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When You Convince Yourself Your Anxiety Is an Inconvenience to Friends

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I often feel like a burden to those I love because of my anxiety. I struggle in asking for accommodations to be made on my behalf because I feel like I am inconveniencing someone. It can be difficult for me to reach out to my friends because I fear the anticipatory anxiety that accrues prior to us spending time together, causing me to consider canceling our plans. I would never want my friends to think they are triggering my anxiety. It is the action of going to public places, especially crowded ones, that makes me nervous.
As much as I yearn for profound human connection, I simultaneously fear it. I am afraid of being judged and criticized. When I am in public, I carry with me a constant worry of being watched even though I know the people surrounding me are busy with their own days. Thus, at the end of a day, I often feel drained of energy, both mentally and emotionally, because I’ve had to build up a sense of courage for each commitment.
Even though I sometimes experience setbacks, I view each day as a new and bright opportunity to take another step in managing my anxiety so I can live comfortably with it. I acknowledge that my anxiety will always be a part of me, but that’s just it. It’s only a part! My anxiety is not all that I am. I used to feel shameful about my anxiety because it makes me self-conscious. Over time, I have grown to accept my anxiety because it contributes to who I am, yet it doesn’t make me who I am. I ultimately decide that. Also, I aspire to instill a sense of hope within others who are dealing with anxiety or other mental health struggles, for there is always a silver lining, even if it only begins as a dim glimmer.
For instance, my dear family and friends accept me for who I am, for all that I am, including my anxiety. They do not judge me. They remind me I am a gift, not a burden. It truly is a blessing to be reminded that you are loved and that you are lovable. My anxiety causes me to view myself in a self-deprecating manner. Yet, when I look at myself through the eyes of my support team, I see a different “me.” I see my value and my purpose. I firmly believe that if you accept, believe in, love, and embrace who you are, you will be able to do anything! Remember, you are a gift, and you have so much to share with this world!

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Thinkstock photo by korionov

Originally published: January 11, 2017
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