I think about this question often. I mean, we tend to frame our disorders with war-based terminology: I’m battling agoraphobia. John is struggling with panic disorder lately. Casey struggles from social anxiety disorder and gains ground every time he makes a telephone call. Amy is fighting her PTSD in an attempt to resume a normal life after fighting in Iraq.
This kind of semantic habit isn’t limited to anxiety disorders, of course. We use war-based metaphors for so many illnesses: depression, the common cold, cancer…the list goes on for miles. Miles upon which an infantry of other illnesses can march.
So, how can we ever embrace anxiety — or any other illness, for that matter — when we view the illness as the enemy?
Is there anything to gain from re-framing our perspective and viewing anxiety through the lens of a different metaphor? What if we view anxiety not as an enemy, but a friend? A tool? A measuring device?
Do you think it’s possible to become grateful for our anxious suffering? Can we learn from it? Is it just a painfully uncomfortable downer or can it help us to grow?
Can anxiety do anything fruitful for us? Can it save us? Can it cure us from something else? Can it inform us? Can it listen to us?
Does an anxiety disorder always have to be a bad thing?
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Last reviewed: 28 Jun 2012