Phantom Anxiety

Last night I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. My anxiety had joined me at some point in the night. Normally I can identify what is causing me anxiety, even if I know it is something ridiculous, something that I shouldn’t worry about. Sometimes, as happened last night though, it is a mystery anxiety. A phantom anxiety.

Generalized anxiety disorder should really be called constant anxiety disorder. Or everything anxiety disorder.

The frustrating thing about when I’m anxious for no reason is that it is so much harder to talk myself down. For example, if I’m worried about whether I left the front door unlocked I can comfort myself that I never leave the front door unlocked and the far more likely explanation is that I just don’t remember doing it because it is so automatic.

Instead, last night, I tossed and turned, troubled by ghosts lurking in the shadows, unwilling to reveal themselves. Was I worried that I’d said something stupid in front of my friends this weekend? Was I worried about this nagging headache I had? Maybe it was something to do with work? Or family? But none of that seemed right. So instead I just lay there worried about being worried, frustrating myself until finally exhaustion overtook the anxiety and I was able to fall back asleep.

I don’t know why I get these random moments of phantom anxiety. But I am sure I’m not the only one who gets them. If you are struggling with generalized anxiety disorder and don’t know what the source of your anxiety is…don’t worry, you are not alone.


One thought on “Phantom Anxiety”

  1. Often I also wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 2:30 to 3:30 and I do not know the cause. I wonder if yours and my problem may originate from some similar prior experience or from some physiological issue that I have not identified.


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