Tag Archives: anxiety

Happiness Anxiety: How the Pursuit of Happiness Can Bring Us Down

Anxiety comes in many shades:

  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Phobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Specific Phobias
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Panic Disorder.

Between these hues are even more subtle tones.

I’d like to explore two of the tones between General Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia. One is called “status anxiety,” a form of anxiety experts are starting to recognize, and the other is a term I call “happiness anxiety.”

What is Status Anxiety?

Status anxiety is the fear of how our social status is perceived by our community. Author Alain de Botton coined the term “status anxiety” in a book and a documentary film of the same name.

Our anxiety over our status is why we project success, confidence, and happiness when we don’t feel it. We believe people will treat us with more respect if we exude these traits. We may not feel successful, but we know the best way to get there is to fake it until we make it. It’s why we collect status symbols to show off our value.

In and of itself the Apple Watch is a glorified fitness tracker, but as a material merit badge that slick LCD watch face tells the world we’ve got money to spare.

De Botton claims status symbols, like the Apple Watch, extend beyond our fashion sense into the items that adorn our homes, the degrees we’ve earned, our career titles, our social network notoriety, the relationships we’re in, and the meaningful milestones we’ve gathered through the years.

De Botton believes our endless quest for treasures and trophies is actually a hunt for love and approval and our anxiety over status will persist long after our animal needs are met.  Continue reading Happiness Anxiety: How the Pursuit of Happiness Can Bring Us Down

Full Red Submersion (Audio Short)

A piece about seeing red when your space is violated.

I was thinking of calling this "Red Drew Redemption" but thought better of it.
I was thinking of calling this “Red Drew Redemption” but thought better of it.

(Download the instrumental version here)

Have you ever felt so rotten you were afraid people could see it in your face? Reading your micro expressions, they caught the instant your smile fell out of synch with your eyes. From there, your audience put all the pieces together. They took a second look at your posture; your arms crossed over one another, like a Jolly Rodger made flesh, and they just knew.

Shifting your weight to one heel, you leaned away from their scrutiny, drawing a border with your free foot. Ignoring these cues, they breached your comfort bubble. They listened as the inflection dipped from your voice, as your confidence waned, and your tongue twisted. Your composure seeped out, like a sigh through your lips.

Your shoulders slouched. Your accent shift. Your customer service mask slipped. There was a draft where your armor should’ve been. Your space had been invaded. You were exposed. Your audience got in on your introversion. Finding their way into your attic, they were pulling out your insolation.

I’m talking about that embarrassing moment when someone calls you out for having a bad day, when you’ve done everything in your power to bury it. This is about the sense of violation from someone telling you how you’re feeling.

I have to admit, I wrote this one shortly after ending a career in retail where I’d accumulated my share of these experiences.

The calming musical accompaniment is there to contrast the heated prose. The melody rises in subdued hums. The beat echoes across a vast space. The throbbing synth-bass was inspired by College’s song Real Hero (you might recognize it from the end credits of the movie Drive). These combined elements make this my catchiest track yet. Check it out. Continue reading Full Red Submersion (Audio Short)

Full Red Submersion

Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned
Photo by Keane Amdahl, follow him on Twitter @FoodStoned

Everybody needs their space. Everyone has their comfort zone, their bubble, their line that you just do not cross. We keep our guards up, because the world is constantly hitting us with its battering ram. We wall ourselves off, because we know what it’s like to feel exposed. We wall ourselves off, because we value the things we’ve already lost.

When those walls feel like they’re closing in, it’s because someone is pushing on them. When we don’t feel like ourselves, it’s because someone has gotten under our skin. When we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s because the thing that haunts our dreams is lying on the other side.

We’re always told our problems come from within, this piece is about the times they come from without. Continue reading Full Red Submersion