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Why anxiety strikes and what we can really do about it

Why does anxiety strike and what can we do about it? What are the triggers for anxiety? (And there are always triggers.)

The other day I was thinking about the cause and effect of something. I can’t even remember what it was now.

But as I continued to think about it, I applied my thoughts to anxiety and depression. I asked myself, “Why does a person worry that they’ll have another anxiety attack or depressive episode ? Would a person worry as much if they could identify their triggers?”

Seriously. Wouldn’t we have learned our lesson? Thanks Why would a person have a third, fourth, fifth or fiftieth attack if they knew how to avoid them?

What are anxiety’s triggers for you?

Why doesn’t that awareness give one the ability to kick depression and anxiety in the butt and send it scurrying away? It seems so logical. We’ve identified our triggers for anxiety and yet there it is again.

The Paradox

For example, if I know I’ll burn my hand if I put it in fire, it makes sense that I wouldn’t put it in the fire in the first place, right?

what to do about anxiety
What we can do about anxiety

If I see a car coming when I’m about to cross the street, I wouldn’t cross the street, would I? I mean I could go on and on and on. When it comes to anxiety it seems we could avoid the anxiety producing situation or person by taking steps to deal with it. Instead we torture ourselves over and over again.

Is it because succumbing to these episodes, , no matter how bad, benefits us in some way? If certain thoughts cause us anxiety, why do we think them? And yet if it were that easy, there wouldn’t be an epidemic of anxiety and depression, would there?

It makes so much sense that if we know anxiety is about to pounce, we would simply turn and go a different way. And yet from personal experience, I know I can’t always do it myself. If I could I’d be able to stop an anxiety attack in its tracks. I’d never have had the second episode of depression.

It’s a paradox.

Just because we know what makes us anxious and depressed doesn’t automatically prevent it. We know when we’re headed for depression and yet we feel powerless to stop it. The causes seem varied.

It's a paradox. We know what makes us anxious and depressed and yet applying that knowledge doesn't automatically prevent it. We know when we're headed for depression and yet we feel powerless to stop it. Click To Tweet

One cause of sudden anxiety

The causes of anxiety and depression are complicated.While it absolutely helps to know all the above and while sometimes it does work, there are so many facets to both that even with all the knowledge of what triggers our moods, we feel helpless.

small kid standing on planked footpath
How to handle sudden anxiety

Some of this is due to the fact that if we experienced a great deal of anxiety as a child, much like PTSD victims, we, too, have now hard-wired our brains to respond to any threatening situation. That is certainly the case with me. And as much as I know that to be true, my brain is still hard-wired to respond the way it does. As a result, any threatening situation, even if it’s only in my unreliable thoughts, can trigger an attack.

However, if we could just recognize the triggers the minute they surface, the minute anxiety begins to pounce, we could take a detour in a different direction. If we realized how our anxiety and depression benefit us in some way, we would at least examine those supposed benefits. (There aren’t any anyway.)

God can help us identify our triggers. I often make it a matter of prayer, "Lord, what have I been thinking? Where have my thoughts been focusing, on the future without keeping you in the picture? "Search me, O God, and know my thoughts.… Click To Tweet

Now that I’ve written this I have to at least test my hypothesis so I’m going to concentrate on:

1. Trying to recognize symptoms as soon as they occur and,

2. Trying to figure out how anxiety and/or depression benefit me. Sadly, logic doesn’t always win out, does it?  I’ll let you know how it works.

God bless and if you struggle with anxiety attacks today, I sincerely hope this post helps.

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