These 7 Things Are Done As A Result Of Anxiety; They Do Not Define Me As A Person
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These 7 Things Are Done As A Result Of Anxiety; They Do Not Define Me As A Person

"I'm not great at quieting my anxiety, but I sure am fantastic at silencing my confidence."

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These 7 Things Are Done As A Result Of Anxiety; They Do Not Define Me As A Person

I have spent the majority of my life blaming myself for what my anxiety is responsible for. Though I realize that there are people out there with problems much worse than mine and events much more tragic, I feel sorry for people like me. The people that had and continue to have reservations on how they choose to live their life. All because of one, mind-fucking disease I regret to call: Anxiety.

Though it's a pain-in-the-ass, anxiety is actually a pretty smart disease. It knows what makes you tick.

Insecurity issues?

Relationship problems?

Family drama?

Body dysmorphia?

Anxiety can tackle your deepest fear then hold it hostage inside your mind until you're forced to do nothing but play back all the "what if's" of the worst, possible outcome of your insecurities.

Your body looks kind of ugly in the color yellow, let's hope the guy you like doesn't notice.

Did you know your boyfriend use to hook up with one of your friends…I wonder if she was better in bed?

Half of your family judges you for the choices you've been making lately-I hope you know that.

You could be thinner if you skipped that meal, and you could lose some of that arm fat if you'd just hit the gym.

Do you feel that? That heavy weight that feels like it's stitched to your chest? As hard as you push it away, it still doesn't relieve any of the pressure…and no amount of medication can take away the burning/itching feeling of knowing your anxiety is able to come back around at any given moment. No matter what time of day, no matter the location, no matter how happy you may feel one moment…Your anxiety doesn't just go away with a simple: "Please?"

It doesn't allow you to decide the moments you have some peace.

You can't just tell it to go away when you want to sleep, or tell it to please come back later when you're done studying for that test.

Anxiety is always everywhere, ready to strike, ready to attack, and ready to latch on and drag you down to the deepest places possible.

I've grown a lot in the past few years, and though I've found ways to cope, my anxiety has continued to grow with me. There were patterns I noticed with myself as I grew, that originally I didn't connect to my anxiety. I now know it was always my anxiety that fueled my habits and routines. It was identifying them that helped me learned to cope a bit better.

1.) Always Needing To Hold Something In Front Of My Chest/On My Lap

Whether I'm simply laying on the couch watching a movie, or am out to dinner- You can almost always expect to find me with a pillow or purse on my lap. Whatever is able to shield me from something that's in front of me-I'll do it. I find comfort in having an item between me, and whatever it is that I'm doing. Even if what I'm doing is as easy as watching T.V. It has become something my anxiety made "normal" for me. I realize now that I do this to protect myself, and that mere thought alone makes me feel a lot of pity for this scared girl trapped inside an anxiety ridden mind.

2.) Heavy Chest and Fast Heart-rate

I use to blame this on being out of shape. "Oh I haven't worked out for a-while.. It must've been the stairs."

Or..

"Maybe the food I've been eating lately has set wrong with my stomach… That could potentially cause chest pains I'm sure."

When in all actuality, my own thoughts of fears I have locked away cause the quickened heart rate or strong chest pains.

Every EKG I've had has shown a perfectly normal heart, but it's what no test can prove is what I actually struggle with: Shutting my anxiety the hell up.

3.) Wearing Extremely Baggy Clothes Despite Warm Weather

I have struggled with my body image for years. Obviously having anxiety on top of this doesn't always work out too well for me. I'm not great at quieting my anxiety, but I sure am fantastic at silencing my confidence.

"That tight shirt looks a bit…tighter than last time right?"

"Maybe it's best you go with a sweatshirt today. No one will be able to see the few extra pounds."

I would tell people how I enjoyed to be comfortable-which is true, I really do. However, even though I may have been comfy with fewer restrictions to tight clothes, I wasn't comfy when I was sweating from wearing an overly baggy sweatshirt during the summer.

I surely wasn't comfortable wearing high heels to give myself that extra height that I've always..kind of..desperately wanted.

And I couldn't tell you how many times I chose to avoid wearing bright colors all together in fear it would make me appear bigger, or call attention to me in a crowd. My anxiety may be a mental issue, but I express it so consistently physically…It just took me awhile to notice that.

4.) Constantly Seeking Reassurance

As I grew up, I realized just how comforted I felt when I got reassurance from people that I loved. Boyfriends in the past always made me feel bad for needing it, but what they didn't understand was that I did that for my own mental health, not because I wanted attention.

Every question I asked, and all the multiple times I asked them, all related back to an underlying issue: Anxiety.

And if I didn't get the reassurance? If I didn't get my questions answered?

My anxiety turned in an anxiety attack, and then I'd always relate those anxiety attacks to not getting reassurance. My cycle would continue into something much more dark, and I became more and more aware of how dangerous my anxiety could make something as simple as "needing reassurance" to be.

And even when I felt like one area of my life no longer needed reassurance, there was always another issue waiting in line to send myself into a darker, downward, spiral.

5.) Faulting Myself For Things I Should've Already Forgiven Myself For

One of my least favorite things about having anxiety is the fact that my mistakes that I've made-that I've confessed to others (friends, family, and partners)-are still held over my head from my anxiety.

"Do you actually deserve to be forgiven? What makes you think that the pain you caused others should just get to go away for you? I don't know if you forgiving yourself is what's best. Maybe you need to think about it more."

So the thoughts continue, and every bad thing I once did is played on one big loop inside my head. Causing the aches in my chest and accelerated heart rate to rise. In that moment when I can't seem to forgive myself, I feel incredibly alone. Almost like- If I'm not good enough for myself, how could I be good enough for anyone else?

I start to wonder if for the rest of my life I'll constantly replay mistakes that I've made..and then I start to dread it.

This is what anxiety is capable of doing to me.

This is the impact it has over multiple parts of my life.

6.) Eating A Significant Amount Or Eating Nothing At All

This is probably one of my worst anxiety side effects. I'm really good at having super high ups, and desperately low downs.

One day you might see I'm dieting-eating healthy things to "have a healthy mind."

The next, you may hear me say, "Fuck it! I don't care! I'm eating what I want because you only have one shot to enjoy life. I'm not going to spend it eating a salad with light dressing on the damn side."

You may think this mindset is okay to have, right? We all go back and forth with wanting to diet and then caving and pigging out.

What you don't know is that my anxiety causes me to spur a whole bunch of hurtful and negative thoughts into my mind after I eat too much or don't eat at all.

"This is sick… everything you can eat in one sitting? Can you imagine if people actually witnessed you eating like this? It's ridiculous."

Or…

"Why don't you step on the scale? I bet you're 5 pounds heavier than you were last time. You know your doctor will see this the next appointment you have.. and what's your excuse for gaining the extra weight? Just because you "only have one shot at enjoying life?"

So eventually I just eat and eat until I reach a number on the scale I've never been/seen before.. just so I can give my anxiety the satisfaction of saying: "Ha, told you so? Are you happy now?"

That's when I decide to skip a few meals.

Or spend hundreds on healthy foods at the store.

I always thought my piss poor relationship with food was because of me, but I know my anxiety plays the biggest part in it. It's sad to essentially say that I allow my anxiety to be the result of my horrible relationship with a healthy eating lifestyle.

7.) Constantly Fearing Change

As I've gotten older, I have learned I get a tremendous amount of anxiety through myself and how I'm changing each day.

I constantly have to go over whether or not differences that have accumulated in my life is the result of good change or bad.

New partner? Is that good… is this okay?

New job? Are you happy? Is this what you want?

New Hairstyle? Does it look better than the last?

New Weight? What will other people think?

Change is so scary for me because I think my biggest fear that anxiety naturally creates is:

"What if the change others see in you is negative in their eyes? What if the whole time you thought you were "growing" you were actually taking steps backwards?"

And I'm sure that a lot of that has to do with me fearing what others think of me…because even if I like to say I don't really care, it really does scare me to think I don't have the approval of others, and I'm sure that's because as someone with anxiety- at the end of the day, we all just want to feel like we belong somehow.

Unfortunately there is no easy fix for anxiety. I'm on medication for mine, and have tried multiple therapists (with the intention of going back to another sometime soon). I have gotten better at recognizing what my anxiety feeds off of, and trying my best not to give into it-even when I want to the most.

There's no pillow on my lap as I write this at my desk.

I'm wearing a tight shirt today…one that makes me feel rather exposed.

And I admitted to my fiancé that even though I appreciate his reassurance, it's probably better he refuses to give it to me so my anxiety will stop winning.

This is a game, and I've let my anxiety win for far too long. I feel done.

So game on anxiety, it's time you learn a thing or two about confidence and growth because I'm through with letting you deter mine.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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