What It's Like When Anxiety Tells You Everyone Is Going to Leave You

I’m afraid of the people I love in my life leaving me. I suppose you could call that “abandonment issues” or whatever popular catch phrase you would like to go with, but it’s the truth. Moreover, I’m afraid that the reason they will leave me is because of me. I’m too needy, weird, crazy or complicated to deal with, and because of all these factors they will pack their suitcases and run to the nearest airport. I am the reason they left, and there is something profoundly wrong with me.

One of the biggest lies anxiety tells us is that everything is about you or because of you. 

There is nothing wrong with me. I have a chronic anxiety disorder, and it tells me lies all the time. It’s an annoying nuisance, but it manages to convince me that everything is about me, I caused terrible things to happen to the people I adore in my life, and because I did such awful things, they have chosen to abandon me.

There’s another crucial element involved in this situation; I have a nagging, seemingly never-ending voice in my head that I am bothering people. Anxiety tells me that every time I reach out (whether it’s for help or simply to say hi to my friend) that I’m unwanted and unwelcome. The tricky thing about this, is that sometimes anxiety causes me to compulsively contact someone to make sure they’re still there, to ask if they got my invoice, to tell them I appreciate them or to check to make sure they don’t hate me. Some people find this behavior irritating at times, while others are graciously patient with me, and understand when I’m anxious I might reach out multiple times.

I’m not proud of my compulsive contacting, but it happens from time to time and I’m working on it in therapy. However, it makes me believe that (in the end) people will look at me as too quirky, weird and unhinged to be friends with or love. That’s a big one — I do not want to feel like I am too crazy to be loved. I know that isn’t true, but anxiety causes me to believe this about myself sometimes. Anxiety says, you’re too crazy for anyone to stick around, and you’ll never find love.

I’m working on my abandonment issues, and I am also working on not saying “sorry to bother you.” I’m not a bother, a nuisance or a burden; I’m a human being who deserves to be understood, loved and valued. I won’t let anxiety tell me anything otherwise, no matter how hard it tries.

This piece originally appeared on Psychology Today.

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