2:am, in bed.
Steph: I’m so tired
Anxiety: But there are so many mistakes that we haven’t thought about yet.
Steph: No, I’m going asleep.
Anxiety: Hey, you know that presentation you’ve got to do in five weeks?
Anxiety: You’re going to be terrible at it. You’ll definitely mess it up. Everyone else is going to think you’re so stupid, they’re going to laugh at you.
Steph: You don’t know that, it’ll probably be fine.
Anxiety: Will it though?
Anxiety: Remember last week when you tried to pay for that jumper and you gave them the wrong amount? HA! What kind of eejit does that?! Bet they thought you were an idiot, they probably had a good laugh about you with their mates!
Steph: It was just a mistake. Anyone could make that mistake.
Anxiety: Could they though?
Anxiety: Don’t forget that you’ve to make that phone call tomorrow.
Steph: Why do you have to bring this up now? I just want to sleep.
Anxiety: Bet your voice will shake and you’ll forget what you’re supposed to say.
Steph: If I’m nervous I’ll just write down the main points before I make the call.
Anxiety: Who does that?! A script to make a phone call – really? How sad is that? You won’t be able to do it, just like you won’t be able to do the presentation. You can’t even pay for something in a shop without fucking it up! Even children can do that right. You fail at everything. It’s who you are – a failure. What have you got to show for yourself after 26 years? Not a lot! Everyone else is doing great, they graduated college or they’ve got full time jobs. They’re having a great time, it’s all over Facebook and Instagram. You can’t even order a drink on a night out and don’t get me started on how you act around new people or Ian’s friends! I bet they all make fun of you behind your back, they must hate you…
Steph: You’re right.
Please know that I’m well now but these were the kind of thoughts I would have every single day. Living with an anxiety disorder is so exhausting. Imagine fighting with your mind every day, that’s what it feels like. Some days (or weeks or months) you don’t win, anxiety does and you believe those thoughts, you start to accept that false narrative as truth. It’s a struggle to turn that inner conversation around, a struggle that most people don’t see. It takes time, practice and persistence, sometimes it take professional help but it is possible.
Also, please know that my boyfriend’s friends are sound people and it’s unlikely that they make fun of me behind my back and the people I go to college with are a lovely, supportive bunch!