The worst thing about anxiety is you’re self-aware. You can feel when you’re becoming annoying — but instead of toning it down a notch, you end up making it worse. You say things like, “I’m sorry you have to deal with me. Are you mad at me? Do you want me to leave you alone?” You place your insecurities out in the open for the world to see.
When you finally conjure up the courage to talk about your anxiety, you might be relieved to get your feelings off your chest. But, most of the time, you eventually end up feeling bad about putting so much on someone else’s shoulders. You wonder whether you should have kept your issues to yourself. You wonder whether you revealed too much about yourself.
You end up caught in a cycle where your anxiety keeps getting worse because suddenly you need reassurance from this person. You need them to tell you they aren’t mad, they aren’t annoyed, they aren’t sick of hearing from you. You need them to remind you they still love you and you haven’t done anything wrong, you haven’t pushed them away.
Of course, sometimes their reassurances aren’t enough. Even when you’re told everything is fine, you have trouble believing it. You trust the self-destructive, insecure voice in the back of your head more than you trust your supportive, encouraging loved ones. It’s not that you think they’re liars. It’s that it’s so much easier for you to believe something negative about yourself than it is for you to believe something positive.
The worst thing about anxiety is that you can’t stop it. You recognize how much of a pain it is for you and everyone around you — but you aren’t able to do anything about it. You just have to cope in the best way you know how and hope the people around you are understanding. You have to hope they won’t hold your emotions against you.
If the people surrounding you aren’t able to understand why you’re acting the way you’ve been acting, it only reinforces the horrible beliefs you already have about yourself. Someone doesn’t have to come out and say you’re being ridiculous or calm down for you to assume the worst. If they look at you the wrong way or change their tone even the slightest bit, then you’re going to suspect they’re fed up with you.
And since you jump to the worst case scenario, sensing their annoyance makes you worry they’re going to abandon you. It makes you worry this was it, this was too much, this is what’s finally going to push them away.
The worst thing about anxiety is how hard the experience is to share. People who love you might try to ask you questions to see where you’re coming from so they can support you, but you aren’t able to explain it to them. You can’t even explain it to yourself. You understand your anxiety is irrational. You understand it can come across as annoying. But you can’t control yourself — and you can’t explain why.