So I visited my therapist about a week ago and he said something that really altered my perspective on how I see anxiety:
“Anxiety doesn’t define you, anxiety is just a part of you.”
This made me realise how much I’d been focusing on my anxiety. And because of this habit I had ultimately magnified my anxiety. When I walked into a social setting I’d immediately concentrate on my behaviours that were caused by anxiety such as my inability to keep eye contact, my awkwardness and the way I stumbled over my words, such that I was making it worse for myself without realising it.
In fact, a few weeks back, I focused on the feeling of anxiety so much that I brought on my first panic attack for years. I felt my forehead burning up and the sound of my own heart beat. The voice called social anxiety was amplified: “YOU’RE MAKING A FOOL OUT OF YOURSELF!!”
Then comes my agoraphobia. It tells me: “YOU NEED TO ESCAPE, QUICKLY…ESCAPE!!!” Then my social anxiety screams back: “BUT IF YOU RUN THEY’LL KNOW YOU’RE HAVING A PANIC ATTACK AND THEY’LL LAUGH AT YOU!!!”
So there I am, glued to the spot and suddenly people are telling me I don’t look so good. My smile has dropped and the space in-front of me has started to look more like it does in a dream rather than in reality. ( I believe this is called dissociation, a way your brain deals with extreme stress).
So that’s what it feels like to have high anxiety. Like madness…basically.