Let me start with this. Anxiety isn’t fun. For me, personally, it’s relatively mild compared to most people. It still affects my work, my relationships and my life in general on a regular basis. However, I’ve gotten better and better at dealing and coming to terms with it. Frankly one of the ways I cope is to try and look at the bright side wherever I can. In a time where it’s as high as it’s ever been, the idea to write this made me smile and laugh. Hopefully, it does for you as well.
Watching the news lately gives the feeling that the apocalypse has already begun. When one is already overthinking simple day to day things, it opens up a whole new realm of things to obsess about. Will it be slow as the climate continues to change? Slightly faster in the form of a pandemic? Or will the Cheeto in-charge of the worlds largest nuclear arsenal bring about the end swiftly over a Twitter re-tweet? Whichever way the end may come, there are more than a few reasons why I think the anxious will be right there beside the meek to inherit the Earth.
#1 – We’re already several steps ahead on the “what else could go wrong” train of thought.
In the normal world, this is not necessarily a good thing, but in the apocalypse, things will be different. We’ll be the ones avoiding the plot twists like Matt Damon in, well, all his films really. Food shortage? Psh, I’ve been stocking up food for weeks. People are re-animating as zombies from the pandemic? I’ve been worrying about that since patient zero, it’s like you don’t even read my blog!
#2 – We’re already suspicious that people don’t like us based on small things.
In a world where you’re forced to make alliances with strangers whom you don’t trust, we won’t be falling into the classic trap of being stabbed in the back. No betrayals can sneak up on us, we saw that slightly strange look you gave us that one time. There’s no way we’re giving you the chance to turn on us! Heck, we’re already probably a mile away, dissecting the look a rabid dog gave us to determine if we did something to make it angry.
#3 – Social anxiety will protect us.
Even in the recent escalation of the coronavirus, there’s some positive news I’m taking from this. I might actually be encouraged to stay inside, away from people and large social gatherings. You mean it’s become socially acceptable, even encouraged to sit at home and watch a film on a Friday night? I’ve been training for this moment for years. No getting stir crazy for us, because we’re in our element and you can call us when it’s over.
Actually, don’t. This is great.
#4 – We are not waiting to “see how that injury is in the morning”.
Pass me the disinfectant, the bandages and the anti-biotics right bloody now. I am not taking chances here. How on earth can I outrun the zombies when they appear if my leg is infected? Thankfully I also stocked up on real medical supplies at the pharmacy before it got bad, while everyone else was in a fistfight over hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
#5 – We already know where all the safest places would be.
Part of over-thinking every possible thing that could go wrong is coming up with how you’d deal with it. Climate crisis? Guess what, I’m already on Mars. Nuclear fallout? Not for me, because I’m still on Mars. You got me here, pretty much all my doomsday scenarios end up on Mars.
Oh hey, Matt Damon! Pass the potatoes, please.
#6 – We’ve already come to terms with it.
A big benefit of having the world end in your mind dozens and dozens of times is that if it did actually happen then, well it won’t quite come as much of a shock. Will we still worry about it? Sure, but while everyone else is in complete shock or have their heads stuck in the sand we’ll be gearing up for action. Having your worst fears realized like a deja vu at least gives you the dress rehearsal you need when it actually goes down. Just like watching House of Cards.
#7 – We’re not likely to “be a hero” foolishly
Look, I’m not saying anxious people aren’t going to help others out, but we’re going to be reasonable about it. Jesse Eisenberg’s character in Zombieland was the epitome of anxiety in the apocalypse and he made it by following a specific set of rules. In this case, anxiety is our superpower by making us just think about things a tiny bit longer. If we could pick our superpower we’d probably pick something else, but this is ours and damn it we’re going to make the most of it.
#8 – We’re already used to using coping mechanisms to manage fear
Anxiety makes every day fear feel like your life is in danger. Anxiety triggers biological responses that cause adrenaline to surge and other similar physiological responses same as they do when you’re in real danger. People with anxiety constantly work to develop coping mechanisms to still be able to function when it happens.
While sleep might be scarce in the apocalypse, running sure as f*ck won’t be.
#9 – We’re meticulously detailed in planning and execution
In Pokemon, you are advised to take a pokemon with you into the wild because it’s dangerous out there. Well in the apocalypse my pokemon will be lists, plans and maps. What do we need, what’s the backup plan, how do we get there and what could possibly go wrong?
It’s a largely useless skill when nothing is actually likely to go wrong, but who’s going to be laughing when it saves our asses because we had a back-up route around the brand new shiny giant nuclear crater.
#10 – We’re excellent at functioning with little to no sleep
Some people stay up too late because they were reading a good book, or binging a great Netflix show. We regularly stay up watching the great classics of all time like “That time I accidentally called someone the wrong name in 5th grade” or “Dissecting meaningless sentences people said to me: A history”. Zero stars to both, I would not recommend.
In the real world, this means constantly being tired in a world where most other people are well-rested. In the apocalypse, we’ll all be tired and some of us will just be better at dealing with it. (This also applies to nightshift workers, new parents and anyone who has to deal with people in a retail setting.)
Sure, this may seem overblown and the world isn’t coming to an end immediately. You could even argue that things are still getting better, the last time we had a pandemic this big it killed half of Europe! Things aren’t ever as bad as they seem, but you try telling our anxiety that.
Our superpower is just waiting to be needed, and in the meantime maybe befriend an anxious person. We might be some work to deal with now, but when the end comes you’ll be thankful you did.