Anxiety has the power to completely warp normal thought processes. It makes sufferers question everything and everyone they know causing a feeling of panic like no other. How do I know you ask? Because I’ve lived with anxiety for over a decade.
I convince myself that those I love hate me daily. Something as simple as a shorter than usual text message or an unintentional cold glance can be enough to put me on edge. My mind whirls with negative thoughts. Every single one competes against the other to become the chosen one. The one that causes me to over-analyse every possible situation and outcome from dawn until dusk. Take it from me, it is entirely possibly to feel lonely despite being surrounded by friends and family. Anxiety has the power to make sufferers feel like the worst, most hated person in the world. No amount of reassurance eradicates how we feel.
You will struggle to find someone who suffers with anxiety who doesn’t have low self-worth or self-esteem. The small amount of confidence I had as a teenager is now non-existent. I’ve become accustomed to thinking negatively.
I usually care more about what others will think than whether or not I feel comfortable in my own skin.
When bad things happen to those I love and cherish, I often manage to convince myself that somehow it is my fault. Even when something good happens in my life, the fear, panic and anticipation of it all going wrong grips me almost instantly. The thing is, anxiety sufferers like me know that we are being irrational. We know we are loved, we know that the only opinion that matters is our own and that not everything in the world is our fault. How we feel and what we know can completely contradict each other, no matter how hard we try to ignore our insecurities.
Anxiety is very difficult to understand if you have no experience of it. It can be incredibly hard for family and friends to see someone they love fraught and fragile. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. The best advice I can give is be patient, be kind and try to understand. Underneath the surface we are the same person we have always been.
Contact Mind for information and advice on anxiety.