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12 People Share the Truth of How Anxiety Affects Their Self-Esteem

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Even before I could fully comprehend the depression and anxiety I lived with, I knew I had low self-esteem. It’s one of those things that keep me mired in self-doubt and depression: the feeling that I’m not as “good” at my job as my colleagues, not as successful as my peers, not attractive, not charming… need I go on? Self-esteem is one of the fulcrums around which my depression and anxiety turn despite every piece of evidence to the contrary. It feeds my depression and anxiety, which in turn folds back into my low self-esteem when I’m unable to do the things I “should” be able to do.

According to Dr. Joe Rubino, as much as 85% of the world’s population struggles with low self-esteem, on average affecting women and girls more than men and boys. That means, walking down the street, you might be surprised by how many people have that voice in their heads telling them that they are worthless, unattractive, and unsuccessful.

If you’re one of this number, then please know that I see you. Anxiety is a liar; you are worthy, you are wonderful, and you deserve to feel good about yourself. Just in case you feel alone, though, we asked our community about the ways their anxiety affects their self-esteem.

Here’s what they told us:

“It makes me doubt myself all the time.” — @keepingitreal80

“I feel that people don’t like me and withdraw, and I feel too tense to enjoy anything social.” — @annamurray8

“My anxiety can make me feel small and insecure.” — @yellotulip

“My anxiety makes me feel ugly. I stay home a lot because of severe social anxiety. I can’t stand loud noises or groups of people. I think my anxiety keeps my self-esteem low. I am not living. Just existing.” — @chloeb1_

“It keeps me from going out in public. Working. Being the best I can be. It tells me I’m ugly, fat, and worthless.” — @snow3white

“Most times, it makes me question my worth. With lots of therapy and research, I have the tools to identify the moments and redirect my thoughts. I know the truth about myself: I am whole, I am worthy.” — @ellencappard

“My anxiety definitely affects my self-esteem, whether it comes to driving, conversations, or other areas of my life. I try to be confident, but some days my mind gets the best of me.” — @irishlass215

“My self-what?” — @fathousewife

“Anxiety has ruined me. My self-esteem is shattered because I feel like I am constantly under a pressure that I can’t ease. I get overwhelmed by little things and maintaining a career has been a huge challenge. I also struggle in other aspects of my life as well. I miss my old self, pre-anxiety.” — @kittycatsnuggles

“Anxiety has made me more and more critical of myself and has made me self-conscious. It makes social situations much harder as well.” — @writer21

“I really struggle with imposter syndrome. However, it also helps me to understand my anxious students.” — @lauracort

“My current anxiety flare is because I was offered a new job and they offered me too much money. I just felt I wasn’t worth it and it triggered so much of ‘I’m not worth that,’ ‘I can’t do this job, it’s too much’, and ‘they’re expecting me to be brilliant and I’m not’ thoughts. The cascade just went off the rails and then transposed to my workplace where I felt I was no good and useless. Cue panic attacks, sickness, and now I’m needing help and medications. I hate it when there’s a collective shrug that ‘anxiety is a bit of worry’ — it’s so much more.” — @princesstina7

Getty Images photo via 10’000 Hours

Originally published: September 21, 2022
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