Anxiety goes far beyond just being shy, introverted, or nervous. Anxiety involves extreme fear of seemingly irrational things, and it interferes with a person’s daily life.
There are several things you do because of your anxiety that other people may be blind to:
1. You imagine worst case scenarios: Whether you are about to meet someone for the first time or you have a presentation to do at work, you envisage horribly embarrassing scenarios. You worry that your pants will fall down or you’ll forget all of your lines. You picture yourself being laughed at and teased for your behavior. For every situation you go through, you tend to look at the worst case scenario.
2. You don´t sleep well: You struggle to get to sleep because your brain is so wired thinking about everything, and you wake up in the morning already contemplating worries from the day before or the day ahead. Overall, it makes you one tired person!
3. You decline invites even when you really want to go: Sometimes, anxiety can be so debilitating, that you can’t muster enough energy to go out. No matter how excited you were for the event beforehand, when the day actually comes and your anxiety is in full force, you say no. You don’t want to be a burden to anyone if you were to go, so the best choice for you is to not attend.
4. You are only comfortable with a few people: You can count on one hand the number of people that don’t make you anxious. Those people are your close family members and maybe the one or two best friends whom you’ve known since grade school. Everyone else causes a huge spike in your anxiety every time you have to interact. You fear being in a public place without one of these people. You even try to convince one of your “inner circle” to accompany you out into the world whenever you have to go.
5. You replay conversations over and over in your head: You try to avoid confrontation at all costs, because it causes your anxiety to get worse. When you have an argument or even a conversation that seems lovely to the other person, you continue to think about it after it’s said and done. You can never get it out of your head and you always think you said something wrong. It can really eat you up inside, and you always have to remind yourself that it’s just your anxiety talking, and everything is most likely fine.
6. You constantly compare your success to other people who are the same age as you: You constantly see on Facebook that people your own age are getting their dream jobs, and it makes your head want to explode. You don’t want to compare yourself to others, but sometimes your anxiety gets the best of you and you can’t help it. You worry if you are ever going to measure up to them, and if your goals are ever going to come true.