Why I Named My Anxiety

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Khan  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

Anxiety is something I struggle every day with and quite frankly I’m tired of saying things like:

My anxiety is high today.
My anxiety is bothering me right now.
Stop raising my anxiety levels.
So and so triggered my anxiety.

It gets old fast.

So instead of saying the name of my illness, I’ve given it a name.

By giving my anxiety a name, I’m giving it a face. I’m able to visualize something that is bugging me and tell it to go fluff something.

Enter Khan.

Star Trek fans will recognize Khan as the name of one of the greatest villains in Trek history. To anyone else, it just sounds cool.

Khan’s personality fits the anxiety I face. He’s smart, demands attention, and has a controlling/manipulative way about him (it doesn’t hurt that he’s played by Benedict Cumberbatch and if I’m going to visualize being followed around by anyone, at least he’s easy on the eyes).

When I’m in a social environment, Khan comes for me and tells me things like, “They all see the freak you are. You are not as good hearted as they think. You’re a waste of the oxygen in this room. By the way, the room is getting smaller and everyone is looking at you. You should just leave. No one will care if you leave, but they’ll stare at you if you stay.”

I can almost see him staring me down when I hear those thoughts kick in. He’s standing next to me, following me into the room, and trying to bring me down. In fact, he’s standing behind me right now while I write trying to tell me what I’m saying either makes no sense or no one will care.

By acknowledging his personality and giving him a name of his own, I acknowledge his existence, but I also take control.

Before, my anxiety was just a ghost of emotion that came for me during the day. Now, he has a physical form and a personality. Those two things combined makes it easier to take him down. On my good days, I can visualize him safe inside of his little prison. When I’m having a moment, I’m able to see him breaking out and coming after me and I’m given the chance to mentally take out my phaser and stop him. I can dodge his attacks and out think him. I can take control.

My phaser can be anything from my music to my coloring books. When he hits me harder than I can take, my crew takes the form of my husband, my son, and when I need to reach out into the vastness of space for more back up, my crew includes my online friends.

If this method sounds like something you want to give a shot, but you have no geek connection to Khan, ask yourself these four key questions to get started:

What are the traits that define your anxiety/illness?
What characters do you know of that have those same traits?
Is this character someone or something you can visualize taking down?
How does it feel when you scream the name? Does it roll off your tongue?

Once you answer those four basic questions, you will be on your way to figuring out the right name for your illness and taking action against it. It’s not a cure by any means, but any relief is better than no relief.

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