Your anxiety is lying to you. Your mind is tricking you into thinking things about yourself that aren’t true. But you’ve heard all this before. You know how much your anxiety can warp your worldview. You understand that your thoughts aren’t reality — but what does that matter when your thoughts are your reality?
No one is laughing at you. No one thinks you’re stupid. No one is bothered when you send them a text or ask to hang out or message them on social media. But if you think those things are true, they might as well be true, because you’re going to react as if they’re true. You’re going to keep your mouth shut when you want to speak up, so you don’t look stupid. You’re going to isolate yourself when you want to hang out with friends, so you don’t bother them. You’re going to stop yourself from doing the things you want do the most out of fear you’re going to make a fool of yourself.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to banish those negative thoughts for good. There isn’t a simple, one-step method to overcoming your anxiety. Instead, you need to learn to live with it. You can’t push it away because it will fight back. You can’t force it to disappear because it will always return. You can’t hate yourself for how your mind works, either, because it’s part of what makes you you. Your anxiety might not be beautiful, but the rest of you certainly is, and this is a packaged deal.
If you’re struggling with your anxious thoughts, the best thing to do is accept them – and remind yourself that your mind is lying to you. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid, your feelings are important, your feelings deserve to be expressed and respected — but that doesn’t mean your feelings are right.
You might feel like an idiot for asking a certain question, but that doesn’t mean you are an idiot. If you take a moment to think about it, logically, you know you aren’t dumb. You know you have a wide range of knowledge in certain areas, whether it’s about pop culture or anime or ancient history. More than that, you know you’ve done a damn good job of taking care of yourself. You know you have accomplishments that are impressive on paper. Feeling stupid is a gut reaction that you need to challenge.
The next time you feel like you’re stupid, or like you’re a burden, or like you’re unlovable, come up with reasons why that can’t be true. Challenge the thoughts that pop into your mind. Don’t try to push them away because you already know they won’t leave. Accept that they exist and tear them apart.
Remember, anxiety isn’t something you can overcome once and never deal with again. You might be able to calm yourself down today, but will break into a panic tomorrow. That’s okay. You aren’t always going to be able to manage your anxiety. Some days are for resting. Some days are for existing. But other days, you can push through and accomplish whatever the hell you want.