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The 22 Parts of Anxiety That Were Hardest for People to Accept

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If you struggle with anxiety, you may know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all “cure.” At certain points in your journey, you start to figure out what parts of your anxiety you can accept (for example, maybe you need to take more breaks at work to get through the day — and that’s OK), and what parts of your anxiety you want to continue working on (like the panic attacks that make it hard to hang out with friends).

To hear more about this, we asked people in our Mighty mental health community to let us know which part of living with anxiety was hardest to accept. Because even though acceptance can be difficult, it’s not the same as giving up.

What was the hardest thing for you to accept about life with anxiety? Let us know in the comments below:

Here is what our community had to say:

1. “Living with the fact that you have to get used to second- and third- and fourth-guessing yourself. Going around in circles in your head for hours at a time and pondering over the smallest, most insignificant things that others may take for granted. And because of that, people seldom understand why you do this. The lack of understanding. The lack of empathy from others who simply cannot understand.” — Daniel J.

2. “People judge you. Also on bad anxiety days, people don’t realize struggling with anxiety is real and very hard to deal with. [I] don’t get to choose good and bad days.” — Amanda H.

3. “Having to constantly remind myself that I am OK, even when I am having good days. Constantly remembering to relax and just be OK.” — Amanda D.

4. “Not having any control over it. Control has become a huge thing for me in other areas of my life because I feel like if I can control everything, the anxiety might stay away.” — Amanda W.

5. “Knowing that you’re in a tough state of mind, yet having trouble explaining how I feel due to overthinking and overanalyzing my thought process.” — Tim R.

6. “I’m always going to be fearful of losing loved ones, then panicking about it.” — Emma B.

7. “The stigma that surrounds anxiety. To most people, if they can’t see it then they don’t believe it. [I] am not just using it to get attention. Most of the time [I] am just trying to reach out for a little bit of help or compassion” — Becky E.

8. “It’s not going away. No matter how much therapy or medication, there will always be this fear and you can’t get rid of it, but have to learn to live with it. It’s annoying if you want to do something, but your body and mind tell you that you just can’t do it.” — Michelle-Marie W.

9. “Not always knowing what will trigger it.” — Courtney F.

10. “The amount of time and effort it takes; from making sure you have a place to go if you have a panic attack, to making sure you’ve taken your medication and taking care of yourself.” — Alyson F.

11. “The inability to explain myself, yet wanting to. The hyperactive focus on my breath and heartbeat constantly —sometimes for days and nights in a row.  I just want to wake up and it be calm through and through.” — Leesha K.

12. “It is not something that people can ‘see,’ they think you’re making it up and have no idea how tiring it can be.” — Bev B.

13. “I can’t do as much or it takes me longer to do basic things like the rest. When I was in a car wreck it took me way longer to ‘learn’ how to drive again, to be used to having reckless drivers around me and be around children. I’m 22 and my car wreck happened when I was 17. Never being sure of yourself is the hardest for me.” — Gabriela C.

14. “The hardest thing to accept about living with anxiety is that I’ll never truly know what it is like to ‘relax.’ Even if I’m lounging around on the couch at home in my comfiest PJs with a hot drink and my favorite film, I’m still not truly relaxed because my anxiety makes me constantly ready to fight or run.” — Victoria M. 

15. “I think the hardest part for me has been accepting that it’s a part of me and probably always will be and I have to learn how to work with it and around it. Trying to find career paths has been extremely difficult for me. The typical 9 to 5 work week has proven to be very detrimental to my mental health. So trying to find alternatives has been a little harder. Not everyone understands and it’s definitely not easy, but we’ve all got our battles I suppose.” — Abbey D.

16. “For me, the hardest part is the unpredictability of it. It comes out of nowhere. I could be talking to my fiancé and the next minute I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack over nothing.” — Hayley G. 

17. “Things I’m OK with one day might suddenly start making me anxious — public speaking, going to the movies, even grocery shopping are all things I used to be able to do without a second thought, and now they are either avoided entirely or I have to take specific ‘precautions’ to minimize the risk of an anxiety attack.” — Mary-Catherine M.

18. “I’ll never truly enjoy social outings. There will always be a part of me that wants to go back home to my safe place. Even if I’m laughing and having fun, a part of me will always want to run. My fight-or-flight response will always be there.” — Sloane S.

19. “It will always be a part of me and I will never not have it. It took a long time for me to accept that, but now I have I feel I have moved on with my life and rather than try and fix it I just work around it. Which is making me much happier.” — Samantha L. 

20. “It’s not something I can control. I’m a very ambitious person and I like to work hard, create and just do things, but I just don’t have the energy and I get so overwhelmed and anxious that it feels like I’ll never accomplish anything.” — Bonny K.

21. “I never know when an attack is going to hit. It makes big events in the day difficult because I don’t know if an anxiety attack is going to hit or not.” — Lauren F.

22. “Accepting that there is no shame in having a mental illness. It took me years to be able to call my anxiety a mental illness because I was so embarrassed by it.” — Christina F.

What would you add?

Originally published: April 14, 2023
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