According to Freud, anxiety is a signal that something to be feared is about to happen. The thing to be feared may be external, or it may be a thought or feeling within inner life. Nonetheless, whether external or internal, anxiety signals the likelihood of something that we have previously learned to fear or that is instinctively threatening. The fear may be as primitive as the loss of mother. Some say anxiety is the fear of the unknown or of death or of falling to pieces. Perhaps it is all of these.