Have you heard of worry time? As someone who struggles with anxiety, I have been getting more anxious about the future than ever. This fear and worry seep into everything I do at all times of the day. From waking up to going to work and then back to bed, my mind is constantly filled with anxious thoughts about what the future will look like for me. This interferes with my daily life and makes me feel mentally exhausted. To cope with this, my therapist recently introduced me to a technique that involves allocating a "worry time." This involves me picking out a time during my day that is specifically dedicated to worrying. While this sounds like a strange concept, it has greatly benefitted me.
Something I have found about having chronic anxiety is that this often leads to avoiding triggers, which includes avoiding conflict. For example, you might find it difficult to set boundaries in a relationship, or you might find that you've been putting off having a difficult conversation with your supervisor at work. For me, this might look like walking away from arguments or being as diplomatic as possible in an interaction with someone to avoid some sort of conflict.
Making new friends when you have anxiety is hard, but maintaining those friendships is even harder. As someone with social anxiety disorder, I struggled to maintain friendships. These thoughts would cross my mind: Will I lose my friends if I refuse to hang out with them too many times? Do my friends actually like me, or are they just hanging out with me because they feel bad for me?
Not long ago, my therapist asked me to think about my anxiety triggers. I thought about the multiple triggers that lead me to feel anxious, and I realized that one of them is illness, whether it is my own or that of someone I care about.
A couple of years ago, I was in your place: anxious, nervous, and extremely stressed out for my very first therapy session. Countless questions were running through my mind, like, "Will my therapist judge me?", "Will they understand where I'm coming from?", "What will happen in the first session?", and "Will my therapist think my concerns are stupid?" Being anxious about your first therapy session is normal. As someone who grew up surrounded by people who thought that therapy was for "crazy people," I was extremely clueless about therapy and didn't know what to expect.
When I have racing thoughts, feel overwhelmed, and feel like things are out of control, it becomes a major struggle to feel a sense of calm. Calmness, when you're anxious, becomes difficult to achieve, at least at the moment, because it's so hard to quiet all of the other thoughts and resulting symptoms that accompany anxiety, especially when you experience a panic attack. So, then I try to pull myself away from being overstimulated.
Do you know the feeling when you successfully book your flight and accommodation for a vacation? No, not the feeling of excitement -- the uncertain feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you something might go wrong on the trip. That feeling is trip anxiety.
Something that I have learned about my anxiety is that it won't go away. It has been something that I have coped with since I was a teenager, possibly even earlier than that, and it is never going to go away. But there are things that I can do to lessen the effects of anxiety.
For people with anxiety, being assertive and upfront about how they feel and what they think can be hard. As someone with social anxiety disorder, I was no different.
A part of being chronically anxious includes constant worry about what might happen in the future. But what I've also experienced is that along with this is not just the worry, but the fear of not being good enough, of feeling like you don't meet up to certain standards, and feeling like a failure.