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When It's Hard to Tell the Difference Between Anxiety and Reality

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Because of my anxiety, I often struggle to interpret the scenarios that are happening around me and it becomes difficult to process what’s real versus what I’ve simply created. There are usually two narratives at war inside my head, and I’m left to sort out fact from fiction.

Simple conversations can be skewed to the point where I think about them for hours, long after they should have been forgotten. I obsess over insignificant details, thinking they mean more than they actually do. It’s like I’m trying to decode a secret message that doesn’t exist.

It’s easy for me to lose myself in my anxiety to the point where I almost don’t know what’s real anymore. I get so consumed with my anxious thoughts I actually start believing them and it’s challenging to snap out of it. This is something I deal with daily, and the battle between reality and my anxiety can be maddening if I don’t work at it.

The hardest part is that I can’t be told otherwise when these thoughts get the best of me. I must come to my own conclusions, otherwise, I’ll never fully believe it.

I typically try to analyze the entire situation so I can get down to the actual meaning before I get carried away. Sometimes admitting my anxious thoughts are silly and unrealistic helps calm me down. I can then separate the logical scenarios from my ridiculous speculations.

Although this process takes a while, it’s necessary for me to separate reality from my anxiety. Every time I successfully sort out my anxious thoughts, the process gets a little easier and I become more confident that I’m on the right track.

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Thinkstock photo via amoklv

Originally published: September 1, 2017
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