10 things they don't tell you about anxiety pt.2

and we're back! thanks for tuning into another episode of MY BRAIN IS NOT MY FRIEND SOMETIMES. the following list is the second instalment of '10 things they don't tell you about anxiety' - a breakdown of some of the more surprising physical symptoms that you don't always realise are a product of your worrying. enjoy (the best you can while you subconsciously berate yourself for taking 10 mins to read this instead of doing the more important things you should be doing this morning).
  1. the tension.
a while back i decided to treat myself to a groupon deal massage. i was envisioning luxurious calming serenity. the reality of the situation, however, was a tiny little indian woman doing a WWE flying elbow drop with the strength of big show into my back to try and 'tease out' the block of concrete that i have as a body. i am RIGID. aaaaall the time. if i twist my leg in even a slightly uncomfortable position i am floored by muscle cramp. my back is just a mass of various knots. my neck is stiff. my jaw will barely allow my mouth to open. everything hurts all the time. …because my brain worries about stuff to an unnecessary degree. raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by rapid premature ageing as a result of your anxiety.
  1. the conversation.
normally-functioning people, i think, cannot possibly fathom the procedure that goes into small talk with someone. apart from maybe 6 people in my life, every single conversation i have to painfully undergo is a feat of massive mental planning, and thinly-veiled horrible awkwardness. everything i say to a person is done so while my brain tries to predict their response, allowing me to pre-plan a further response to them, and so on & so forth. i am never present in a conversation because i’m trying to mentally map out the route that the chat will take so as to ensure that no embarrassment will occur. i’m 3 steps ahead of what we’re talking about at any given time because, that way, i’m more prepared and can mentally draft/re-draft/rehearse my part in the approximate 14 seconds that you’re talking for before it’s my turn again. and THEN, hours later, it’s 4am and your brain is dutifully playing back everything you said during the course of the entire day, just to leave no stone unturned in the quest for you to be potentially cripplingly retrospectively embarrassed and awkward and resolved to never speak to another human again.
  1. the perfectionism. 
this is one of my favourite (read: most hated ever) catch22 situations. you procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate. you do this for a number of reasons: you remain frozen (like on yesterday's list) if you’re unsure of something before starting it, you overcomplicate the issue of where to start and sabotage yourself from just taking the first logical step, your brain runs through every possible scenario before actually allowing you to do anything, you can’t effectively work out how long it’ll take you to do each thing so you think you have more time than you do. etc etc etc etc etc. the problem is - when you finally DO start (hours later than you should’ve and therefore with a significantly less amount of time to do it in) your next massive hurdle to face is that of being unable to do anything less than a completely perfect job. but, inevitably, with the significantly decreased timeframe to do it in, you find yourself unable to complete the task to the standard of perfection that you aspire to internally with all that you do because you cannot allow yourself the possibility of failing but your tendency to procrastinate through insecurity means that you never achieve the level of perfection you crave leaving you feeling endlessly disappointed in yourself and unworthy of success.
9. the avoidance.
i bet at least 80% of you reading this will have a text or an email or an instagram message from about 5 months ago sitting, unread and waiting, on your phone because - at the time - you weren't really sure how to best reply, which led to you putting it off for a day or so, until when you finally went to respond you started questioning whether you'd left it an awkwardly long time and that, maybe, it would be better if you left if for a little longer because then you could use the time to come up with a good excuse for why you left it so long and then all of a sudden it's been 5 months and you're fairly certain you can never talk to this particular person again for the rest of your life. the capacity we have to overthink things, especially virtual communication is truly staggering. the capacity we have to be overwhelmed by the small things is even greater. pls be patient with us, our brains want us to isolate and sabotage ourselves forever.
10. the doubt.
if "what if i'm just faking it?" is a thought that knocks on the door of your rational thinking every now & again then please feel free to visit back tomorrow when there will be a whole post dedicated to just that. have a happy saturday and try to not let your brain destroy your life today.

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  • Robin on

    This was the most relevant, accurate and honest article about anxiety i’ve read (and i’ve read A LOT of them), it’s SO GOOD to know i’m not alone in my neurotic anxiety spirals of doom <3

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