Have you ever had so much on you that you just freeze? Maybe you’ve got four people who are waiting on an answer from you, or you’ve got a paper that’s due, or you’ve got a really difficult conversation that needs to happen and you just become so overwhelmed that you just don’t do any of it. Because if you do, I know exactly how you feel.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Ranging from mild to severe, there are many different – let’s say branches – of them. From generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the word “anxiety” encompasses many illnesses.
What Is The Freeze Up?
Anxiety creates in you a perpetual feeling of fear or discomfort and manifests itself in many different ways. One of those ways is what I like to call the “Freeze Up”.
I’ve dealt with it many times. The anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it’s easier (in the moment) to ignore it or to push it off. Sometimes it’s bills, other times it’s difficult conversations or decisions. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, though, because the Freeze Up just makes everything worse in the long run.
You’re overwhelmed by a bill you received in the mail so you ignore it. Over time the amount owed grows due to late fees so you are left with more debt than you started out with. Had you just paid the bill in the first place it would no longer be an issue, right?
Another example is making big decisions. You are unhappy in your relationship or your job and you know you need to change something, but the anxiety of not knowing what will happen overtakes you. Sure, you’re miserable in the job/relationship/etc., but it’s all you know. A big change could make your life a hell of a lot better, but the fear that it will make it worse stops you from making the decision at all.
How Do You Get Past It?
Unfortunately, I do not have any special trick or treatment for it. I know that the whole “just do it” response is especially frustrating for those of us who deal with depression and anxiety, and I hate to say it, but if I’m honest that is what has worked for me. The only way that I personally have been able to get past it is to just do whatever it is I’m avoiding.
I hate it, but once it’s done the relief is great. It’s like checking off a box on a To Do list. No matter the outcome, once I’m over that initial hump of uncertainty and anxiety it becomes so much easier to deal with. I’ve had bad outcomes and good outcomes, but once it’s done it’s done and I don’t have to think about it that much.
The fear of not knowing is what keeps us from living our best lives.
If this doesn’t work for you or seems impossible, I would suggest seeking a professional who can help you come up with ways to get around the fear and anxiety so that you can live your best life.
Don’t feel ashamed or broken if you need help or therapy or medications. Do what you need to do to stop living in fear. You are worth it, even if you might not feel like you are.