For about the past two years I’ve blamed my anxiety for just about anything. Nothing was my fault. The world and everyone in it was just constantly against me. Why did everything bad have to happen to me? And then I would spiral deeper into what is called The Feedback Loop From Hell.
Today I’m going to tell you how I stopped blaming my anxiety and how it completely changed my life.
Disclaimer: Please understand that I know anxiety is different for every single human being. This is just my own personal experience with anxiety and how I managed to overcome my own struggles. I thought it might be able to help someone else.
The first thing I had to do was acknowledge the fact that I have been using my anxiety as a crutch for the last two and a half years. As someone who is not very good at acknowledging their faults and flaws, this was one of the hardest things to do. I hate hearing when I’ve done something wrong or when I’ve upset someone or when I’ve done something wrong at work because I take things so personally. Like, unnecessarily personally. And people close to me had pointed this out to me multiple times, but it wasn’t until I was reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson that it clicked in my head.
Sometimes the reality check we need the most comes from the most unexpected, outside sources.
When it was written down on paper, staring at me, I don’t know why but suddenly it clicked: my anxiety was getting to me because somewhere deep down I think I wanted it to get to me. It meant I could fall back on it and blame it if something went wrong. I felt like it was okay to get down on myself because I had built up my anxiety to be this big, bad monster in my head, and that wasn’t true. I created that monster. I liked having that monster around because I could constantly place the blame on him.
My anxiety monster was so bad that sometimes I would get anxious just to be anxious and suddenly I would had massive amounts of anxiety coming from this bottomless pit inside me with no rhyme or reason. It was exhausting and miserable and yet I allowed it.
I was tired of constantly feeling so shitty about myself.
I was tired of feeling helpless and weak, and I was tired that I liked feeling that way because I just wanted to play the victim card. Yeah, that’s right – I liked playing the victim. You’d be lying if you said you don’t get defensive about most things because you’d rather be the victim than maybe own up to something you did wrong. Is this brutal honestly a little too hard to swallow? I know it was for me.
So how did I stop blaming my anxiety? Well, first things first: I straight up told myself that blaming anxiety is not an excuse to act like a whiny child any time it was suggested I do something outside of my comfort one. Second, I realized that my days are numbered. I could either waste my time, energy and emotions getting worked up about trivial, daily things, or accept the fact that I have the power to change my mentality and that I give power to the things that stress me out. I choose what to get worked up about. And, honestly, the things I was getting worked up about were so insignificant I felt silly that I let them get to me.
After these monumental realizations, I had to learn how to cope. Lately I’ve just decided to treat everything as a joke. I know, that sounds bad but hear me out! Instead of getting all riled up about the things that used to stress me out before, I just make a joke about it. If I’m fooling around with someone and they make a quip about my insecurities, I just make a joke right back. If someone points out that I did something wrong at work, I stop taking it as an attack on me personally; I ask what I can do better, I smile, and I move on.
Here’s a quick little story to help put all of this into perspective. About a month ago, I asked my supervisors and managers if I could have a little extra responsibility around the warehouse so that I could be a better asset to the company. I’m a hard worker and they noticed, and they were excited enough about me that they were even possibly considering me for a supervisor position. Then, everything started crashing. I made a ton of silly mistakes at work involving money, so then I got multiple member complaints, which caused me to cry at work because it just felt like so many negative things were happening at once. And my managers noticed. And I was no longer seriously in consideration for a supervisor position because I couldn’t even hold it together when a member would complain about me.
Do you see how letting stupid little things get to you can actually affect you on a larger scale? Sure, I might not have gotten a supervisor position right away, but I know that my actions definitely didn’t help. If I would have had the attitude then that I have now I bet you I might still be in consideration.
With all of that being said, give yourself time to learn and understand yourself. Find out what coping mechanisms work best for you. Anxiety is a nasty monster and it feels like everyone and their mothers nowadays has massive anxiety. We live in an age where Instagram makes it easy to compare yourself to someone younger, prettier and more successful than you that lives across the world. In the end, our days are numbered and there are only so many shits we can give – so only give a shit about what really matters, because the rest will go away.
I want you all to know I am serious about not letting my anxiety get in the way of my life and relationships anymore. It shouldn’t get to you, either.