Why It’s So Hard To Trust People When You Have Anxiety
This piece was written by Ari Eastman, a Thought Catalog contributor.
Anxiety convinces you your safety is always in jeopardy. Be it physical, emotional or mental. Doesn’t matter. You’re always worried. There’s a voice you can’t ever seem to mute.
Anxiety means you’re constantly looking for something to ruin you, to undermine any bit of happiness or stability you’ve achieved. And that makes it so hard to let your guard down. You feel like if you relax, that’ll be the moment it all goes to hell. So relaxation isn’t an option. You have to remain alert, vigilant even. You have to be ready for the inevitable.
Anxiety tells you that you’re not going to be OK. Even if you are. It’s not rational. That’s why it’s so frustrating and so hard to explain to those who don’t experience it. You don’t ever truly feel calm. Even if you’re surrounded by loving, trustworthy people. Even if you’re sitting in the comfort of your home, with four sturdy walls protecting you.
Sometimes, anxiety has nothing to do with other people. It’s your brain. It’s your brain racing through every worst case scenario on an endless loop. It’s your brain looking for problems where they don’t even exist.
See, trust requires believing in something you can’t see. And that can be so, so hard for someone with anxiety.
Trusting someone, anyone, means uncertainty and uncertainty to an anxious mind is terrible. When it’s really bad, it can be debilitating.
You turn down social invitations. Not because you don’t want to go. Not because you dislike the person inviting you. But because there’s that trust issue again. You need a meticulous list of what’s going to happen if you say yes. And no one can promise you that. No one has a crystal ball with a play-by-play of everything that’s going to occur.
It doesn’t mean you can’t get there. It doesn’t mean trust is some mythical feeling you’ll never be able to attain.
But it means work. It means trying and feeling like a failure and trying again. It means patience. It means small acts of bravery whenever you can muster up the strength.
And if tomorrow your trust still feels shaky, that’s OK.
The people who care will take their time with you. They’ll let you get there whenever you’re ready.
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Thinkstock photo via domoyega