Remember the good old days when all we had to worry about was allergies?
I’m not talking about real allergies – like my best friend who WILL spontaneously combust if she ingests a nut, or anyone else who carries an epi-pen.
I’m talking about the pseudo allergies that could probably be cured by diet or lifestyle changes. Allergies that are vague and convenient and too ridiculous to ask about.
In the noughties these allergies were like a status symbol.
You were nobody until you got an allergy.
As a new mum I’d watch women bond not over their babies but over their allergies and the meds they took for them.
You could be allergic to anything and frankly, the more creative you were, the better. I briefly toyed with being allergic to my husband.
But now it’s not enough to be allergic. We have to be anxious too. The subtle filtration of low-grade anxiety is seeping into every corner of our lives.
It’s really the re-labelling of what we used to call stress, but “anxiety disorder” sounds more serious and like it might have medical requirements.
Welcome to the era of worry.
Wanna get involved? Try being anxious about your allergies and work from there.
I went to the dentist for harmless check-up last week. He asked me to grade my…wait for it…Dental Anxiety.
I declined, but he proceeded to interrogate me on my “Dental Goals” until my Dental Anxiety levels had increased, largely due to an impromptu lecture on Brazil nuts (I’m a fan) which apparently are dangerous to teeth.
I now have full-blown Brazil nut anxiety.
And I’m not dissing the people with proper anxiety (pounding hearts, sweaty palms and intense fear,) I’ve been there and it’s no fun.
But bigging up what is essentially “worry” to give us more to worry about…c’mon!
And it’s not that WE’RE doing it. It’s that those fabulous folks at big pharma saw the opportunity to dramatize and monetize.
Like, hey fellas, anxiety is the new black…Kerrching!
I say we’re on this planet to be challenged. To get nervous, feel uncertain about the future and yes, be stressed-out sometimes.
Worry is part of the human experience. It’s useful, we learn from it and it does not need a covert re-branding.
We’re all more anxious – so what?
Let’s avoid social media, mainstream news, sugar and caffeine.
And while we’re at it let’s spend more time with each other and use human contact instead of meds to cope with the isolation and alienation that actually drives most anxiety.
We don’t need anxiety disorder labels, we need to re-connect.
Now somebody pass me a damn Brazil nut!
Jacqueline Escolme is a former globetrotter who spent way too long rebuilding herself from serious illness and now writes on Sassy Self-Preservation and Transformation for Women. When not writing she dances and annoys her children. Reach her at: @rebuild.your.health