If you're like me, anxiety is a real struggle on a day to day basis. Anxiety is so unique for anyone that has it because it affects each and every person differently. If you are a close friend or family member, you might be surprised when I tell you my little anxiety habits. You could have noticed them, but never thought anything of it. Most of the habits I have are a response to try and keep my anxiety on the down low. It is always a constant struggle, but that's why it is important to always remember how great your life is. Just breath in and out. Hopefully for those of you who feel alone, some of the things I talk about might make you feel better. Just know you are not alone, and that I am always here for you if you need to talk.
1. I Over Analyze Just About Everything.
I am not kidding when I say everything. The slightest remark someone says could push my thoughts into a million directions. One little joke that someone says could throw me off. This is what my brain asks. Do they really mean that? Do they hate you? Why would they say that? Does this person just hang out with me to make fun of me? These thoughts are crazy and they are always hard to harbor. A better example would be when I text a girl. This is no joke either. After that person will go to bed, I will read all the text messages a couple times over and over again to make sure I didn't say anything bad. I constantly worry that I messed up the friendship. I worry they might hate me. You could ask my family because I have legit asked them if they hate me. My sister could text me something really short, and I will automatically assume she is annoyed of me or doesn't want to deal with me. I texted her one day when she was at a funeral, and she didn't respond for about two hours. I had anxiety that entire time because I thought she was ignoring me. I would check my phone every minute because I was on edge. I told her one day, "I hope you don't hate me because I have anxiety." Obviously she loves me, but my brain always tells me differently. What I have learned is that text messages are always deceiving and do not reflect how a person actually feels. I don't do well with getting yelled at because I shut down. I think too much into it. I assume that my boss, workers, friends, or family hate me or think that I am dumb. When I give a speech or presentation I constantly think about how it was bad. I think about what people think of me, or how I look dumb now. You have to always tell yourself that these thoughts are momentary, not long lasting or true.
2. I Constantly Feel Like I am Being Judged.
My social anxiety in this aspect deals with how I talk, how I dress, or even how I drive. I hate this feeling more than anything in the world. I hate when people stare at my tattoo, or just stare at me in general. I feel like they are judging my clothing, my hair, or my habits. I feel as if they think my tattoo is "girly" or it's a stupid quote. I have always been the kid that was shaking his leg in class like he has had to go pee for over an hour. I can't help it. It calms me down, but I've had people look at me when I do it. I bite my nails constantly. My mom would always yell at me for the dirty habit, but i couldn't help it. I always felt that she judged me for it. My biggest habit is that i talk 24/7. Ask any of my friends because I know they get so annoyed of me. I am sorry to everyone who is close to me, but I have to talk everything out. I'll even talk to myself sometimes when I am super stressed out. If I have a speech coming up, I will probably repeat my worry for giving it at least ten times a day. I apologize roommates. I honestly just have to convince myself verbally that I can do it and that I will get through it. I have to keep telling myself that I won't get judged for writing this article, but I know I will anyways. You just have to learn to not care what people think about you. Way easier said then done.
3. I Have Been Going to Therapy to Deal With My Anxiety
I'm honestly not ashamed to say I go to therapy. I hate when people say that you need to have a serious issue to go therapy. That is incorrect. Therapy is amazing in that you can honestly talk about anything. I talk about school, grades, relationships, my anxiety, but most importantly the recent death of my brother-in-law, Kris. His death increased my anxiety to the point where I had to honestly be alone a lot because I would just break down crying. I would worry that I didn't do enough or that I wasn't a good brother. I constantly over analyze the situation. I have finally started to move on, but the death of a loved one will never leave your mind. I constantly think about him and how much I loved him. That's one thing that even if I tell you about it, you will truly never understand how sad I feel. Therapy is helping me deal with all of my emotions. I may begin medication soon if my anxiety doesn't get any better. My therapist even recommended me to see a doctor to get my anxiety checked out. I'm not afraid to say that because I know there are many people who take anxiety medication. There's no shame in that. The one serious issue with me is that my anxiety can get so bad that I can't sleep or my stomach will hurt. I won't eat as much sometimes because I am just worrying too much. I have been talking in my sleep a lot more, and even sleep walking once in a while. I haven't done that since I was a little kid. I am learning how to do deep breathing exercises to relax me. I keep a journal now of how my anxiety got triggered, and how i dealt with it. I constantly listen to my music. That is my only happy place. My music takes me to a place of serenity. I talk to Kris even though he isn't here. I tell him what's going on in my life, how much I miss him, and that I think about him everyday.
4. My Anxiety Tells Me That I Will Never Be Loved.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am usually happy and fun to be around. I love everyone with all my heart. I would risk my own life for any of my friends or family because I genuinely care about everyone. One of my favorite quotes from the bible goes something like this. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). I give all that I have to my friends and family. My anxiety in return tells me that I am being used. I feel like people use me because I am funny or usually positive. I'm afraid they are just using me to boost themselves up, then drop me. I give good advice and love listening to people. It stinks that I feel that way, but I really can't help it. I feel that I am never good enough for relationships. I don't think I am good looking, or am even that smart. I know that I am pretty smart, but I have a negative view on myself. I feel like the death of my brother is too much baggage and that will scare people. I'm scared that my anxiety is too much for people. For this reason I have trust and commitment issues. I'm terrified that I will be alone for the rest of my life because I am scared I will never be able to control all my worrying or that someone will never truly love me enough to deal with me. Another quote from my favorite love movie, P.S. I Love You, resonates in my life everyday. "So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that too." We all must walk together. For anyone out there who feels this way don't worry. I'll always be there right by your side.
5. I Have Habits You May Have Never Noticed
I love telling people my habits because they will always say they did notice but just assumed it was nothing. When I get in super awkward situation, I will flex or stretch my neck out. It honestly looks like I may be twitching, but I'm not. It is just something I have always done. When I feel nervous or anxious, I will run my hands through my hair. I will crack my fingers all the time even when I can't crack them. You could watch me crack them, then a few minutes later try to do it again. It makes me feel better trying to crack them. I shake my leg when I get really anxious. I will bite my nails constantly. I will listen to a song on replay because it makes me feel good. While typing this article I have listened to Stand By Me by SoMo at least 30 times. No, I am not joking. I chew my gum really loud because when I hear the noise it stops me from thinking about random things. I always crinkle my nose. This habit started up when I started college. I will shrug my nose or flair my nostrils. I can't look you in the eyes for very long because that makes me feel awkward. I'll just stare at my tattoo because that reminds me of Kris. It's really ironic of me, but I love to stare at people. I hate when people do it to me, yet I do it to others. I paint a picture of them in my head. I'll guess what their parents look like, how nice they are, do they have siblings, and do they like Loras. It's kind of funny to do, and it gets rid of my anxiety. I have a habit of always telling jokes in serious situations because I feel awkward. That always gets me yelled at. An awful habit is that I always just assume the worst possible outcome. I don't know why I do it, but for some reason when I'm in mood I like to stay in a mood. Just remember that nobody judges you for your anxiety habits. I have to constantly remind myself of that.
I will leave you with my favorite quote which I also have tattooed on my body. It is called Invictus by William Ernest Henley. This poem was read by my other brother at Kris's funeral. "Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the Horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me, unafraid. It matters now how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."