Living with anxiety problems can be experienced as being in a constant storm of shame and fear. For Scott Stossel's part, anxiety acts as an evil, self-fulfilling prophecy, he tells. He is working on an autobiographical book about living with anxiety problems.

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Scott Stossel has for many years been known and recognized as the editor of the American The Atlantic, while he has recently published the book My age of anxiety

Before he wrote the book, however, almost no one knew that he had problems related to anxiety. 


A real fear of the strangest things

In the review of the book My age of anxiety, the publisher writes that many have at one time or another lived with anxiety. Some have been severely affected and some unfortunate few, such as Scott Stossel, live in a constant storm of shame and fear.

The anxiety problems have in a special way affected Stossel's life. In addition to struggling with panic disorder, he tells in the book My age of anxiety that he also has a number of phobias, including turophobia, a morbid fear of cheese; emetophobia, a morbid fear of vomiting; and claustrophobia, a morbid fear of cramped spaces.

In other words, anxiety has in many ways taken hold in his life.


An evil, self-fulfilling prophecy

He tells that of the many different forms of anxiety, so it is the phobia of vomiting (emetophobia) which creates the most problems. He says:

Both in terms of how long I have suffered from it and how acutely it is a nuisance, [it is] emetophobia [that causes the most suffering].

It affects ... many of my other fears. For example, the fear of vomiting makes me afraid to travel, because I am afraid I will vomit far from home. It scares me to fly, not for the more conventional reason of being afraid that the plane will crash, even though I have, but I'm afraid I'll get motion sickness and get nauseous... The fear of bacteria is obvious directly related to it.

The terrible vicious, self-fulfilling circle of emetophobia is that if you are exposed to acute anxiety and nervousness, as I am, this often manifests itself through symptoms in the stomach.


Here you can see an interview with Scott Stossel


Always restless inside

It can be difficult to understand how a person with such major anxiety problems can keep this hidden from the outside world for so long, but Stossel explains:

Some say that in stressful situations I can seem completely unaffected, and I think it is partly because I am always restless inside. So when there is actually something real to be worried about, it is actually less anxiety-provoking than the irrational things.

He goes on to say that people with anxiety can be very good at hiding this from the outside world:

They are able to convey an impression of skill, calm and self-confidence, which may be real enough, but there is still an anxiety inside. The gap between this and the facade that makes people see you as skilled and efficient - you are always afraid of being exposed, which in itself is anxious.

You can read about this and much more in the book My age of anxiety, by an author who may be worth listening to when it comes to explaining how anxiety problems can be experienced.