1. 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.
2. Obsess over things people normally would never think about twice.
You obsess over everything in your head. Most likely, the things you obsess about would never cross someone’s mind who doesn’t have anxiety. Maybe you obsess over a conversation you had last week, or the way your boss looked at you the other day. Maybe you obsess over the fact that your boyfriend hasn’t texted you in a day, and you worry if you said anything to upset him. Whatever it may be, it’s hard for people without anxiety to understand why you are so caught up in things that wouldn’t even matter to them.
3. Wake up early in the morning even when you’re tired.
Sleep is always an issue for you. It’s hard for you to get to sleep because you have so many things to digest and contemplate about the day you just had. Because your mind never seems to shut off, you never fail to wake up early with worries that have already entered your mind. You tend to wake up super early sometimes because you need to get going, and get everything done in a timely manner. Sleeping in is definitely a challenge for you because you can’t switch off your anxiety once you are already awake.
4. You constantly fear the worst scenario in every situation.
Before first dates, you are convinced it’s going to go terribly wrong. Before going on a trip, you envision everything falling apart. Before going on a road trip, you fear accidents. When you get sick, you get terrified that there’s something truly wrong with you. The list goes on and on, and it seems silly to others. But for you? It’s real fears. It’s real to you.
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 become more worried about yourself when people voice concern for you.
When people ask you if you are ok when you are having an anxiety attack, or when people come to you when you are way over your head with negative thoughts, it makes your anxiety worse. Of course, they all mean well, but when others worry about you, it makes you think – “If they are worried, then I should worry even more about myself!”
7. You think it’s your fault when someone doesn’t reply right away.
Whether it’s your significant other, your best friend, or sister, you constantly get worked up when people don’t respond to you. People without anxiety would usually not pay it any mind, but for you, it’s a huge deal. Usually, when people don’t answer you or text you back, you think that it’s all your fault. You always think that you did something wrong, when most likely, they are just terrible at communication.
8. You sometimes feel like you are having a breakdown every few days when mention of the future is brought up.
The future is a huge trigger for you. You hate when people ask you what your plans are for the next five years, and it will cause you to retreat. Graduating from high school and college for most people is very exciting, but for you, it can be incredibly daunting and scary. You hate when people talk about their own future because it makes you feel like you aren’t good enough.
9. 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.
10. You replay every mistake you make, and always beat yourself up over it.
Especially if you make a mistake at work, it can consume your thoughts and can ruin your day, or even week. You constantly strive to do the best that you can do, but when you accidentally send something that you shouldn’t, or when you do something you weren’t supposed to do in the office, you can get really down on yourself. Anxiety can truly be your worst enemy.
11. On some days you are too physically and mentally exhausted to get out of bed.
Some days, your anxiety can be so strong, that you truly feel unable to do anything but lie in bed and cry. At times, the world can be way too much for your mind to handle, and you’ll need to take a few days off and rest your mind and tired body. Anxiety can have a huge effect on our health, and it is not something to brush off to the side. It can be truly harmful, and a lot of people don’t understand the effects it can have on an individual.
This piece was originally published on Thought Catalog, where you can read more of Lauren’s work.