Anxiety Is Ruining Your Life
Five signs you need to watch out for so you can take control of your life.
When I realized my anxiety was ruining my life, I was driving my car. I screamed at the top of my lungs profanity that I never thought would come out of my mouth.
I thought that I was going to be stuck in this cycle of never having a good day, always being triggered by an impossible defeat. I felt that this was it. Having these feelings is what we consider regular life.
Until the day I realized I had anxiety, I hadn’t known. In my opinion, that is the most frightening aspect of anxiety.
It only creeps up on you when it’s gotten out of control.
For years, I had struggled without knowing. It took giving up binge drinking and feeling my genuine emotions for me to see that I suffer from a mental illness.
The truth is, if you’re questioning your anxiety, it’s probably ruining your life.
Do you feel the intense butterfly sensation in your stomach? Are you afraid of situations that other people don’t feel the same way? Are you happier alone in your bed? Do you often apologize for things that don’t need an apology?
Your anxiety is probably controlling aspects of your life that you hadn’t even recognized. Sometimes, we suppress our anxiety to live a productive life. I have been suppressing fear and anxiety since I was four years old.
How do you recognize your anxiety ruining your life?
Great question, the short answer is, it’s different for everyone. Just because it took a panic attack in my car for me to recognize it ruining my life, doesn’t mean everyone should get in their car and try to recreate my situation.
There are a few things that you may not recognize as anxiety. I made a list of small things that can help you identify it.
- You feel that small issues or inconveniences are triggering for you.
- You get uncomfortable when you feel someone may be mad at you. (Even if you made it up in your head.)
- Are you no longer enjoying things that used to be something you looked forward to doing?
- Are you having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, and are your dreams obscure?
- You have a hard time leaving the house.
- You cannot get up in the morning.
- Overthinking every conversation you have with someone.
- You have an adverse fear of saying: “no.”
It has been nearly two years since I recognized my anxiety, and I still struggle with a lot of these situations.
Here is what you came to read. The five ways anxiety is ruining your life.
1. You apologize a lot. You take a lot of the blame and think everything is your fault.
When you’re at work, and your boss tells you that something was left undone, and this project had nothing to do with you. Is your defense mechanism to apologize?
If yes, anxiety is starting to ruin your life. It’s time you stop taking the blame for others’ behavior. Own it when it was your mistake. Otherwise, it’s not your fault, and you don’t need to take the blame.
What I have found over time is people will start to use you to blame as they know you will take it. You have become used to being the punching bag. The act isn’t deliberate by your coworkers or boss; it just becomes subconscious.
Become mindful of how often you’re allowing people to blame you for things you had no involvement in, and stand up for yourself. Never apologize for something that doesn’t need an “I am sorry.”
2. You are always worried about getting triggered. Almost as if you’re waiting for it.
As an extrovert, I found it nearly impossible not to be triggered by people. Imagine being in love with large crowds of people, yet when you speak to them, and they’re rude to you, you shutter and feel anxious the rest of the day.
Perhaps your boss or coworker said something to you that made you uncomfortable. Maybe they hurt your feelings. This feeling happens to me more often than I would like to admit. You may go home after work and sit up thinking about the things your boss or coworker said. It may cause you to spin out of control within your mind.
Maybe you have stopped doing things you liked because it has triggered you once in the past. You ended finding joy in something because you are so afraid of the triggering moment — the moment when your mind spins out of control.
If you see yourself in these types of situations, you will need to take a hard look at yourself and ask: How much longer am I going to live like this?
3. You have poor boundaries.
Something I didn’t realize I struggled with was my boundaries. My anxiety doesn’t allow me to put my foot down and say no. I often overwork myself because I am a yes woman.
I have poor boundaries in my work life, my personal life, and daily life. When I took a hard look at all the messes I had created for myself with my inability to say no, I realized I needed boundaries, it was uncomfortable, and I didn’t like it.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have set no boundaries and are always saying yes to things even if it’s something you don’t want to do to make others happy. You have a problem with boundaries.
You are probably often tired, feel guilty, and fear being forgotten or abandoned. You may always feel on edge like something may set you off. When you have no boundaries, the feeling will happen often. You allow people to take advantage of you because you are far too anxious to say no.
Start saying no to things you don’t want to do. If you’re not happy doing something, why would you do it? They ask you to cover someone at work because they’re sick and you had plans, say no. If your partner makes you do all the work around the house, start saying no.
Find aspects of your life where you can say no and start setting boundaries.
4. You have an extreme fear of failure and disappointing others.
I have an extreme fear of failing someone or disappointing others. I get uncomfortable and ruminate for hours that turn into days even if I haven’t failed someone or disappointed them — which, more often than not, is the case.
It could ruin my day, week, or month knowing I have failed. I never can figure out why I allow my anxiety to ravage parts of my life based on other’s feelings that I have no control over.
If you find yourself quivering at the thought of letting someone down or failing, then anxiety may be interrupting your daily life. It’s vital to notice this and realize that no one is perfect.
Failing is a good thing. It means it’s time to get up and try again. Don’t allow anxiety to consume your thoughts and feelings because you let someone down.
You can’t control how others feel.
5. You overthink everything.
Did I just say: “you too to the waiter.” Yes, imagine every time I spoke to someone, I have this cringing feeling that they don’t like me. They think I am stupid, incompetent, and weird. Yet I am an extrovert, so I have no choice but to put myself in situations where I will say something that I think is stupid.
I often think about conversations after they have happened. Maybe 10 or 15 hours later and think about what I said and how I may have upset someone or hurt their feelings. Perhaps they are mad at me and don’t want to talk to me anymore.
Again I can’t control how others feel.
Suppose you overthink every situation in your life. If you have this feeling that you may have hurt someone’s feelings, embarrassed yourself or others and can’t shake it for hours or even days, anxiety is ruining your life.
Take a moment and think of every time you had anxiety over something you had no control over. Recognize that you can only control yourself and not others. Overthinking a situation can’t reverse it or change it.
Walk away from every situation confident about what was said. If you’re okay with it and someone else isn’t, that is the person’s prerogative and not your burden to carry.
Talk to your doctor and get a diagnosis.
It didn’t come to a shock to anyone when I said I have anxiety, depression, and ADHD. No one looked at me like I was speaking another language. Everyone knew it before I did.
I remember talking to my doctor and telling her, hey, I can’t focus on a task longer than 20 minutes without getting distracted. She asked me if I had ever tested for ADHD. I thought that was crazy, except my test was clear as day. I have ADHD.
There is no use of self-diagnosing. You’re not helping yourself or your situation. When a doctor diagnosis you, you’ll be able to have a clear answer about your mental illness.
Take this shot to control all aspects of your life. You run your anxiety. Don’t allow it to run you.
Originally published on Medium