We have now entered the year of 2017. I happen to know people claiming that they are afraid of this new year, and the fear they feel has connections with all threats stemming from the terrorist movements.
Thinking of the concept anxiety – this is what i wrote some seven years ago:
Anxiety usually sits in an area between the heart and the stomach. Life suddenly feels more brittle than a pane of glass; everything could cave in, break, be blown to pieces. Those who have never experienced anxiety find it difficult to imagine just what it is like. Those with experience of anxiety know that all security is relative; nothing is absolutely secure and nothing is eternally sustainable.
Man is a biochemical and physiological marvel machine that runs on enzymes, glucose, hormones, minerals, proteins, oxygen, vitamins and endless other nutrients. The only thing that helps me feel moderately calm when laying my head on my pillow, closing my eyes and going to sleep is my relative faith in the machine continuing to pound even when I have no control over events as soon as I have dropped off. Wide awake during the day I can always imagine that I have better control, but that is a chimera. I know nothing about what is happening in my cell nuclei right now, or which parts of my brain have just become unusable due to constant neuronal dropout, or how my coronary artery is feeling; not even if my blood pressure is dangerously high or perilously low. Most people accept this, of course, but what choice do they have? One cannot keep an eagle eye on everything.
Human psychology not only encompasses thoughts and emotions, but also underlying basic instincts, essentially vague, at times hastily fleeing, fantasies and diverse mystical conceptions. The basic instincts are regulated via our physiological senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching) in combination with our hormonal surges. Sexually charged images and their appertaining attracting and/or repellent powers, can pop up at any time and any place. My proneness to charge myself with aggressive energy is beyond describing in simple words. When I turn the other cheek I suddenly get the urge to hit out wildly with a sharp weapon; if none is available then I try to slay using words. The impulses know no limits. But my intellectual side, on the other hand, does; trained as it is throughout my life to follow a set of rational rules. Using mental exertion — something that costs every person more energy than they can imagine — I limit myself and behave in a way that appears to be fairly socially acceptable, which is after all the aim of all my efforts.
Anxiety usually occurs when the psychological equation does not add up. When I set my rationally based limits for what I intend to say and do, and how I act, the underlying stream of other movements could suddenly say the exact opposite. It screams no and threatens to break through; everything I have trained seems to fall apart; my built-in control function appears to short-circuit and stops working. Suddenly my whole existence seems to be on the line. Rapidly it is as though psyche and soma have to make a crucial decision: either total anxiety, a release of the unmentionable and with it a form of mental dissipation, or the body digs in as in a cramp and releases symptoms of ill-health: an asthma attack, a sudden migraine, acute lumbago, an influenza-like shivering fit, stomach sickness or other reactions in the skin, eyes, ears, stomach, genitals etc.
There are much more things that could be said about anxiety. Take this as a start only.