The Lies My Anxiety Tells Me at Night
“I’m a failure. No one will love me. I can’t do anything right. I talk too much. I come across too strong at times. I’m losing it. I’m a screw-up. People are just being my friend out of pity. I’m the person everyone wishes they could ditch. I can’t even get a basic job. I fail at everything. I shouldn’t have said that, now they will hate me. I’m broken. I should just run away and never return.”
These are the lies my anxiety feeds me late at night when I am struggling. I’m my own worst enemy and regardless of what I do, I can never escape the thoughts. I never believe people when they give me compliments and wonder if they are really seeing me right. My anxiety takes the basic thoughts in my mind and times them by a hundred, yet I can’t stop believing them. I can see the best in people but I can’t see the best in myself no matter how hard I try.
I don’t have any confidence in myself and that’s clear in new situations. I second-guess myself so many times and will question every little thing. At school, I was the kid who was always bullied and the names I was called have managed to stick and come with me into adulthood. When you get told the same thing over and over again, you start to believe it; it can be hard to shake the things you were once labeled with.
The thoughts are always worse after a negative situation. If I don’t get a job I interviewed for, I had a fight with someone or I’m just having a bad day, the thoughts pop up in my head and nothing will silence them. They play in mind on an endless loop and there’s no off switch. I just let them play, slowly believing everything more and more.
My anxiety and dyspraxia make it hard to forget things both good and bad. I can remember something small and specific from years ago, which no one else can. It means bad memories can pop up at random times and can still hurt like the day it happened. I try to shake away the bad memories and instead focus on the good, but it’s still hard at times when I am having a bad day.
At what seems like every appointment, my psych tells me: “You are so strong and have gone through so much; you’re not a failure and need to give yourself more credit for your achievements.” However, my anxiety doesn’t let me believe it for long. Instead, I see myself as a failure for needing to take medication to function and only being able to work part time.
I have recently decided to take a stand and stop believing the things my anxiety tells me. It’s a long road and it’s hard retraining my thought patterns, but I am getting there.
Instead, when I start thinking of negative things, I tell myself something positive. Instead of “I’m a failure and a screw-up,” it’s “I have achieved so much, despite my struggles.” Instead of “I can’t get a basic job,” it’s “I am doing my best to find a job but it’s just taking time. I will get a job.” And instead of “people are just being my friend out of pity,” I list all the great qualities my friends have told me and remind myself of the fact they are my friends because they want to be.
It’s time to stand up for myself and stop believing the things my anxiety tells me, because I am so much more than my anxiety.
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Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz