Fear Versus Anxiety

Tuesday November 9, 2021

I have heard fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Another acronym is [email protected]$!# Everything And Run, or a better alternative; Face Everything And Recover.

Fear and anxiety are not always the same thing to me, which might sound strange to some. I have anxiety about the what ifs and possible boogeymen lurking in the shadows sometimes, anxiety over anything unknown or unseen. Yet as soon as an object appears in front of me I barge ahead and face it head on. People have praised me: “You don't seem to be afraid of anything." Yet there are times when absolute terror would save me, like my phobia of poisonous reptiles. I would flee before I was fatally bitten. 

Anxiety is the circular what ifs that rotate endlessly in my head. Nothing negative has ever happened because my anxious thoughts predicted or concocted the event, so what benefit is there to ruminating and worrying? It feels productive in some ways, but that reward is like the false evidence that fear represents. 

I have learned irritability is my ill coping mechanism for anxiety, and take it as a signal that it is time to take the prescribed medication. The other thing is feeling rushed without there actually being any need for it; that is my other big cue that I am getting anxious. 

Our Moodscope cards have both afraid and scared as emotions, which at one time I thought were one and the same, and I usually score them the same. 

Sometimes I think of emotions as paint colors, like the character Blanche Devereux on the Golden Girls once described her mood; "I'm feeling Magenta today." Two paint shades sitting side by side may almost look alike but be slightly different. 

It helps to pinpoint them as closely as possible to make them manageable. After all, to quote Dr. Phil:"You cannot change what you do not acknowledge." And maybe it is easier to change what you recognize once you recognize it specifically. 

Someone once told me:"Courage is not the absence of fear but feeling the fear and doing it anyway." Only I think they said it more poetically, but in other words "face your fears and they will flee."

A Moodscope member.

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