Anna Spargo-Ryan

Good days and bad days

When you have an anxiety disorder, sometimes feeling bad isn’t that different from feeling good. When you feel bad, you wait for the moment of panic to take hold and throw you around until you wish you could cut out your brain and rinse it in CLR Clear. When you feel good, you wait for the moment of panic to take hold and throw you around until you wish you could cut out your brain and rinse it in CLR Clear.

Anxiety is a waiting game. The fear is inevitable. Sooner or later it will find you. At least on the bad days you know it’s right there, that it will probably face fuck you at some point before dinner. At least on the bad days you know what you’re up against, that you are anxious and you will feel out of control, and knowing that is almost like being in control.

On the good days, you don’t know when it will happen. Only that it will. It’s like the monster in the closet. You don’t know if it’s in there or not. You don’t know what it looks like. You don’t know when it might leap out and throttle you. On the good days, the anxiety is an unknown entity. It might not pay a visit at all, but the fear that it will is almost as crippling. On the good days, you can be so acutely aware of how not anxious you are that your whole body is wracked with panic. On the good days, the agony of failure to stave off the fear is so much greater than on the bad days.

Today was a good day. And so, inevitably, it eventually became a bad day. And that is how the cycle perpetuates.


I’m Anna, a digital strategist and writer who likes to drink 'Ice Tea' but doesn't understand why it's not called 'Iced Tea'. By night and occasionally morning, I eat things, write things, berate my children, walk my dogs and hug my chocolate.


  • August 5, 2012 12:09 pm

    Hey, lovely Anna. I hope that this isn’t a lame response, but I wanted to suggest a book to you: Complete self-help for your nerves by Doctor Claire Weeks. Or Clare. Something.

    I know it sounds as invigorating and helpful as curdled milk, but it is the best (well, the only) book I have ever read that actually helped me to understand and feel better about my anxiety. It’s not a preachy self-help book in any way. It discusses what happens in the body when you’re sensitised, and describes exactly what you just did: the meta-anxiety, or fear of fear that keeps the cycle of panic going. I really recommend it, not as something curative (I’m certainly not ‘fixed’) but as something comforting.

    I love your writing about these things. It’s like having a cup of tea with a friend.

    a x

  • August 14, 2012 9:54 am

    I totally agree, on the good days you can feel uplifted but while enjoying the uplifted feeling you have a lingering notion that its there and while ever that exists the uplift is never really secure which really puts the stamp on the cycle.

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