Anxiety: I Know 200 Ways to Say 'I'm Fine'

November 20, 2011 Kate White

Anxiety forces you to say 'I'm fine,' even when you're not. You can do better for yourself and get to the end of anxiety quicker, by answering these questions.It's easy to get into the habit of not addressing your needs when you have anxiety. I'm yet to meet someone dealing with anxiety who doesn't know 200 ways to say "I'm fine" to paint a rosy picture of life. But treating anxiety is about understanding your reality, not what a perfect reality might be or the reality Jo Normal experiences.

Dealing With Anxiety When You Are Not Fine

Anxiety forces you to say 'I'm fine,' even when you're not. You can do better for yourself and get to the end of anxiety quicker, by answering these questions.

Emotions aren't neat and tidy. Dealing with anxiety is the messiest, most complicated experience of my life. It's like looking at the world through a broken mirror. All you have is that mirror. It's easier to say "I'm fine" than to try to make the world understand what you see (Using Sports To Explain Anxiety).

For many people struggling with anxiety, it isn't until they lose a job or a relationship that they seek help. That point at which their external world almost matches what's happening during panic, PTSD, or the gradual attrition of generalized anxiety.

Part of the cost of habit is that anxiety can build-up to toxic levels before I can ask for what I need or give it to myself (Practicing Self-Care Is Hard But Vital For Mental Health). I feel robbed of all the things that had meaning, that felt real before anxiety distorted everything.

The Secret To Becoming Fine: Talk Therapy

The secret to treating anxiety in talk therapy is that there is no trick. I sit in a room for 50 minutes and do everything I can to be honest with myself. I'm not always good at it but it's mostly effort that counts.

I'm not there to 'find myself' as much as to work out how to receive what I need. To develop a relationship with one other person where it's okay to talk about the cracks in the mirror and the places I go when I'm too worried to get out of bed. (It's amazing how far you can get in your pajamas.)

As stressed and concerned as I might be, as much as I might think anxiety is about what I have to deal with outside myself, for an hour it isn't. For an hour I try to sit with why I'm anxious, with help from someone whose mirror is in fewer pieces than mine.

Anxiety Makes You Say "I'm Fine" When You're Not

Get into your reality for a minute. Think about these questions:

  • What do you experience each night, or during panic attacks, that you wouldn't if the anxiety was under control?
  • When your day is filled with obsessions or compulsions, do those thoughts/acts represent something else for you?
  • What would it take for you to feel okay enough to talk about the version of your life that is not "fine?"
  • What could you say instead of "I'm fine," to get your real needs met?

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, November 20). Anxiety: I Know 200 Ways to Say 'I'm Fine', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Kate White

frederica cassis
November, 20 2011 at 4:26 am

I liked the image you used of a "mirror" with few or more pieces...and the reflexions it gives...I have maybe the luck to be in both positions: i am a psychotherapist who stands by and am with my clients who feel demoralized and myself have my own psychotherapist to deal with my anxieties, my pain.
I have this sensitivity which can acts against me or not.. Through the years I have learned to cope with anxiety, mine starts with a sensation "angst" or "angustia" as we say in Spanish, is a physical thing first, not pleasant sensation in the, i always remember to breth deeper, it helps and I write down everything i see in "bizarre ways", this mental "views" reflected by the mirror. I like to see what comes out of me when i am like that, i trust that my angustia is for a good reason, even if it is not logical. i don´t fight it , i accept my different states of being. At the end, or at the start, ...I am a wounded healer. :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
November, 20 2011 at 4:44 am

Hey Frederica!
Yeah, I think that's a great way to view it -that there is a *good* reason, even if it isn't logical.
It doesn't always start with a physical thing for me, but often enough so I know what you mean. Sometimes I miss those cues, but yeah, the breathing stuff definitely helps me to focus on the deeper, states of being, stuff, as you say.
Sometimes think the best healers are the wounded ones. :) Makes me wonder if anyone's ever done a study on that. It'd be fascinating, I think.

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