You can’t do this
My anxiety brain tells me that I can’t win the battle with chronic illness. It tells me that no matter how hard I try and how much I do, chronic illness will always beat me back down into place. In reality, I know that it’s a long battle. It literally may well be lifelong. But all I can do is try my best. Trying my best IS winning.
My non-anxiety brain tells me that I can do this. That it won’t always be easy but that I can do things to help myself and improve my quality of life. I’m a naturally impatient person and my anxiety takes advantage of that. It’s always there reminding me that the changes I have made so far haven’t made a difference. My non-anxiety brain tells me some of the things have made a difference while others haven’t…YET. It takes time. I have to look long-term and have faith that over time these changes will help my body.
You’re ugly and unlovable.
My anxiety regularly tells me I’m ugly. It tells me that I’ll never meet a partner because no one would want to be with me. It tells me that no one wants to enter a relationship with someone who can barely look after themselves. Anxiety tells me that someone wants a beautiful person. Someone who has drive. Someone who can look after themselves and hold up their end of a partnership. My anxiety tells me that I am not any of those things. I’m not fun or spontaneous any more. I spend my spare time resting and wondering what I can do without pushing my body too far.
Anxiety tells me that I’m unlovable. How could anyone want to voluntarily enter into a relationship with a someone with a life like this? My non-anxiety brain tells me that this present situation isn’t forever. Maybe I don’t bring what I would like to the table, but I do bring lots of other things. I bring compassion, I bring understanding. I bring the ability to nap at any opportunity – it’s not all bad, is it?
People are judging you.
My anxiety tells me all the time that people are judging everything I do. If I ask for help I feel like people are judging me. If I share my story I feel like people are judging me. Even if I put my make up on and make it out the door I feel like people are judging me. I feel like people judge every decision I make and everything that I do. Is this really true?
My non-anxiety brain reminds me that as humans we are naturally quite selfish beings. That’s not to say we don’t have compassion but merely that our first thought in a situation is often about ourselves. For example, if you see someone you know in the street but they ignore you is your first thought “Oh my goodness, why aren’t they talking to me? What have I done to upset them?” or is it “Oh my goodness they’re in a world of their own. Are they okay?” I would say that most of you went with the former. That doesn’t make you a selfish person but it’s merely making my point.
All those thoughts that whizz round my head when my anxiety is in overdrive. All the thoughts about “What does that person think of me?” “Will they be mad at me for that?” “Am I in trouble because I asked for help?” Chances are that the person in question merely thought “Oh okay no problem” and went on to think about their own day; worrying about the things in their own life.
It’s Just Fiction
Sometimes when I’m in a rut and my anxiety is taking over my brain I have to remind myself that it’s just my anxiety telling me a story, and that’s okay, it can tell away. It’s just fiction and it not that interesting anyway.