A part of being chronically anxious includes constant worry about what might happen in the future. But what I've also experienced is that along with this is not just the worry, but the fear of not being good enough, of feeling like you don't meet up to certain standards, and feeling like a failure.
When my phone lights up with a notification from Instagram, I immediately open the app and start scrolling. Scrolling on Instagram is quite addictive, and I cannot seem to stop once I start. This doesn't just waste my time but also has detrimental effects on my mental health. From body image issues to low self-esteem, using Instagram is anxiety-inducing.
Over the years, I have learned so much about my anxiety, not only through formal education but also simply through taking the time to analyze what I am going through. Some might say that this is just a part of dealing with anxiety -- the overthinking and the constant overanalyzing of what you feel, think, and do. But I think it has also been helpful because it has helped me recognize my triggers and anxiety symptoms. It has also helped me figure out things I can do that are helpful for me. One of those things is leaning into my anxiety and accepting the anxiety instead of running away from it.
"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety.
After years of coping with anxiety and trying to understand it, I've learned that one of the things that affect how I feel is how others feel. In other words, I've found myself quite empathic towards the feelings of others. For me, empathy and anxiety occur together.
Ever since I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, I have always perceived my anxiety as a bully and as my worst enemy. I hated that I struggled with anxiety and wanted nothing more than to get rid of it. Why wouldn't I? After all, my anxiety had stolen many opportunities and experiences I could have had if it hadn't made my day-to-day social interactions so tough. However, all of this changed when I learned to acknowledge the ways in which my anxiety has helped me and started expressing gratitude towards my anxiety.
If you often deal with anxiety, sometimes it might seem as though it is difficult to be happy and anxious. While anxiety is not the same as depression, I think that dealing with it can sometimes lead to depression because, when you're anxious, you may find that you experience negative emotions that lead to a general feeling of sadness. You might also find that you focus more on those negative feelings than other ones.
Job interview anxiety is a real thing, more for some of us than for others. Receiving the email, "Congratulations! We have moved your application to the next round and would like to schedule an interview with you," fills me with anxiety instead of happiness.
Something I've learned about my anxiety is that sometimes, instead of being consumed by worries about the future, it is possible to be overwhelmed by the past to the point that my memories trigger anxiety symptoms.
Has your anxiety ever made you say "no" to an opportunity that you wanted to say "yes" to? You are not alone if you have ever done that. More often than not, my anxiety holds me back from saying "yes" to opportunities that I'm interested in. While I feel a sense of relief when I say "no," I start experiencing feelings of regret soon.