My Fears Vs. My Anxiety
While they may seem the same, to a person with anxiety, the difference between fear versus anxiety are huge. My fears occur naturally all of the time, but my anxiety occurs during unusually mundane situations.
As a guest at my friend’s wedding, I was suddenly stricken by anxiety’s unforgiving grip. I felt the need to run away and escape. My wedding guest anxiety flipped on and off throughout the night. In contrast to this wedding, I was a bridesmaid in another wedding and feared for the worst since my anxiety had hit me so hard at the last wedding.
Standing in line awaiting my time to walk down the aisle, I have a momentary pang of anxiety. My anxiety quickly subsided as I heard other bridesmaids expressing their own fears. Funny how their fears made me laugh off my anxiety. When other people are feeling scared or anxious, I am easily able to brush off my own anxieties.
In another instance I had gone cliff jumping in Italy. Peer pressure and perhaps the temptation to push myself to my limits were the motivating factors. As a person terrified of heights, fear overcame me. My body shook uncontrollably as I wandered up the cliffside. Tears streamed down my face as I realized just how high up I was. Eventually, I jumped and the fear subsided. In contrast to this fearful moment in my life came a horrible panic attack at work. I perhaps had a bit more caffeine than usual, but it was a normal day otherwise. Without any warning, I felt the anxiety swell up inside. A panic made me leap to my feet and walk quickly to the bathroom. I shut myself in the small room and tried to collect myself. One moment I was using photoshop; the next moment I was overcome with anxiety. What was the trigger? I guess I will never know.
So what is the difference between fear and anxiety? Both seem uncontrollable. Both are uncomfortable. But when it comes to fear versus anxiety, there really is no comparison; anxiety is worse. With fear you usually know the source and can often avoid it. Anxiety hits you like a bus in the most random of moments. Anything can be a trigger and you never know when it will occur. You can run from your fears, but you definitely cannot hide from your anxiety.