How to Have Anxiety: An Instructional Guide

First, you must lose sleep. 

It is essential that you stay awake for as long as possible, ruminating on and cringing at everything you said and did that day. You must work yourself up enough that you become certain, despite all the chaos you personally witnessed inside the McDonald’s, that the cashier will remember that when they said “enjoy your food”, you replied with, “you too”. 

Forget reality, stay in your head. Escapism may seem counterproductive to maintaining anxiety, but it is a crucial step in the cycle of anxious thought patterns. So while in your head, think about whatever you wish. Project your thoughts onto fictional characters and give them the happy ending that you wish you had. Enjoy yourself here in your made-up world, and spend longer than anticipated doing nothing but fantasizing. 

Remember reality. Become frustrated with yourself for getting too wrapped up in your mind and wasting time. Wasting time is a great way to increase your anxiety. 

It may occur to you how ironic it is that your head is simultaneously the only place you feel safe and also your greatest tormentor. This does not add much to your anxiety, but it will likely filter in between ruminations. It is best to be prepared for it.  

Every now and again, you will ask yourself what you are worried about. This is a pointless exercise and in doing it you will find no answers or perhaps too many, which will collectively make everything worse. So keep it up. 

Make sure that every personal boundary feels selfish. The key to having anxiety is that you feel like you are a burden. It helps if you have a history of being told that your generation is too sensitive. 

You’ll feel lost a lot – this is normal and something you can do nothing about. Keep worrying about it. 

Ask yourself – Am I being annoying? Does this person really care about what I am saying? Should I stop talking? Oh God, how do I transition this conversation? I can’t just cut myself off in the middle of a thought, I have to find a good place to stop. Quick, ask them about themselves! 

Asking others about themselves is a great way to get them to ignore what is going on with you. It will give you time to calm down a bit. Your hands will remain sweaty and shaky. This is a sign that your anxiety is progressing well.

Realize that you are not a person, but a collection of frayed nerves. Sit in the dark and shake. Keep your eyes open painfully wide or squeezed tightly shut, and let your breath quicken. Become convinced that you will always feel this way and that you deserve it for being a screw-up. 

Turn on the light. Shower, and your muscles will relax under the hot water. Eat something and balance out your blood sugar again. Drink some water. You will wonder where all that drama came from and try to figure out what set it off. Perhaps there will be an answer, but most likely not. As time goes on, you will grow accustomed to there being no answers. The process of recovering will be a routine you do on autopilot. Sometimes it will not work. And you will keep going anyway. Because you know how to have anxiety and not let it stop you.