Confident People Can Be Anxious Too

What happens when a confident person becomes ill with anxiety?

I am not a shy person. I am quiet, yes. Reserved. But I would say I’m quietly confident. I am not naturally nervous in new situations, and I can talk to anyone. I have lived and worked abroad, and moved and made new friends more times than I care to remember. I can stand in front of large groups, give presentations, talks, you name it — I can do it.

But I have a problem. A problem called anxiety.

Because the truth is that even though the above is who I am and forms a large part of my personality, it’s been almost a year now since I last felt entirely comfortable leaving my apartment on my own, and recently it’s been getting worse. Groups of people terrify me and I wouldn’t touch public speaking with a barge-pole!

Anxiety is a constant part of my life just now. On a good day, I can go about my day. I am aware of the undercurrent of quiet, jaw-clenching anxiety, but I can use whatever confidence I can muster to push past to get stuff done. I function. By the end of the day, my teeth ache and my head aches from the constant tension.

On a bad day, it’s not so straight forward. Even considering going out makes my heart feel fluttery. Like a wee bird that would rather be elsewhere. But, again this can usually be pushed through with confidence (sometimes with the help of medication).

It’s when it’s at its worst, when I have a panic attack and then definitely I can’t leave the house until I calm myself down enough to start breathing again, when I can’t seem to find any of my own quiet confidence, enough of my own true personality, to push me past the physical and mental symptoms. This is what I resent most.

I just can’t get used to trying to do the things I used to do so easily, and the anxiety saying, “no… no way.”

I will always resent the fact that anxiety has taken away parts of my personality over the past couple of years. I don’t want to get used to it either. I know it’s going to take a bit of work, but I’d like the old me back, please?

I think that’s why anxiety is such a debilitating illness. It can strike anyone, and strip down all their reserves. So whoever you are, no matter how confident and self-assured you may be naturally, you can be well and truly knocked. It’s so important to remember this doesn’t make you weak, and you’re not alone.

Getty Images photo via Marzacz

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

25 'Weird' Things People Do Because of AnxietyAdd heading (1)

25 'Weird' Things People Do Because of Anxiety

When you’ve lived with anxiety for a while, oftentimes you become aware of some of the unique things you do because of it — or even the “weird” ways you’ve learned to cope with it. Maybe you’re like me and you check your pulse obsessively, willing your heart rate to just slow down. Maybe your anxiety [...]
woman surrounded by balloons

4 Ways to Handle Rejection When You Live With Anxiety and Depression

Rejections are difficult for most people. It can come in and mess up your viewpoint on your life and self-worth. But when you have anxiety and depression, rejection can come down a little bit harder. It can set you back a little bit more. Dig the hole you are already in a little bit deeper. [...]
Young woman with sinus pressure pain. Depressing state concept

When Anxiety Presents Itself as Irrational Thoughts

Anxiety is an extremely complex thing. It can be classified as an emotion, a disorder and a feeling. It also has the ability to present itself in many different ways. It can present itself as anger and sadness. It can present itself physically. Some experience only one of those things, some experience a couple of [...]
Vector illustration of beautiful naughty girl with ponytails

What to Do When Your Go-To Coping Strategy Doesn't Work

There is a certain calm in painting. I never thought I’d like it. Even now after trying it a few times, I’m not particularly creative or talented, but it has its appeal. Mixing colors, making broad marks, starting completely over on a blank canvas – there is comfort in the process. Sometimes, I paint as [...]