Living with any mental illness or any illness at all for that matter can certainly present its challenges. With anxiety, one of those challenges is the ever-intensifying feelings of dread that build as you get closer and closer to a given thing. The darkness of your mind twists around the likelihood of what might go wrong to become magnified and distorted like a house of mirrors. And the demons of mental illness love this. They don’t want us to realize the truth, which is that the anxiety is often so much worse than reality.
This is because of our anxiety, our demons are so damn good at lying to us and feeding negative thoughts into our imagination until the word itself seems to be just one giant catastrophe waiting to happen to us.
For example, I hate calling people on the phone. As it happens this is a frustrating reality of the world we live in. My anxiety wants me to avoid customer service numbers with the same intensity as my ancestors avoiding predators for some strange reason. However, I have never actually had a bad call. Don’t get me wrong, I get just as frustrated with customer service calls and waiting on hold and all that as anyone. But the anxiety of something truly bad happening, the anxiety that I will somehow be exposed as a failure, that never comes to pass.
And if you don’t live with anxiety, you might be wondering what is happening. If I have no experience, no reason to be anxious then why do I dread the call so? Meanwhile, those who do live with an anxiety disorder might be nodding because you know that anxiety disorders don’t always make sense. It isn’t always clear what the overactive alarm system in our head is trying to warn us about.
Because whatever trips that alarm happens long before our logical brain has a chance to catch up. And once the anxiety kicks in it can be hard to think logically. Instead, I try to take a deep breath and remind myself that anxiety is often much worse than reality. And if it isn’t worse, well I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
But given how unrealistic my anxiety tends to be. I’m thinking that it will be a while before I have to cross that bridge.
Happy Monday everyone.