Anxiety affected my life before I even knew what it was. I was often called a worrier as I was growing up, since I obsessed on anything went wrong. Sometimes, things didn’t have to go wrong for me to obsess. I found a way to worry about everything and this habit quickly spread to the rest of my life. Even if everything turned out okay, I would worry halfway through about if anything else fell through. I discovered that in times of stress, my brain would never stop running. I always worried and still do, but not as often or as intensely.
My anxiety always managed to grab my attention and as I stated before, I always found something to worry about. As of today, my anxiety is centered around food, my overall appearance, and what other people think of me. Granted, my relationship with food isn’t the best – stress steals my appetite, even if I’m ravenous before the stress hits me. I have gone days with eating only one meal and that is nothing to be proud of. I’m pleased to say that my eating habits have improved – all thanks to new coping mechanisms. I’m working on keeping my anxiety from ruling my life and I’m here to tell you that it is okay to be anxious, but it is not okay to let it keep you from enjoying your life.
Like the rest of humanity, I struggle with self-doubt, and that always summons my anxiety. Feeling self-doubt prompts me to ask myself: Do I really like this hairstyle? Is it flattering? Am I ready for this presentation today? Have I done all I could? What about my outfit – could I be a bit more dressed up?
Asking yourself these questions is perfectly fine, but standing in the mirror staring at yourself will not help you. Terrible feelings, such as guilt, shame, self-doubt, and insecurity will keep you stuck in your room, curled up in a ball because you’ve tricked yourself into no longer feeling prepared to face the world. I believe that anxiety is really our brain having a moment of doubt and it tries to correct itself by trying to address the issue, which is what prompts the previous questions that accelerate the incoming anxiety.
How do you face the day while struggling with anxiety? It’s all in the mind.
The first thing you need to do is to tell yourself that you’ve done all you could. This moment of self-doubt is a good sign – it means that you care enough about your reputation. You want your thoughts about yourself to match your outward appearance – you want to be who you think you are. No one thinks of themselves as a bad person without feeling bad. We all worry about how we come across and that we want to be who we say we are. So, when you have this feeling of self-doubt, ignore it. Tell yourself that you are what you think you are: a good __whatever you believe you are__. Whatever you’re doubting yourself about, you have to shake that feeling aside and realize that you are that thing.
For example, I struggle with self-doubt as a writer sometimes. On occasion, I think that I used to write better back when I was fourteen and finding my voice.
What do I tell myself now when I feel self-doubt? I tell myself: you are a great writer. There will come a time when you can’t encourage yourself the way you would like to and there’s a way to get past that, too. Regardless of how you feel about whatever it is you are struggling to do, you have to tell yourself that you are still making progress. Even if I can’t believe my own words about being a great writer, I tell myself that I’m improving every day. We’re all a work in progress, for the rest of our lives in fact, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Part of the problem for many of us with anxiety is that we care too much. We want everything we do to be perfect. We want to be the friendliest, best-dressed, and nicest person in the room, and while that is achievable (only in some rooms), we have to remember that perfection an illusion.
Yes, perfection is an illusion. It is not achievable. There are too many variables that require the exact amount of manipulation from us in order to reach perfection… We can strive to make excellent work, but perfect work? Forget about our opinion, someone else will be around to say, “That could have been better,” and they could be right. We’ll never know. No one can produce the same thing. Your version of your own work and their version of your work are two different things.
However, caring about something enough to be anxious about it is damn near admirable. Granted, the physical symptoms of anxiety aren’t pleasant, but we have to realize that some people go through life without giving a damn. Yes, you could argue that we care too much, but that only means we take pride in our work, our appearance, and who we are…
In my Anxiety & Me series, we’re going to dive into our minds for a while and see what we can do to alleviate some of our anxiety.
Thank you for reading my post! I love talking to you all! I’ll see you next Thursday!