Why The Worst Anxiety Comes When Things Are Actually Going Well For You

by Gigi Engle

Why do we become our most dissatisfied and frazzled selves when things are finally going well in all areas of our lives?

What is it about happiness that we all find so intimidating?

We're a generation that wants it all, and we will not stop until we get it. We work so hard to achieve our dreams, get the lives and love we want and cultivate relationships that bring us joy and fulfillment.

But the moment we get what we want -- when we score that amazing job, that incredible boyfriend or girlfriend and finally construct that truly unbreakable and positive support system -- we freak the F*CK OUT.

We are evolved to be miserable and insecure to a certain degree because it's the mildly miserable and insecure creature who is going to do the most work to innovate and survive.

–Mark Manson

We’re incredibly hardworking, and we fight to make the best lives for ourselves. And yet we're constantly petrified of our successes. We're stricken by the thought of happiness.

This stems from our innate inclination toward self-destruction, the veiny leftovers of our weather-beaten youth. It's our increasing feeling of dread toward our growing maturity. It's our subtle but piercing fear of not being ready for things to be normal, for things to be steady.

We're still drawn to madness. We're still pulled toward the chaos of youth. And we know that stability and solid accomplishments are better for us, but we're still flirting with self-sabotage.

We want happiness so badly, but we want to destroy it as soon as its foundation is steady. We teeter back and forth between the desire for happiness and the adoration of uncertainty, and that makes us anxious.

And it's the harshest anxieties that irk us when things are actually going well for once.

Because we're afraid things could fall apart at any second.

We're conditioned to the waiting period -- the hazy place that lies between hard work and success. It's what motivates us.

And once we get to where we want to be -- once things really are panning out -- we anxiously wait for the proverbial wrench in our masterpiece.

Nothing feels stable, because we're not prone to thinking of perfection to be stable. We're used to trouble. We're used to trial after trial.

Because we’re not sure if we can keep up these levels of energy and productivity.

Once we get that promotion and really impress our bosses, or once we finally get that raise and once we’re really where we’ve always seen ourselves, the anxiety begins to wrap its icy fingers around our throats.

If we're killing it at work, we just can't help but wonder if we can ever top ourselves. I mean, there has to be a ceiling, doesn't there?

What if this is as good as we’ll ever be? What if everything after this is a letdown?

If it's all downhill from here, we can already predict the crash and burn. If this is all the potential we have to realize, we’ll forever wonder where we could have been.

Because we're terrified nothing will ever be this good again.

The real salt in the wound is the thought that this might be as good as it gets. We’re young; we’re supposed to have our whole lives ahead of us. There is no reason in the world we should be this happy this soon, right?

Could we be peaking now, in our early 20s?

We become dreadfully shrouded in eerie thoughts that creep into our vulnerable skulls. How did we not notice the signs that this was all too f*cking good to be true? We're terrified that we may wake up 15 years down the line and not know how we were ever so f*cking stupid.

Because things have been super sh*tty in the past, and we can't imagine being in that place again.

Your memory is a blessing and a curse. You remember how bad things were, and you know you've come a long way. You're proud of yourself for getting where you've gotten.

But you'll never forget the dark times. Now that you've fought your way out of the woods, it's impossible to imagine going back. You don't know if you have the strength to come back again if you were to fall.

Thinking about how sh*tty things used to be can fill you with a sense of dread for an uncertain future.

Because we can't be as open about our feelings when we're trying to be seen as a success.

When you want people to think you're successful and put-together, you can't openly voice your concerns or your fears. That would bring you down a notch.

If everyone knew you lived in a constant state of panic, there is no way they could look at you the same way.

Not being able to communicate your anxiety just makes it worse. But you're totally trapped inside of a vortex of your creation.

Because we're nervous that one wrong move will ruin everything.

While inside of our vortex, we feel like our arms are taped to our body. Every single move we make needs to be made with extreme caution and consideration. Nothing can be done rashly.

This kind of constant pressure we put on ourselves is crippling. We don't want to fail. We're so scared that if we rock the boat in any way, we will ruin everything.

What’s even sicker is the thought that we almost want everything to go ahead and implode so that we can feel comfortable again, on some twisted level.

Because when it comes to love, we are completely out of our comfort zones.

We're trapped in the mindsets we had as adolescents, constantly reminding ourselves that we are flawed, dirty and insecure. Since when were we worthy of healthy, normal and fulfilling relationships?

What could a wonderful person like this be doing with us? What if this person leaves, and that's all there is? We’ll either die alone or end up with someone much less lovely.

When we’re with someone we truly care about, we can’t help but worry that we’re soon going to be found out as someone unworthy of love. We just wait for him to leave us and break our heart into a million pieces.