Psychology Magazine

I Am a Sad Sack of Anxious Genes

By Neuroamer @Neuroamer

I am a sad sack of anxious genes

They say the best pilots in times of peace, aren’t the best as in times of war. It’s called the Yerkes-Dodson law — people function optimally at a certain level of stress, but that level depends on the person. I can barely step on a plane, let alone imagine piloting one. I’m just not wired for anything more stressful than a “high stakes” standardized test.

I’m a sad sack of anxious genes. A cowardly convergence of two lines of pacifists, with genes that never would’ve survived a war. Genes that created a brain so tightly wound, I can’t even take SSRIs, the mainstay of treatment for anxiety.

I kept thinking I would grown up and this would go away. But here I am, thiry and avoidant avoidant — unable to handle conflict, confrontation, even just someone else’s disappointment.

It feels like I’m supposed to keep on taking on more responsibility, to get busier and busier, and then add kids on top of that.

But I just want to shrink away, shirk all responsibility and live a “simple life.” A simple life that never really existed and never really will. But I also know that such a life would bore me and even at times in my life where I’ve had little responsibility these feelings didn’t go away.

At the same time, I’m doing fine. Learning new things, meeting expectations, working hard.

In the words of Fred Shero, I’m a duck — calm above the water, and paddling like hell underneath.

And I’m sure everyone to some extent feels this way. But to what extent? To my extent? And if they felt the way I do, what would they do?

That I’ll never know.

I should probably start doing CBT again.

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