My Anxiety Monster

Categories The Thought Parade

It’s apparently fun and sexy nowadays to have anxiety issues. But those of us who know, know. Anxiety monsters are real.

What is anxiety? The UK’s National Health Service defines it as:

a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

That’s it. And if you are a human, you experience anxiety if you are going to take a rest or meet a new guy. The problem is when you become me.

My Anxiety Monster

This photo came up on my Facebook feed today.

A conversation with Anxiety saying that

My comment in response was that the photo made me incredibly sad because I cannot figure out how to explain that feeling to another person so it makes sense. I can’t.

My mind will cannibalize itself in a crazy attempt to make me feel better. It will stop me from functioning because it feels that we need to stop and worry about 15 million things that may either be wrong or right.

I get things done despite this. Sometimes.

But I never hear anyone talking about their own anxiety monster.

I don’t hear people discussing how they deal with it. I know I’m special, but to be the only person on a planet of 7 billion people having and anxiety monster is a bit extreme I feel. Someone out there must understand. But I never hear the people I consider to be successful talk about it.

How they nearly threw up when asked to do a simple presentation.

How writing one more job application to one more place you really want to hire you makes you feel like a total and complete loser.

How completing a task you have no clue how to handle makes you like you will die.

How not doing anything, not failing, and not trying, makes you feel better and worse, all at the same time. 

My anxiety monster isn’t my friend. I’ve read the people who say to embrace the things that scare you.

What happens if the monster is in your head? And it is threatening to eat you alive.

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6 thoughts on “My Anxiety Monster

  1. Oh, is that what that is? I’ve been experiencing the same thing with sending cover letters to companies, and I’ve been putting a project off for four days because I came onto a part of it that I don’t know how to do. I know it’s ridiculous to feel like this and that “nothing ventured, nothing gained” etc. but I have to steel myself to do absolutely anything where I don’t have a guaranteed favourable response.

    Can I just say I adore you for talking about this?

  2. I’ve eased much of my anxiety issues by implementing two fairly simple changes. I have taken note of my morning routine and the 3rd thing I do next to opening my eyes and stretching is checking my phone.

    The phone is probably my primary cause of anxiety issues. “Who’s calling me? Is this an irate client? Did I forget someone’s birthday and they’re now upset? Is this a request that I now have to modify my day to accommodate?” – these things take up space in my cupboard of thoughts and increase the seemingly difficult task of doing things for others than for myself.

    So, the changes.

    Change #1:
    – Removed notification icons so when I press the power button to check the time, I see nothing else to check and can continue to wake-up and prepare for my day. Additionally, a friend of mine mentioned disabling LED notifications so I did that app-wide. Perhaps only if a family member messages me on Telegram or Whatsapp.

    Change #2:
    – While at my desk at work, the phone is on silent (no vibration) and is to any side of the keyboard so if it does illuminate, I’ll see it and respond to the phone call. A ringing phone is a major distraction for me; the ringtone breaks focus way too easily and makes it difficult at times to restart whatever work or conversation I was having.

    Generally speaking, making modifications to the devices around me to decrease focus have yielded the best results for my easier to control anxiety monster.

    The others, now, well…I haven’t figured out how to handle those just yet.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and excellent recommendations, Scott!

      I’ve also taken a look at my morning routine and incorporated Tim Ferris’ “5 Minute Journal” and that has helped me to start the day calmer and less stressed. Removing the electronic devices also helps me as well. I have the problem however of falling back into bad habits after being good for a while because my anxiety has eased so I suppose my next project is to work on my consistency.

  3. Why is that you seem to post these things at exactly the right time! I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past. At the time I don’t think I knew they were even anxiety attacks until they got worse. And it’s easy for us…even myself….to talk down the effects of anxiety when listening to it from another person’s perspective. That feeling you described as not wanting to do anything and knowing that you should be doing something often brings a lump to my throat. Like seriously! It saddens me and depresses me all at once!

    I know though that a routine definitely helps and EXERCISE as well as learning to be patient with yourself. Something I have not yet mastered. But I’m sure I will eventually.

    1. I’m so glad that you feel that at least one other person understands. Yep, it’s super easy to downplay how serious it is and how much it affects your life.

      I’m so glad you were able to take strength from the article and I wish you all the power to getting to the place where your routine helps you manage it well!

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