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When Anxiety Makes You Feel Guilty About Saying Anything

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Let’s talk for a minute.

I’ve said this time and time again: anxiety is incredibly complex and affects all who have it differently.

I most recently wrote about how people who are reactive to me (in a negative way, whether it is intentional or not) when I tell them about my anxiety tend to make it worse. We’re about to have a different conversation that pertains to me at this present moment.

I don’t know about you — though I have heard this many times before and believe it is one of the most common things associated with anxiety — but if I feel I have upset someone, whew, is my anxiety going to dwell for days and cause me to feel intense guilt over ever saying anything, ever. The feeling of, “Oh, man, how could I have worded that better? Should I have even said anything? I shouldn’t have said anything,” eats me alive. It makes me physically ill — in a subtle context, nausea, and maybe my body suddenly feels it hasn’t rested in a week.

Following this guilt is reassurance seeking. This is something my therapist and I have been working on improving for years. I ask for reassurance that all is OK and no one is upset. If you think there’s a kicker, it is because there’s a kicker. Wanna know what it is? I’ll tell ya. Even if I’ve been assured over and over again that everything is fine, I still feel tremendous guilt and anxiety over having said anything and sometimes even continue seeking reassurance. You know what happens after that? The person rightfully gets irritated and then I feel even worse! Wild, huh? It’s a nasty, vicious cycle.

When all is said and done and I’m left feeling like nothing is resolved, I get to do the fun thing where I work my mind into moving past it, which just physically makes me more nauseous and tired.

Guilt associated with anxiety is just as complex as anxiety itself. It could mean and be associated with a lot of different situations. I think we’ve already established this, but anxiety is so much fun, isn’t it?

Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Originally published: March 10, 2020
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