The apparent face of the existential crisis: Anxiety


"The anxiety problem is a knot point and solution where many important problems are gathered together. It is a puzzle that will shed light on my whole spiritual existence." Sigmund Freud, 1936

Anxiety (anxiety disorders) is one of the main causes of psychotherapies of clients today. Panic attacks, social phobia, obsessions, posttraumatic stress, depression and disability, are forms of anxiety. Kierkegaard sees anxiety as an inevitable part of life, and says that anxiety is born of disembodation and meaninglessness. According to Goldstein the common point of anxiety is the incompatibility between the person's ability and what is expected of him, which makes it impossible for a person to realize himself. Existentialists described anxiety with the difficulties that man faced in undertaking his own responsibility for existence.

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According to Freud all behavior is directed at harmonization. According to O, no matter how illogical it looks, no behavior is a coincidence, and everything that the organism does is a kind of life-sustaining effort. Anxiety arises from the need to alert, harmonize, and maintain life against threats from the physical or social environment. According to Freud, the basic defensive mechanism repression is used against the impulses of anxiety, and this mechanism allows the anxiety-generating elements to be kept out of consciousness.

Birth is the first anxiety. An infant who does not have adequate defense mechanisms at the time of birth experiences many stimuli, and the anxiety she creates is the first example of anxiety in her later life. The realistic anxiety experienced in real threat situations in the external world is separated from the neurotic anxiety by being logical and understandable . The aim of realistic anxiety, experienced in the face of an upcoming and anticipated threat, is to protect itself and maintain life . In contrast, the neurotic anxiety that is living in the form of a stress reaction that is unspecified is always illogical. Some stimuli may create anxiety because they are associated with unpleasant experiences of the first years of childhood, although they are not of an aesthetic quality. As the child grows, he develops some defensive mechanisms against anxiety, which become habitual and reappear in every situation that creates anxiety in the next life.

In anxiety there is a threat to existence . Facing a danger of attacks, obstacles, contradictory desires and fear of punishment that may come from the outside world, Ego finds a way to escape dangerously. For this reason, anxiety is a dangerous escape. The perception of a threat to perpetuate a life, guilt or shame, the thoughts and behaviors contrary to expectations that the authoritarian will not approve or the perfection will cause anxiety.

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Anxiety also indicates an increase in the need for strength, promotion and control. The intense feelings of helplessness that is the center of anxiety can lead to the development of aggressive behavior in order to protect itself against the world as an enemy. In such a person's behavior, conflict and competition are constantly dominated by others. For such a person to look soft is weakness, feelings must be put under pressure, hard, decisive and extreme realistic attitudes should be developed. For the anxious person there are two options: either by controlling others, digging them out or breaking away from humans and trying to be an independent, self-sufficient person in an emotional distance and isolation. Whichever path is followed, an artificial personality will emerge, and the person will become alienated to the true self .

Our basic anxiety is fear of death . Because life's purpose is to "survive." Anxiety is the belief that wholeness is threatened and there is nothing to do for it, it is helplessness. The fear of losing integrity and falling apart, the fear of kidnapping the mind, the fear of losing an important love and approval, the fear of losing a loved one, all of which is the cause of anxiety. To criticize herself ruthlessly, mental repression and prejudice feed anxiety. Facing with fears, meaning, compassion, flexibility, support and understanding is the medicine of anxiety.

Existential anxiety, the absence of freedom to be self, the truth of death and meaninglessness. Just being in this world is the reason for having anxiety. Sometimes, however, our anxiety will prevent us from continuing our lives and disrupt our functionality. In this case, professional help will be in place. To get support, you can reach me via [email protected] . Peace and trust.

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Source: Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Abnormal Behavior, Engin Geçtten, Metis Publishing [