An anxiety disorder could save your life.

An anxiety disorder could save your life. While an anxiety disorder is mostly misery, there are moments when it could save your life. Here’s how.

Jonathan Arenburg
Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan is a mental health blogger, published author, and speaker. He has appeared in numerous newspapers and has been a guest on many podcasts.

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If you have an anxiety disorder, then you know how crippling they can be. Take it from me, there is absolutely nothing fun about having one. I mean, being cursed with the ability to see a threat that others can’t? It sucks! Often my perceived threats are fictitious, incidents that are conjured up by my anxious mind. However, I have had many incidents where they are not.

What’s worse, at least for me anyways, is seeing actual threats – ones that others “should see.” Okay, so maybe that’s my opinion. Nevertheless, it turns out that having an anxiety disorder does in fact have some utility.

While this narrative may be my opinion, it nonetheless has validity to it. My years as a firefighter, for example, have shown me in real time what the consequences are for not seeing potential threats. An example that comes to mind is automobile crashes. Personally, I don’t use the word accident when it comes to car crashes. In reality, accidents rarely happen. At least, not when compared to irresponsible driving. These are two completely different things – now that’s a fact for ya. Unfortunately, when it comes to driving, people rarely see the dangers.

You didn’t ask for PTSD

So, where does this Leave me? Struggling with PTSD, manufacturing threats like the US military put in an order for them. I am turning out threatful scenarios so much, in fact, that I can’t stand the wider world. I see “all the stupid things humans do.” Drives my anxiety through the hemisphere….

young man looking at scars on hand
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So understandably, it’s hard to see how a disorder like PTSD, or any other anxiety disorder for that matter, is a strength. However, there is moments where an anxiety disorder could save your life.

Types of anxiety disorders

Although it’s evident that it’s a miserable way to live, it’s also one of the best survival tools known to humanity. How? Glad you asked.

The rundown

Human history is riddled with war; One of the most destructive forces ever invented. Therefore, it’s not hard to imagine that trauma and anxiety comes hand-in-hand with this brand of death and destruction.

With that said, we have all heard stories of people running for the borders of a country under attack by an enemy state. Interestingly, not everyone turns and runs – but why?

The answer may lie within the level of angst of any given individual. Some of us seem to see the writing on the wall as it were, while others seem to be in a state of denial, opting to “wait and see what happens.”

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If you feel threatened once you discover that a neighboring army is accumulating in your border for example, those with anxiety disorders may create escape plans. Pre-planning a “way out” when you have a predisposition for anxiety is common. Especially for those with trauma.

Furthermore, when we look at this fact – that people with trauma are always planning a way out – it makes sense that they can see what’s coming. And as a result of this anxious planning, they leave the country before the bombs start to drop.

In crisis? Got to Crisis Services Canada

While many people with anxiety disorders do escape by way of planning, many others with the same affliction do not. People can freeze. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to suggest that everybody with an anxiety disorder will run for the border.

In my case, I hate speeders – speeding is one of those things that humans engage in regularly, while at the same time, as I said, many don’t see the dangers associated with it.

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When in reality, your desire to speed is in order of magnitude more dangerous than realized. Speeding is 100% wasteful, it doesn’t save time, it is a huge waste of energy, (fuel), and it wastes lives by destroying the people who are in the crash – and families suffer for the rest of their lives.

Having been one who has actively tried to save lives because of this selfish behavior, I pre-plan my routes.

Thanks to my experience and PTSD, I know I need to try and “save myself.” I do so by avoiding motorways and finding lonely roads. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ANOTHER HUMAN TAKEN FOR STUPID REASONS EVER AGAIN! Therefore, I Avoid where the likelihood of a crash is highest.

In conclusion, having an anxiety disorder could save your life. If you construct a narrative that has a likelihood of happening, then you can avoid or run from life threatening situations. So, sometimes, sometimes, an anxiety disorder can be a superpower.

Be safe out there!

Jonathan.

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Categories: Anxiety disorder, Coping skills, Mental Health, Opinion piece

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