Anxiety Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 354 quotes )
Anxiety was not an emotion I could ever remember feeling when I went out in New York, and I wondered why tonight felt so different. Maybe it was because I no longer had a boyfriend or fiance. I suddenly recognized that there was safety in having someone, as well as a lack of pressure to shine. Ironically, this had cultivated a certain free-spiritedness that had, in turn, allowed me to be the life of the party and hoard the affection of additional men....But that had all changed. I didn't have a boyfriend, a perfect figure, or alcohol-induced outrageousness to fall back on.
Freedom is anxiety's petri dish. If routine blunts anxiety, freedom incubates it. Freedom says, "Even if you don't want to make choices, you have to, and you can never be sure you have chosen correctly." Freedom says, "Even not to choose is to choose." Freedom says, "So long as you are aware of your freedom, you are going to experience the discomfort that freedom brings." Freedom says, "You're on your own. Deal with it.
Just as a physician might say that there very likely is not one single living human being who is completely healthy, so anyone who really knows mankind might say that there is not one single living human being who does not despair a little, who does not secretly harbor an unrest, an inner strife, a disharmony, an anxiety about an unknown something or a something he does not even dare try to know, an anxiety about some possibility in existence or an anxiety about himself, so that, just as the physician speaks of going around with an illness in the body, he walks around with a sickness, carries around a sickness of the spirit that signals its presence at rare intervals in and through an anxiety he cannot explain.
Deep within every human being there still lives the anxiety over the possibility of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the millions and millions in this enormous household. One keeps this anxiety at a distance by looking at the many round about who are related to him as kin and friends, but the anxiety is still there, nevertheless, and one hardly dares think of how he would feel if all this were taken away.
And no Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety, and no spy knows how to attack more artfully the man he suspects, choosing the instant when he is weakest, nor knows how to lay traps where he will be caught and ensnared, as anxiety knows how, and no sharp-witted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine the accused as anxiety does, which never lets him escape, neither by diversion nor by noise, neither at work nor at play, neither by day nor at night.
When did the body first set out on its own adventures? Snowman thinks; after having ditched its old travelling companions, the mind and the soul, for whom it had once been considered a mere corrupt vessel or else a puppet acting out their dramas for them, or else bad company, leading the other two astray. it must have got tired of the soul’s constant nagging and whining and the anxiety-driven intellectual web-spinning of the mind, distracting it whenever it was getting its teeth into something juicy or its fingers into something good. It had dumped the other two back there somewhere, leaving them stranded in some damp sanctuary or stuffy lecture hall while it made a beeline for the topless bars, and it had dumped culture along with them: music and painting and poetry and plays. Sublimation, all of it; nothing but sublimation, according to the body. Why not cut to the chase? But the body had its own cultural forms. It had its own art. Executions were its tragedies, pornography was its romance.
Wild creatures' eyes, the colonel said,Are innocent and fathomlessAnd when I look at them I seeThat they are not aware of meAnd oh I find and oh I blessA comfort in this emptinessThey only see me when they wantTo pounce upon me at the hunt;But in the tame varietyThere couches an anxietyAs if they yearned, yet knew not whatThey yearned for, nor they yearned for not.And so my dog would look at meAnd it was pitiful to seeSuch love and such dependency.The human heart is not at easeWith animals that look like these.
All the greatest blessings are a source of anxiety, and at no time should fortune be less trusted than when it is best; to maintain prosperity there is need of other prosperity, and in behalf of the prayers that have turned out well we must make still other prayers. For everything that comes to us from chance is unstable, and the higher it rises, the more liable it is to fall. Moreover, what is doomed to perish brings pleasure to no one; very wretched, therefore, and not merely short, must the life of those be who work hard to gain what they must work harder to keep. By great toil they attain what they wish, and with anxiety hold what they have attained; meanwhile they take no account of time that will never more return.
And there was something that frightened me much more. If I went to the doctor's tomorrow, and was cured by, say, the weekend, there'd be no relief from anxiety, just different anxiety. Even as the antibiotics hosed down my genitals, the mind's bacteria would be forming new armies. I'd come up with something to get me down...Was this the case with everyone -- everyone, that is, who wasn't already a thalidomide baked-bean, or a gangrenous imbecile, or degradingly poor, or irretrievably ugly, and would therefore have pretty obvious targets for their worries? If so, the notion of 'having problems' -- or 'having a harder life than most people', or 'having a harder life than you usually had' -- was spurious. You don't have problems, only a capacity for feeling anxious about them, which shifts and jostles but doesn't change.
And what nags me about this is that the source of my anxiety was exactly what Kierkegaard says the source of anxiety is, and what he praised in direct proportion to the volume any person possesses: possibility. The awareness that life is a series of choices any one of which could be either aggrandizing or disastrous. That this happens to be true I have no trouble signing on to. Any who has lived past the age of ten knows that even piddling actions can wind up having big consequences, and that even when you are super-conscious of your behaviors you can't know how things are going to turn out in the short- or the long-run. That's the drama of it all. On the one hand, your very existence means you can and will change things in your life and others. On the other hand, you aren't God, so everything is always going to be drenched in uncertainty and doubt.
When you’re meeting a whole lot of new people and having to do things you’re in—I’m in a constant low-level state of anxiety. Which produces adrenaline, and kind of shuts down—there’s a difference between short-term, people-based anxiety. And sort of deep, existential, you know, fear, that you feel all the way down to your butthole. And that, I, that’s…that’s what I’ll have when I’m alone.