I thought I had the typical anxiety sufferer all figured out until reality threw me a wicked curveball!

Anxiety is trending. I swear, I’ve heard that word more times in the last couple of years than I have my entire life. It seems like everyone is suffering from this condition. It’s the reason that they’re unable to do so many things. After hearing so much about it, I decided it was time to investigate anxiety. My initial efforts to understand it pissed me off at first. After I cooled down, I became fascinated with this condition. Why? Well, for starters, I didn’t know that…

Phone Anxiety is a Thing

Apparently, it is. I wanted to get a Zillennial family member’s opinion on an important issue. I knew discussing this topic would be too long and complicated to have over text. I messaged her, asking if we could just have the conversation over the phone. Perhaps I was a bit naive when I expected her to say, “Sure!” This was her reply:

“Look I’ll be upfront I really hate talking on the phone and if you ask me to call you I’m just gonna get anxious and then forget… It’s a lot easier for me to communicate over text or in person… I don’t do good with phones”

Obviously, I thought she was being ridiculous. As a Gen Xer, I grew up talking on the phone. Because of that, I assumed talking on the phone was just a normal thing. Not so, according to this family member. It turns out, many Zillennials (and Millennials) are terrified at the thought of talking on the phone. At least the ones I talked to do. So, after these conversations – in text and messenger, of course – I thought I’d finally found…

The Face of Anxiety

And by that, I mean the stereotypical anxiety sufferer. in my rather twisted and highly symbolic mind, it looked something like this:

So, I’m talking Millennial anxiety and Generation Z anxiety. That’s a thing too. I mentioned that my mind is twisted and highly symbolic. Well, my overactive imagination quickly drew up a character profile of the typical youngster struggling with anxiety. Typical to me, anyway. Here are a few of the character traits I came up with:

  • Their anxiety is self-diagnosed.
  • Said disorder is the result of trauma and has comorbid PTSD as well.
  • Millennial/Zillennial anxiety only seems to be triggered by things they DON’T want to do, such as work full-time, pay bills, etc. (Oddly, it doesn’t seem to prevent them from attending Comicon or Burning Man.)

Since their anxiety is self-diagnosed, so are these youngsters’ “treatment programs.” I imagine it looking something like this:

  • They can only handle about 10.5 hours of work per week without being triggered.
  • They consider a taxpayer-funded universal basic income a “basic human right.”
  • Taxpayer-funded health insurance is also top-of-mind with these crazy kids.
    In the meantime, they treat their disorder with massive amounts of edibles.
  • An emotional support pit bull or seven often factors into their support system as well.

Wow! I certainly paint a colorful picture when I’m pissed. There’s just one little problem with this psychological profile…

My Stereoptypical Anxiety-Sufferer Isn’t Spot-On

While the caricature above is slightly exaggerated, it’s still an exaggeration. This “anxiety pandemic” didn’t start with Millennials or their Zillennial siblings. It seems to have started with their parents and even grandparents. You want to know how I know? I conducted a survey. Okay. It’s more of an informal survey that I conducted with this Facebook post:

“Informal survey for everyone who struggles with anxiety. You can either answer in the comments section or message me for anonymity. Help me out, anxiety-ridden peeps:

  1. “Do you struggle with anxiety? How long have you had it?
  2. “Does your anxiety prevent you from doing certain things? Like what?
  3. “How do you deal with your anxiety if you have it?
  4. “How old are you?
  5. “Is your anxiety diagnosed by a doctor? Or self-diagnosed?
  6. “If diagnosed, have you been prescribed something for it? If so, do you take your anxiety meds?”

A total of 18 people – 13 women and 5 men so far – have responded. Out of this group, only four respondents are Millennials. (Three women and one man.) Eleven of the respondents are Generation X. Surprisingly, at least to me, three participants are Boomers aged 57-66. Everyone gave candid answers to these personal questions, which complicates my initial thoughts about those who struggle with this.

This Is the Beginning of My Anxiety Posts…

This is a huge topic with lots of sub-topics and tangents. All of these threads deserve equal treatment. That’s why I’m not going to attempt tackling them all in one blog post. In future posts, I plan to examine what initially triggered me about anxiety. (Yes, I’m definitely triggered but not without good reason.) We’ll also look deeper into my informal survey and dissect the many faces and facets of this nervous condition. So, be sure to visit back for future posts. If you don’t, you’ll trigger my anxiety!

About Indie Author John P. Ribner

Wasted Youth

Born in Flint, Michigan. Raised by narcissists. Victim of a drive-by shooting. Writer. Singer. Songwriter. Martial artist. Social critic. Iconoclast. Author of “Wasted Youth: A Flint Punk Rock Memoir.”