Living with anxiety is so incredibly difficult for many reasons. Following are some of those reasons that most of us don’t usually think about.
Feeling relaxed makes anxiety worse. When you are accustomed to living in a state of hyper-vigilance, feeling relaxed is very abnormal. It can make you feel so abnormal that you immediately return to your anxious state. If at all possible when this happens, remind yourself that there is no reason to be anxious at this time. Take a few deep breaths & focus on how they make your body feel. This calms the mind & body. If you can, enjoy feeling relaxed as much as you possibly can.
External validation is of the utmost importance. Everyone needs validation. That’s simply how God made people. Anxious people crave it like oxygen, because we don’t trust our decisions & have such an incredible amount of self doubt. However people, being imperfect beings, will fail to give you all of the validation that you need. Learning to validate yourself is so important! Doing so requires a great deal of leaning on God & questioning yourself to decide if your beliefs are truly yours or those of some dysfunctional, abusive person.
You are an expert at hiding your anxiety. People with anxiety know how awkward & uncomfortable we can make other people feel. Rather than do that, we learn to hide our anxiety to the best of our ability. Some of us become so skilled at this, others have no idea we live with anxiety. This isn’t always a bad thing, since some situations are made worse when someone recognizes another’s anxiety. There are also times when it will behoove you to let someone safe know that you are struggling & ask them for help.
Along those same lines, we also hide our emotions. Hiding emotions seems to be a natural side bar of hiding anxiety. People may think we are naturally happy or even confident. They see what we portray ourselves as, not the bundle of negative emotions that we truly are inside. Similar to hiding anxiety, this can be beneficial in some situations but there also is nothing wrong with showing them to safe people & asking for help if needed.
Overthinking is normal to people with anxiety. Overthinking can be beneficial. When you’re packing for a trip, it helps to pack if you consider every possible scenario in that trip. You’ll think of bringing things with you that you might not have considered otherwise. But, overthinking in day to day life? Not always so beneficial. It only adds to anxiety that is already there. When it happens, if at all possible, it’s best to take a little time to yourself. Breathe slowly & deeply in & out a few times. This slows down the mind & heart rate, which allows you to think more logically about the situation. Often, it shows you that what you’re overthinking doesn’t require nearly so much thought. Or it helps you to get a grasp on the fact that something is completely beyond your control, so there is no point in worrying about it.
Lastly, some folks with anxiety depend on certain inanimate objects to feel comforted & safe. Remember as a child how you felt safest when you had that special teddy bear, blanket or baby doll? That happen in adulthood now too, except now, it’s ear buds, cell phone, purse, wallet or something else. I don’t know why this is exactly, because logically you know they won’t protect you. Yet somehow, leaving home without this security item can lead to downright panic. I barely even use my cell phone but if I leave home without it, I feel absolutely lost.
If you exhibit any of these behaviors, know you’re not alone & you’re not crazy! You simply are showing signs of having anxiety. Work on them as you feel able to & pray for God’s help in healing. They can improve in time! I promise!