Anxiety

Anxiety, the word signifies a weak form of fear. To be faced with the prospect of terminal cancer which gives one but six months to live brings fear. Yet anxiety, this only needs the slightest cause, like having too many emails, or spilling a bit of lunch on your shirt before a meeting. Real fear has really fearful objects; it is the topic of horror movies, and in the modern world only our worst imaginations. What is there to fear in the United States of America (God bless us)? Very little. So why bother talking about such a minor concern. The question needs no question mark because there is no possible answer. We needn’t bother talking about anxiety.

And yet, there may be one amongst us to demur. With his fist clenched and jaw drawn tight, to object has been the bravest achievement of his month, or perhaps his year—note the upturned chin signifying self-respect, even hope. White lines of rage softly pulse from his forehead. Though he cannot quite put it into words, he might say that it is a mistake to suppose that it is only the object of fear that is worth considering, perhaps also the experience. For him anxiety is not a weak form of fear, but rather an invisible one. He would say (if he could) that anxiety thunders with full intensity, like the creeping terror which swallowed lives and livelihoods on the frail coasts of Japan, but in a world where television and live streams do not exist. Anxiety is the colossal pain which manifests itself only in the soft white lines of rage upon his brow. And it is just this invisibility which comprises anxiety’s double curse. Internal pain is hell, but doubly when no one learns of it. So in his rage he softly says, “anxiety is…” His thought breaks off. But perhaps he has completed it? Anxiety is. And this is just the point the man has wished to make. The fact that anxiety is, that it is the creeping, full forced, and invisible terror, is enough to force us to ask, what release can be found? It was hope that led this man to speak. But it was rage in fearing that he dare not hope that cut him off. Where can hope be firmly placed? How can it be ingested? How can it be believed? When this question begins to sing with longing and with promise, perhaps only then have you understood anxiety. And perhaps, then, you have begun to stand, to hope.

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