This is probably the hardest post I’ve written. I wrote this a few nights ago when I was struggling with my mental health – I still am in a way. I wrote it so that I could try and understand how I was feeling. But since then, I’ve read it back a few times and I think it could be beneficial for you too. It explains exactly what I was thinking when I essentially had an anxiety attack and it also has words of encouragement at the end which applies to every single one of you. So I hope that making myself vulnerable helps someone.
So here it goes…
Sometimes everything seems great and then all of a sudden I seem to have taken a big step back. Almost as if I don’t recognise myself again. Because last week I was happy and enjoying myself, things were going well and I felt thankful and content. And now it’s the same except I’m analysing small details and I’m my biggest critic. Suddenly the anxiety kicks in and I’m questioning whether I could have said more, whether I joined in with everyone else enough, whether I smiled strangely, whether I was negative, whether people still like me or not and whether I’ve ruined the time I was so looking forward to?
I can’t help it. It’s beyond my control. Yet whenever I tell myself that, I constantly deny it. ‘I could have done this instead’. ‘I should have done that’. ‘What if, what if, what if?’ And this isn’t over anything major. It’s not a life or death situation. It’s not like I’m going to lose a job or relationship or fail an exam. It’s ‘should I have said a few more sentences so I appeared more social?’ Because I don’t feel like I talked much or engaged as much as I could have. Am I still liked in the same way or has my condition now made me look immature or unworthy of the same friendship or love I had before?
It doesn’t make sense because I haven’t done anything to ruin relationships or situations. I’ve just been myself and to everyone else it’s completely fine, they haven’t noticed that anything is wrong. Yet I’m doubting my every move when usually it doesn’t really cross my mind. I don’t know why this happens and I’m not really sure how to manage it. All I know is that it’s categorised as social anxiety.
Usually in social situations I appear confident even though I’m panicking inside. And then over time I get used to it and I’m completely at ease. But sometimes I really worry and it’s usually not triggered by anything. I worry about whether the person I’m talking to actually likes me or if they find me annoying.
A few days ago I was proud of my achievements and happy with my life and all that’s in it. And now I’m doubting everything. Now I’m criticising myself and getting paranoid over things that seem huge to me but are tiny for everyone else. And that’s where it goes downhill. That’s when my condition steps in and tells me that I may aswell just give up now because I’ve probably ruined everything and you can’t go back and change it.
And no matter how much I drum it into my head that everything is okay, my condition fights back – because I don’t hear ‘everything is okay’ anymore.
So I guess I’ll write it down for when I’m well rested and my condition is exhausted from it’s demanding night shift.
Everything will be okay. Things will and do pass, it’s happened before and it will happen again. The could haves, should haves and what if’s can be pushed to one side; because ultimately if they were supposed to happen, they would have happened. Chances are other people haven’t noticed that there’s anything wrong. You’re beating yourself up over something that’s not going to matter in a years time or even a month or a weeks time. It’s probably not even going to matter to anyone else. As for relationships, they won’t change. Not over whether you should have added 100 more words to the conversation, that’s for sure. And even if people change their opinions of you for other reasons over time – that’s okay! That’s natural and it happens. You just have to be the best version of yourself that you can be. And if some days that doesn’t quite happen and you can only give half or one-third of your best version – that’s okay too! We’re not perfect and some days will be harder than others. Why? Because we’re human.