11 Ways I Interact Differently With the World as Someone With Anxiety
This piece was written by Lauren Jarvis-Gibson, a Thought Catalog contributor.
1. I see danger in every situation.
No matter what I am doing, I fear the worst in every activity. I definitely see the glass half empty and in my head, I am questioning why I even go outside.
2. I fear even the simplest of tasks.
Going to work, going to a party alone, riding the train, riding a plane, driving, going on a date — the list goes on and on. Every single simple and easy task I do is daunting, because I see what could go wrong, even when it’s relatively safe.
3. I either sleep in way too late or wake up way too early.
Some people are so exhausted from thinking so much that they literally need more than eight hours of sleep to feel rested. Also, overthinking at night keeps people up, so sleeping in is a must. For others, they need to wake up early in order to get everything done at a greater pace. Anxiety starts the second they get up.
4. I make lists for literally anything and everything.
I don’t just make lists for grocery shopping. I make lists for work, for social dates and for trips. I don’t see the world as an adventure or game, I see it as a more serious and more rigid place than other people do.
5. I focus on the negatives when receiving constructive criticism.
No matter how many positive reviews, raves or comments I get from work, co-workers and from friends, I don’t even listen to that part. I only focus on the negative, and what I failed at, instead of what I did well on.
6. I see challenges as mountain climbs.
I don’t see challenges as exciting or adventurous or thrilling. I see them as valleys to hike and climb on, only to fall off of them. I see challenges as opportunities to fail instead of succeed or thrive.
7. I always think the worst is bound to happen.
It may seem completely bonkers to other people to understand and it may even seem silly, but it’s not funny for me. My therapist once told me that when I see sticks on the ground, I view them as snakes. That’s how I see every situation.
8. I don’t have faith in myself.
I’m my own worst enemy. And when I fail or get brokenhearted, I blame it on myself and put myself down to the extreme. I am my own worst critic and I tell myself truly terrible things. To say I have low self-esteem would be an understatement.
9. I don’t have faith in other people.
Just like I don’t have much faith in myself, I don’t have faith in others. If people do me wrong, I automatically shut them out in fear of getting hurt more. And when it comes to love, if I have been burned in the past, so I view every relationship as something that will end instead of something that will bring me joy.
10. If I failed at something, I will likely never try it again.
In elementary school I got a “C” in math and was convinced I was terrible at that subject. Because of this insecurity, I have always said I would do terribly in math no matter what, and that became the truth. If I fail at something or do just “OK” I convince myself it’s not worth trying again.
11. I take interactions and conversations with people very seriously.
Every conversation I have feels like an interview, especially when I am meeting strangers. I hold onto every second of the interaction and dissect every person’s tone and voice. If it feels like they are judging or disagreeing with me, I usually feel small and like everyone is laughing at me.
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Unsplash photo via Sharon Garcia