" body illnesses, such as fybromyalgia? Who would it benefit to avoid making that link and connection? Who would want to keep human beings in a fight-or-flight response? What does this benefit? For the interest of this article, I'm looking at the angle of human behavior and motivation; the two most powerful and motivating feelings that we emobdy are hope and fear. Is there some long-term benefit to keeping human beings in a fear response? What, if any, benefit does this have for our evolution?

When human beings are in balance in relation to mental and physical health, creativity flourishes. With rest, human beings flourish. What benefit is there to keeping human beings on this "hamster wheel" of anxiety and adrenaline? Wouldn't this be counterintuitive and counteractive to furthering our society? What is the goddamn problem here where it is a "badge of honor" to work yourself to death and brag about it? What if this is holding back our society as a whole? Where could human beings be in scientific breakthroughs without living under constraints to beat your neighbor to gather more plastic stuff? What if "competition" wasn't something sold and bannered as "the American Dream"? Sure, the government has us believing that allowing a society to rest would "make everyone lazy", but just like the bullshit that "Trickle Down Economics" always was, what if this is opposite the truth?

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