When Anxiety Tells You Isolation Is the Answer
Do you ever feel like you have to shut yourself away when anxiety strikes? Like if people saw what this part of you looked like, they would reject you?
I almost always have a never-ending stream of negative, worrisome or stressful thoughts going through my head. I try to push them away as much as possible, but they usually end up overwhelming me. The thoughts become so loud it’s like I can’t hear or think about anything else no matter how hard I try to distract myself. That’s when the physical anxiety kicks in. My hands start to shake, my back and neck tighten, my heart starts pounding in my chest, my throat encloses and breathing seems to become an unachievable task. My body feels unable to contain the panic any longer. Tears stream down my face, my stomach tosses and turns and if I’m lucky, I can hold down whatever I was able to eat that day. Usually it only lasts minutes, but sometimes it will last hours or days even. When I finally settle down and return to “normal,” all I can think is I just want it all to end, I want everything so stop.
These are the things I tell myself I should never let anyone see. Because, What would they think of me? What would they say? What would they do? Would they leave?
For myself, the hardest part of trying to deal with my anxiety is knowing I can’t control what will trigger an attack. That unsettling feeling keeps me on edge most of every day. It’s no surprise that isolating myself is often the easiest solution I can come to. After all, if no one is there to see this part of me, then no one can walk away from me.
And if I can’t find a way to physically isolate myself, the next best solution is to mentally and emotionally isolate myself. If I don’t open up to anyone about what I’m feeling, they can’t judge me. They can’t try to explain away and invalidate my feelings. If I keep it all to myself, I can go on pretending like people care about me.
These are the lies my anxiety tells me every day. It tells me the only solution to my feelings is to cut everyone off from them. It is a daily battle to see past those thoughts and go to the people in my life who I know care, even when my anxiety has me believing they don’t. If you struggle with this issue the way I do, please don’t believe you are alone or you have to battle this on your own. The easiest way anxiety and depression win is when we believe we are alone.
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Thinkstock photo via sSplajn.