12 Lies Anxiety Tells You That Keep You Anxious and Fearful
Anxiety lies to you. It tells you lies in order to bully you and control you. A common complaint among people living with one or more anxiety disorders is that they can't get the racing thoughts of anxiety out of their head. A reason for this is that anxiety, seemingly without stopping, feeds lies directly into your brain. When we’re told something over and over and over again, we start to believe it. By telling you certain lies, anxiety strengthens itself so it can keep a hold on you and your life. See if you recognize any of these 12 common lies anxiety tells.
12 Lies Anxiety Constantly Tells You
- The past continues today. All of those worries and mistakes of the past -- they’re not really over. They’ll never go away, and you’ll suffer the consequences every day for the rest of your life.
- The future is happening now. The fears you have about what tragedies might happen and the what-if scenarios that plague you are justified.
- Worrying changes things. The more you think about something and the more you fret and ruminate, the more control you’ll have over the future. So please, worry and agonize.
- You’re not good enough. You never have been good enough, and you never will be. Look around you. See all those people? They’re better than you.
- Another thing about all those people: they’re judging you. You know you’re inferior, and they know it, too (Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me).
- Thinking and worrying at night is a great way to problem solve. Besides, you don’t really need to sleep because you’re not all that important during the day (The [Dysfunctional] Relationship Between Sleep And Anxiety).
- You don’t deserve to speak up. Other people are smarter, better, and more in charge.
- You’re stupid. You say the wrong things. You ruin stuff.
- You can’t ask for things or make even simple requests because you’ll bother people.
- If you have panic attacks, be afraid of them. They’re dangerous, and they mean you’re weak, pathetic.
- You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems, so don’t bother.
- You’re going crazy. You’re losing your mind.
Recognize the Lies that Anxiety Tells You
By telling you lies, anxiety works its way deep inside your brain and takes hold until you begin to believe the lies. They begin to seem like the truth. The lies are often so numerous, far beyond these 12 examples, and so vicious that it can be hard to recognize them for what they are: lies that anxiety tells you.
Recognizing what anxiety is saying and identifying the statements as lies is an important step in removing anxiety from your life. The next step is to challenge the lies, and the next article (12 Truths About You and Anxiety) will do exactly that.
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
It is really difficult when you love people and want to help them as well as make sure you don't lose anyone, but you face resistance at every turn. Reaching out for help and support is important, and you've clearly recognized that already. These resources can offer information and help you find local help:
National Foundation of Families for Children's Mental Health: https://www.ffcmh.org/
Yes -- there absolutely is hope. Your thoughts and feelings about this make a great deal of sense. Anxiety is so frustrating, and the more we try to fight it, the more it hangs on. Often, the answer lies in turning your attention away from anxious thoughts and onto something else. Anxiety won't instantly disappear. In fact, there are some anxious thoughts that hang on for a long time. The difference will be that you don't have to be stopped by them or stuck in them.
You might already have information similar to this, but just in case you need additional resources for finding a new therapist, I'll share these with you:
Two reputable sources of online counseling are talkspace.com and betterhelp.com (HealthyPlace has no connection to either of these, nor do we endorse any single organization either online or off because each individual is different, and what works great for one person may not work as well for someone else. We like to provide a variety of resources for people to investigate.)
Where to Find Mental Health Help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/i-need-mental-help-where-to-find-mental-health-help
Types of Mental Health Doctors and How to Find One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-doctors-and-how-to-find-one
Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-counselors-finding-a-good-one
What you describe sounds quite a bit like social anxiety (just an observation rather than a diagnosis). As you know, this can be horrible and life-limiting. It doesn't have to stay this way (even though it probably seems like it right now). This is an article with information about this type of anxiety that you might find helpful: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/03/social-anxiety-a-spectrum-from-shy-to-avoidant Working with a therapist can be extremely helpful in overcoming social anxiety. It can be hard to seek help when you have anxiety like this, but know that therapists are very understanding and know how to help. Therapy is available in person and online. Some good online programs are talkspace.com and betterhelp.com. (HealthyPlace isn't affiliated with either one and doesn't make recommendations. These are just listed as information.) Do consider some type of professional health. It might be uncomfortable at first, but that discomfort won't last, and you'll be on your way toward living the life you want.
The mind does play tricks on us by creating negative thoughts, anxieties, and more. It can be hard to know which thoughts are true and which are nothing more than lies. So you're not alone in this frightening frustration. I would never do you harm by trying to tell you what is happening. It could very well be anxiety-based, and it could be something else entirely. I encourage you to see your doctor and explain everything that's going on. He/she will provide insight and direction. Most things can indeed be fixed, or at least minimized.
This article on losing someone you love might be helpful: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/04/twelve-lies-anxiety-tells-you-2/
I'm very glad to know that this article has been helpful. Also, thank you for sharing part of your own experiences. Your thoughts will be useful to others and help people know that they're not alone in their anxious thoughts. Here is the link to the post about beating anxiety's lies: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/04/12-truths-about-you-and-anxiety/. I'm going to go add it to this article right now. :)
Here is some information about finding help to recover from anxiety: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/i-need-mental-help-where-to-find-mental-health-help/ and https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/free-mental-health-services-and-how-to-find-them/. Being able to talk with a therapist in person is extremely helpful in overcoming anxiety and fear.
Thank you once again for your insight. It does seem like so often, it's hard to separate oneself from what's going on in the surrounding environment. Internalizing everything -- all struggles and stressors, even when they're not our own -- contributes greatly to anxiety. When anxiety tells us that we're responsible for the world's problems and happiness/lack of happiness, we naturally become burdened by anxiety. Separating ourselves from things in our surroundings we can't control is crucial in decreasing anxiety.
Anxiety tells these lies to so many people. They're common with anxiety. And they're annoying. Worrying is an especially common "activity" with anxiety. Being aware of it is the first step in stopping it (or at least minimizing it to the point where it doesn't interfere in your thoughts, feelings, and actions -- in your life). There are other steps you can take to reduce worrying, too. I'll be sharing some next week. :)
"11. You want it? No matter what it is, be it friendship, love, a raise, a job, new equipment for sports or a hobby, you can’t have it. You don’t deserve it. You’re taking away from someone else. It might lead to problems. So don’t bother."
I'm glad you like the information. These are all lies anxiety used to tell me (yes, number 11, too), and in continuing to research and read about anxiety as well as talk with others in various capacities, I've discovered that these are some of the lies anxiety tells many people. Being able to identify them when we're thinking them and labeling them as anxiety's lies will help silence them.
Thank you for the helpful link to The Anxiety Expert, too!