DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional in any sense.
My name is Grace, and I have anxiety, among other things. I’m so lucky, that I have two types of anxiety! My particular brands are social and general. My social anxiety makes me constantly paranoid that people don’t actually like me, or are pretending to enjoy me and my company out of obligation or pity. It makes me paranoid that no one loves me or truly likes me; they just tolerate me. My general anxiety can lead me to freak out about things that may or may not seem trivial. Here are a few things to remember if you have any type of anxiety. I hope they help you and bring you a little peace.
Anxiety isn’t rational. Anxiety is an irrational reaction to a perceived stimulus. Sometimes it may seem like anxiety is appropriate, and perhaps it is. But the thing about anxiety is, even if it is appropriate to be anxious about something, it takes that anxiety to an irrational extreme.
People with anxiety know they’re being irrational. When I’m terrified of something, I know, in my logical mind, that I am not being rational. I know this, and I, too, hate that I am freaking out about that thing. Honestly, I hate that I’m freaking out more than anyone else does. The thing about anxiety is that it doesn’t hear logic (see previous paragraph), and it is loud. It drowns out that logic with its screaming, barely stopping for breath.
Try and remember that you are being irrational. However, this doesn’t mean that your feelings are silly or need to be dismissed, or that you should berate yourself. I would recommend that you acknowledge your fear as soon as it surfaces, then use that logical voice to talk yourself down from the screaming before it becomes deafening. Another strategy is to distract yourself. Watch something funny, if you can, or listen to or do something you enjoy. Reintroducing joy into your mind is a great way to quiet the screaming of your fear.
The next thing to remember is that your anxiety is trying to keep you safe. Whether your anxiety is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, some trauma or conditioning, or all of the above, anxiety arises to keep you safe. It becomes a problem when it takes over your life and prevents you from living your life normally. Anxiety is natural; it keeps us from leaping off cliffs (most of the time), or petting angry snakes, etc. It’s likely that anxiety is caused by something small that reasonably produces fear. Remember that anxiety is your brain’s way of keeping you safe. That doesn’t mean to embrace your anxiety as it is, especially if it’s taking over your life. It does, however, mean that you shouldn’t be angry with yourself. Your brain is trying to do its job of keeping you safe and alive; it’s just not going about it in a good or healthy way. Appreciate your mind for its attempt, then reprogram it.
Lastly, remember that anxiety is treatable. There are so many ways to manage anxiety: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, exposure therapy, medication, a combination of these and/or more, etc. You are not broken; you are not doomed forever. You can get better. It does get better. You just have to ask – for help, or why something makes you anxious.
The vast majority of people are good, and would be happy to help you. As the saying many of us knows goes, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” This is true for other people as well. Many people before you have asked for help, and many others do now, and many more will do so, so you are not alone by any means.
And that’s it: anxiety will have you convinced you are alone. But, no one is truly alone. There are friends, family, and kind strangers out there. Find one. Be one for others like you – because there are others like you.