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Thursday, February 13, 2014


Maybe the reason I object to anxiety as a trope in cultural studies is because I suffer from an anxiety disorder which can be extreme at some moments. I suffer from GAD, or General Anxiety Disorder. The treatment I am doing now say that you shouldn't struggle against anxiety, or manage it, but accept it with compassion toward yourself. I am in the early stages of this, but the idea is that the main problem is trying to control or eliminate anxiety rather than accepting as a normal part of life. This attempt to control could work in the short term but creates a feedback loop that ends up making you a slave to your fear of the fear itself. Instead, you have to meditate and do other mindfulness techniques so you can accept your feelings as what they are.

But anxiety in cultural studies is about things people don't like. So, instead of saying people don't like the loss of social and cultural distinctions, you say they are anxious about it. Maybe so, but the claim seems larger, more mysterious that way, but how do you prove an anxiety (as opposed to simply something that bothers you or you don't like)? It's a kind of psychoanalysis of culture, but where the problem might be evident and on the surface rather than concealed.

I guess there are cultural "anxieties" and fears too. What I object to is the almost automatic and somewhat thoughtless recourse to this trope.


Anonymous said...

I suffer from anxiety for reasons psychoanalysis, if I could get it and it worked as advertised, would cure me of.

1. If I am angry at or disagree with someone who has power over me or feels they should, and who feels I do not have the right to disagree. I fear that if they find out how I feel, they will kill me.

2. If I am mistreated and cannot tolerate it or want to stand up to it. I fear that if I do, I will be killed either by the person I am standing up to or by their allies.

More generally, I fear murder or assassination at any time. If I am perceived to exist, extreme and possibly lethal violence will be brought down upon me. This is why I am so timid, also why I don't finish more writing, publish more ... essentially, I just want to disappear, go somewhere where I cannot be seen, so I can have peace and not fear extreme random mutilation at any time.

The only way to calm this is to realize it is not exactly true & also becomes less true the more I believe it is true.

But this isn't GAD, it is more like post traumatic stress. They wanted to say I had GAD, though, because then it would have been construed as an organic problem of mine to be medicated away and not addressed, which would have been easier. They have always been very upset that I do not fear supermarkets, airports, etc., because these things "should" make me anxious.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also:

1. Knowing there is an emergency and I am ignoring it. Knowing the most important things are ecological disaster and the arms race, etc., and I am sitting and trying to put more attention toward reading poems.

2. Knowing that what I am doing is massively destructive and unhealthy, but that I am doing it because it is the only alternative to facing execution.

I actually think a lot of modern anxiety is like this, even though I have individual reasons for suffering from these complexes.