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Things People With Anxiety Do That Others Don't Understand

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People share things they do because of their anxiety that others often mistake for “irrational” behavior.


Things People With Anxiety Do That Others Don’t Understand

1. Overplanning

“I run scenarios over and over in my head to make sure my ‘plans’ will work.”

2. Saying ‘No’ to Last-Minute Plans

 “I am plagued with guilt for making everyone think I was mad and I obsess excessively over every detail.”

3. Overthinking

“I thoroughly organize my thoughts and words. If I don’t like it, I certainly won’t say it. And the conversation could be completely simple, like, ‘How’s the weather today?’”

4.  Cleaning or Organizing Obsessively

“I start to obsessively clean and organize things. I guess it gives me a sense of ‘control’ when I’m spiraling.”

5. Knocking On Wood

“I’m completely aware it does nothing — but if I don’t do it, the thoughts will spiral. So I just surrender to the knock and immediately feel like I’ve exerted some control.”

6. Feeling Worthless

“My anxiety leads me into a state of thinking I’m worthless, not doing enough or being good enough. Then that leads me into my depressive, no motivation/isolation state.” 

7. Avoiding Major Roads While Driving

“Driving gives me a lot of anxiety and when I’m super anxious, I will go out of my way to take roads that are less busy so I don’t have to deal with traffic.” 

8. Breathing “More Intensely” Than Usual

“I catch myself inhaling multiple times in a row as if my body doesn’t think I’m getting oxygen. I’m stuck trying to inhale and exhale and catch my breath out of nowhere.”

9. Picking My Skin

“I constantly pick at my arms and legs. Sometimes it is so painful, but it’s what I can control.”

10. Isolating From Loved Ones

“When it gets to be too much, I push people away. I don’t like being touched, being talked to, if anyone around me is simply loud, I get overwhelmed and freak out. It’s cost me a lot of friendships.”

 From feelings of guilt to fears of what people outside of us think about our behavior, anxiety can feel debilitating.

You might feel compelled to “irrational” things to cope.

Anxiety is a very real disorder, and if you ever find yourself feeling small or alone because you feel “irrational” — you are not alone. 

Originally published: December 12, 2019
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