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Facing Anxiety About Things Going Well

rollercoastercrpdThings are going well.

I have a new writing job which is going to give me a little bit of a buffer money-wise, I found a great apartment which I’m moving into in July, and I have a date with a nice girl on Sunday.

Why then, do I feel so anxious?

I think this is a problem for a lot of folks out there.

When things start to go well, the pit in their stomach starts to swell a bit.

I don’t know if referring to it as butterflies is apt because it feels darker than that. In talking about it with friends it’s been labeled as excitement but I don’t think that’s right either.

I think the crux of it is that over time I’ve become a bit cynical and have come to expect the worst from things. That’s not because I’m bitter, it’s a self-coping mechanism I’ve taken on to protect myself from things not going the way I wish they would. Essentially if I expect the worst, I’m able to prepare myself for the letdown, which may or may not happen. Instead of getting emotionally invested in something, hoping upon hope that it will work out, and the inevitable crash when it doesn’t, preparing yourself for the worst seems better somehow.

In that though, I think my anxiety about things going well stems from the nagging belief that they will, eventually, fall apart.

I don’t know how or when they’ll fall apart but it’s become habit for me to expect that result even if things seem promising.

A great thing about living with a mental illness though is that even when things go bad, which sometimes they do, it doesn’t seem to affect me near as much as it seems to affect normal people.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that dealing with demons day-in day-out makes you mentally strong.

There are still times though when I face failure or rejection and they still hurt.

I guess what I’m saying is that when things are going well I have the lingering notion, hanging there in my mind that things are going to come crashing down around me and although I’ve, to a degree, tried to insulate myself from the hurt of that happening, it still has a pretty big effect on me when things don’t work out.

So what do I do when things are going well? When I’m anxious that they’ll fall apart? Same thing I do when things actually have fallen apart. I just ride it out. I hold on and see the circumstance through to the end.

Life is a rollercoaster and that’s an understatement, things can get really good and they can get really bad and pretty much the only thing you can do is just enjoy the ride.

Stress relief tactics work well when you’re in the midst of anxiety or a crisis or whatever but being able to see the grand scheme, seeing the fact that in a year none of what’s happening now will have an effect on things can give you some serious perspective.

For now, as things are on an upswing I’m going to just try to quell the anxiety I feel by giving myself time and rest, and taking care of myself which is the best thing I can do and I guess we’ll see where this all goes.

Roller coaster photo available from Shutterstock

Facing Anxiety About Things Going Well

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Facing Anxiety About Things Going Well. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Apr 2015
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