Thursday, August 18, 2011

Long live the anxious!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Daily Mail, for validating 27 years of anxiety-riddled freak outs, crazy spells, panic attacks, and crying jags. Apparently all the worrying I thought for sure would kill me before 40, might, just might, make me live longer. The hyper-vigilant state I call my life -- where at any second I expect a gun-wielding stranger to attack me or a metro train to jump the tracks -- might actually be keeping me alive. (Though that doesn't explain the stress ulcer currently residing on my gums.)

And the idea that being awkward and antisocial might also make me live longer? I'd be dancing for joy in the streets were I not so awkward and antisocial. (And also a truly terrible dancer.)

Now, for a few article highlights.

"A new study by Israeli scientists has discovered that those who avoid close relationships and are more anxious are better at sensing danger than those who are more secure."
Can I print this on a business card and distribute on dates? "I avoid close relationships in order to better sense danger. So, really, it's not you, it's me. As in, it's me trying to prevent a shark from devouring you."

"Between 50 and 60 per cent of us are secure; avoidant and anxious types make up the remaining portion of the population in equal parts."
Wait. A. Minute. There is no way in hell 50 to 60 percent of the population is "secure." No. Way. In. Hell.

"Scientists believe that being anxious and avoidant actually boosts levels of self-dependence.
'Someone who is avoidant, with respect to attachment, is likely to value his or her self-sufficiency more than others. They are uncomfortable depending on others, opening up to them, or having others depend on them,' R. Chris Fraley, an associate psychology professor at the University of Illinois, told the site."
Anxious and avoidant=independence. That's really all I needed to know.

"'Someone who is anxious is generally less confident than others that their loved ones will be responsive and available during times of duress.'"
No funny joke because it's true that this is an actual anxious thought I've had and it's just really sad. However, considering how many of my loved ones are also emotional basketcases, I'm actually more confidence after this article that they have my back.

"The new data goes against the grain in terms of choosing social groups, Fraley told the site: 'If I were in a position to choose my friends from scratch, I would probably choose people who are relatively secure and well-adjusted.'"
Disagree. I like my friends to be just as much, if not more, fucked up than I am. No one likes normal, well-adjusted friends. Unless you are normal and well adjusted and, in that case, you're probably boring.

"Rather, the study...shows that, far from being an awkward addition to a social group and despite their insecurity, 'highly anxious and avoidant people have the potential to contribute to group dynamics in beneficial ways -- especially with respect to detecting and reacting to threats that put everyone in the group at risk,' Fraley said."
Do you hear that, friends? For every rambling, irrationally anxious email I send, that's one less dangerous situation you have to fear because I'm on it.

Have to run and get to bed so I can have anxiety dreams or, as I'm now calling them, life-lengthening rehearsals.

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