Anxiety Fear Nervousness Oh My

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Is the emotion you feel on the first day of school the same feeling you get “during” a car accident? If not, than what are these feelings I am asking about. I am talking about anxiety and fear, about why they are assumed to be the same when they are truly quite different. Fear is what you feel when you are surrounded by eminent danger; where as anxiety is the reaction to anticipating something new or very important in your life. In comparison, what emotion do you feel more frequently?

Anxiety, in my opinion, is a very real feeling in today’s world compared to the lesser feeling of fear. Excluding the extremes of everyday thrill seekers and people who suffer from various anxiety disorders, the everyday person will experience some level of anxiety on a daily basis. Fear is felt when you are faced with real danger and who can say that happens to them on a daily basis? In other words, our anxiety levels are fairly high and our levels of fear are fairly low. At least that is how mine are.

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From my personal experience and of people I know, anxiety is everywhere. It occurs at different times and levels for everyone, but we all feel it. I can give numerous examples. My husband works third shift and is gone all night. We live in town and I am quite safe, yet I cannot help, but jump at the floor squeaking or trees brushing the roof. That is anxiety. I feel anxious about what could happen, but is not actually taking place. I get queasy before school or trips out of town. I feel anxious about what could go wrong. Most people would say I am on the high end of the anxiety level. On the other hand, my husband feels very little anxiety. Things that would make me sweaty and nervous, have him saying, “No problem!”. As I stated before there are different levels, but anxiety is a part of almost all our daily lives. Fear, though, is struck in us hopefully very rare.

Going back to the previous example of floors squeaking, if an intruder did enter my home, I would cower in my closet in fear. I would fear the real and eminent danger to my son, our property, and myself. There have been only a handful of times I have felt this kind of fear. About two years ago I was in a fairly dangerous car accident. When returning to Houghton, Michigan from Crandon, Wisconsin one night with my now husband, we came around a sharp corner to encounter a deer in the road. I locked up the brakes and for what seemed like hours time that passed I was in complete fear of the danger we were in. Fortunately everything, but the car was in good shape. This about sums up the fear in my life. Of course there are those who feel fear on a more regular basis, but I feel it would be a stretch to say that most people feel fear in their day-to-day life. Between anxiety and fear, anxiety is still the feeling that rules our lives.

Ruling our lives is a very bold statement to say the least. We would like to think that we control our own lives. To a certain extent I disagree with that. Anxiety is a huge part of my life. I had anxiety about coming back to school this year. I had been out for a while and it made me very nervous to think about going back. Anxiety ruled my life to the extent that I was not even sure I was going to go through with it. Everyday we may keep ourselves from doing new things because of anxiety. There are several other occasions in my life where anxiety has ruled. I have had anxious feelings toward a new job and trying new things. Three times out of ten I have conquered the anxiety and conquered whatever new thing was going on. Many times though I have not been able to do this. When my husband and his friends decided to go sky diving, I was so nervous and anxious I could not even go. Most of my day-to-day routine is controlled by anxiety. On some school days I get nervous and may spend more time in the bathroom than on a morning I do not have school. What it comes down to is anxiety is a big part of my life.

Through my personal experiences and general knowledge of anxiety and fear, I hope I have clarified the difference between the two. I have found it quite hard to do as almost every book or magazine you come across seems to have anxiety and fear as the same thing. Most definitions of anxiety use fear and vice versa. How do I explain this? Anxiety and fear are very closely related and much of the same feelings are involved. Let us not forget though, that fear deals with real danger and anxiety with imaginary. In closing, I would just like to say that anxiety and fear are different and between the two, anxiety is the more prominent feeling in today’s world.


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