Everyone faces anxiety to some degree, but sometimes it can make me feel like I'm straight up crazy for thinking the way I do. It can make me self-conscious about the littlest of things that in reality no-one else would probably even think about. I hope I'm not the only one with anxiety who experiences these sort of irrational thoughts.
1. "I wonder if I know any of the drivers around me and I wonder if they see me...I hope they aren't judging my driving."
I will never completely understand why I become so socially anxious when I drive alone, but for some reason I do. My mind immediately becomes fearful that I know the drivers in the cars around me and that those people are judging me. Trust me, I know it sounds stupid, but it definitely happens to me every time I drive around town. My mind feels more at ease on the highway when I travel far because I know that my chances of seeing someone I know on the road are significantly lower.
2. "Have I been in the shower too long? Are my roommates annoyed with me?"
Ok now this thought always feels so stupid to me when I have it, but it's legit and valid. For some reason I feel like my roommates will judge the amount of time it takes me to shower...I often worry that they will feel irritated with me or judge how long it takes me to shower, even though they take somewhat long showers too.
3. "Am I talking too much? Did I tell them too much?"
I feel like this thought is very common amongst people with anxiety who finally feel comfortable with someone enough to open up to them and act like themselves. Many times, opening up to new people is a real struggle for me and when I finally decide to let my guard down I often worry that I spilled too many words out at them, which will lead to them disliking me. However when I think about it, nothing bad has ever come out of me opening up to new people, which is comforting.
4. "Why do I keep catching their eye, is there something wrong with me? Am I staring a lot?"
This one brings me so much social anxiety. Often times when I feel really anxious in a social setting, my brain feels like it is on overload with trying to process each and every person in the room around me. A lot of times I find myself staring at people, or responding so slow to a new person I am talking to that it makes it seem like I'm just staring at them. However, I'm never trying to make anyone uncomfortable or am trying to stare deeply at anyone; my brain is just on overdrive trying to read the persons expressions while processing what they are saying, along with feeling anxious about others around me too. It's a situation where I feel like all eyes are on me, when in reality no one is probably looking at me at all. If this paragraph confused you, I understand; just try living through it.
5. "Am I walking funny? Are they watching me walk?"
I don't really care or think about the way I walk unless I am alone and walking along a path next to a busy street. Relating back to number one, I often feel stressed that people in cars know me and are watching me, which then makes me feel self-conscious about the way I am walking. I think what makes me anxious about people in cars is that I can't usually see them, but I know they can see me. It's the not knowing that really induces my anxiety.
6. "Don't move, they might look at you if you move."
If you aren't catching on by now, I basically hate the idea of people I am unfamiliar with watching me. It's nothing personal, just good ole anxiety working against me. When I am sitting with a large group of people who I am not yet comfortable with, my anxiety can often make me feel self conscious about even moving because it may bring attention to myself. Therefore, I end up feeling stiff and extremely uncomfortable, which only makes my anxiety worse.
7. "Are they judging what I'm eating?"
This thought also comes from the feeling of pressure to be small and healthy in the eyes of others. Sometimes I worry that others will judge the food I am eating and think that I'm gross or unhealthy. In the end though, if anyone is looking at the food I'm eating they're probably just wishing they could have some too.
8. "Do I look stupid when I'm working out?"
My anxiety is often elevated when I go to the gym because it's filled with a lot of super in-shape, fitness-obsessed individuals. I think anyone who is starting out at the gym or is less used to going to the gym worries about the judgment of others when they exercise. It can be hard to focus on your workout when you're worried about the impression you are giving those around you, but I just try to turn my music up a little more to distract myself from those thoughts.
If anything, I hope that if you experience these thoughts you feel a little bit of comfort in knowing that I have these anxious thoughts too. Anxiety can be a real bitch, and it can be a struggle everyday trying to combat against.
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