The Fog of Anxiety
The Fog of Anxiety…
Let’s talk about frost and fog. In my opinion, frost and fog make the world a much more beautiful and interesting place. If you pay attention to and look closer at the frost, you’ll find the loveliest of designs. And fog, well it creates such a sense of mystery and unknown that it’s almost eerie in its beauty. Maybe I’ve thought too much about this…but maybe not. Noticing the “little things” is something that gets missed by a lot of people.
I bet you’re thinking, “Sooooo what?” or “Why is she yammering on about the weather?” There’s a point…I promise. And it’s not about my preference for weather that others usually dislike or the idea of noticing the little things. It’s about anxiety.
So many of my clients come to me in an anxious state and they often describe themselves as “being in a fog.” Having been there in the past myself, I can tell you – that’s a very accurate description. It’s a time when nothing seems to make sense, surprises arise seemingly out of nowhere, there’s a dazed feeling to it all, and there often appears to be no way out of it. It’s an unnerving state to be in.
Now, let’s pause for a moment and look at a picture that I took the other day when the world seemed full of frost and fog (shown above). For the record – no, I did not have my camera set to take black and white photos…yet the photos seem to be in black and white. It’s almost as if the fog drained the world of its colour, leaving behind an aura of uncertainty and doubt.
That can be how anxiety feels – as though we are surrounded by fear and doubt in a world that has lost its joy and vibrancy. We become so consumed with the unknowns, the past, and the future, that we are often unable to enjoy the beauty and joy around us. When you consider anxiety in this light, it makes sense that people who are struggling with experiences of anxiety are often struggling with depression too. The greyness of fog detracts from the subtle beauty that the frost brings.
But why am I telling you this? Ongoing anxiety can be very difficult for people to understand if they have never been through it themselves. I love a good analogy (as I’m sure all my clients can attest), as they break down complex subjects into everyday, comparable situations. We are all familiar with the weather, so if it helps even one person understand what they or a loved one is going through then the analogy is a success. And also, if you’re “in a fog” as you navigate the choppy waters of anxiety, please know that you are not alone. I’ve been there, too…and it’s possible to leave the fog behind!
Erin MacLeod is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who operates out of Vancouver and Maple Ridge, BC. She provides service to teens and adults who are dealing with issues of anxiety, panic attacks, depression, stress, and grief & loss. You can read more of Erin’s posts at erinmacleodcounselling.com/blog or follow @CounsellorErin on Twitter.
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