It's funny that the more you tell someone to calm down the more anxious they get. Okay, funny may be an adjective that's so wrong it's toxic. Therefore, to put it in a more accurate light, it's, well, interesting and quite a conundrum. For anxiety is a slippery little fish; mercurial, poisonous and, ultimately traveling in schools of others of its ilk.
With me, a confrontational moment is the worst thing that could possibly occur during times of stress. Words such as: "Why are you so stressed out?" Increase the size of my slippery fish until it's about whale length without the soothing tones. With children, especially my eldest who has an actual anxiety disorder, pointing out his anxious behaviors while he's experiencing them makes him want to rocket launch himself through the roof of our house.
So, anxiety. Amorphous, invisible, sneaky, viral, it grabs hold and multiplies, morphing as it goes, beginning with one set of thoughts and ending with the most dire of fears. For those of us who don't entertain this particular house guest very often, I will simply describe it as: fear made flesh. For those of us who do, it can take over every aspect of every activity. In order, in other words, for the walking of the dog to be successful, the windows in the house must be closed and the laundry must be in the drier; or, in order for the bedtime to go well, the water must be cold and on the dresser, three stories must have been read, and twelve hugs must have been administered, in that order.
These examples are benign. At its worst, anxiety disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder can make life so complicated and exhausting that certain activities are difficult to even contemplate attempting, let alone enjoy. For a more detailed and comprehensive resource for anxiety disorders, check out the following website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
and, for information regarding anxiety and the fight or flight response, go here: