Why Anxiety Makes Me Shine in a Crisis Like COVID-19

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Elizabeth Joyce
The Mighty

I shine in a crisis in spite of my anxiety disorders, or because of them.

You may think, as someone with anxiety disorders, I’m likely to panic and overreact in the event of any potential threat. But, actually, in a real emergency, I become incredibly businesslike and handle the situation quite calmly. This happens when there is a true, external threat because, by its nature of being real and being present, I can take action.

Times of true, external crisis are when I shine.

You may be surprised to learn that many people with anxiety disorders handle emergencies with a calm, level head. This phenomenon is not uncommon. I’ve come across the writings of more than a few others who report similar reductions in anxietywhen dealing with a clear and present threat:

  • “I’m just a highly anxious person who thrives in a crisis … For a long time, I didn’t think dealing with chronic anxiety and being good in emergencies were linked. It actually seems like the opposite would be true.” — Alex Ronan, “Good in a Crisis
  • “When we’re thrust into it, we anxious folk can often deal with the present really rather well … As real, present-moment disasters occur, we invariably cope, and often better than others.” — Sarah Wilson, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful
  • “For someone with anxiety, dramatic situations are, in a way, more comfortable than the mundane.” — Melissa Broder, So Sad Today

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