Anxiety pounces again.


In my heart and head I am many good things. I am a cheerleader. I am creative. On my good days, I am playful and full of humor. I also have incredible hope for the world and the ability of change-makers to make great things happen.

Despite these strengths and positive predispositions, I also struggle from the twin demons of Anxiety and Depression. Depression has less of a hold on me now — although I experience some terribly depressive thoughts and moods when Anxiety pounces on me. And lately, Anxiety has found plenty of opportunities to pounce.

This should come as no surprise. I’ve been been going through some major changes of late. And Anxiety loves to use the unknown of the future and force my brain to be filled with false assumptions, powerlessness thinking, and loss of perspective.

My therapist and my numerous books tell me to counter these negative thoughts with more positive “consider this” thinking.

For false assumptions I am to consider the best possible scenario and then figure that landing somewhere in the middle between worst and best is quite likely and quite manageable.

When I am feeling powerless, I am supposed to activate whatever positive thinking I can muster, and thus, take the first step in a better direction.

And for loss of perspective, I am to try and and imagine many possible perspectives and figure that getting lost in the worst possible option is in no way helpful.

Of course, as I am typing this I am reading from a notebook with nearly illegible scribbles from notes I’ve taken after meeting with my therapist or reading a couple chapters of a book on cognitive behavioral therapy. In other words, I’m reading notes after having experienced a terrible bout with Anxiety, and I’ve taken the first step to a better place (I hope).

I’ve already written that I wish there were better resources out there. Realistically, there would be great crib notes always available in my pocket. Or, in a more science fiction-y sort of way, there would be an anti-Anxiety, virtual-reality pair of glasses or headphones I could don to get my brain thinking, hearing, and seeing the more realistic (better) options regarding the unknown future.

But these things don’t exist. So instead, Anxiety pounces on me, and I am left to do the hard work of remembering how to think better.

“Anxiety. Get thee behind me.”



  1. Peggy Larkin 3 April 2016 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for being so open and honest. My prayers are with you today.

    • Michael Dahl 3 April 2016 at 11:55 am

      Thank you, Peggy. I’ll make it through to the other side.

  2. Tom Sampson 4 April 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Michael, sorry to hear the anxiety is back. It must feel like hell! It sounds to me you’re on the right track – countering distorted thinking – for example fortune-telling, by recognizing it and countering it with the kind of thinking David Burns recommends in his book “Feeling Good”. I’ve forgotten what he calls the better thoughts but I think you’re on the right track. Like Peggy, I’m praying for good things for you, and I believe God is aware of your pain and is inviting you to lean on Him/Her/your Higher Power. I used to attend EA (Emotions Anonymous) meetings. You might want to consider them. My sense is you think you have to fight this battle alone. In 12 step programs like EA you realize you’re not alone, that others are in the same boat.

  3. Tom Sampson 5 April 2016 at 8:12 am

    Facebook is a virtual support group, and that’s good. But not quite as good as being there in the flesh. And getting lots of hugs!

  4. Tom Sampson 5 April 2016 at 8:21 am

    Chapter 5 of the Acts of the Apostles talks about “unclean Spirits”, in your case, anxiety and depression. “A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.” If it could happen then, there’s no reason why it can’t happen now.

  5. Tom Sampson 5 April 2016 at 10:26 am

    I’ve said way too much. I need to listen and learn from you. Thanks, Michael and peace!

    • Michael Dahl 5 April 2016 at 5:17 pm

      No worries, Tom. I’m feeling better and often rely on (and get) support from Rebecca.


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