There is nothing more uncomfortable than not being comfortable in your own skin and with the structures that function with you. Somewhere deep down, you know you needn’t feel this way, that you shouldn’t, and that there isn’t any reason or truth in your feeling. And yet, in spite of it all, you do.
“I feel sick to my stomach all the time and spend a lot of time crying, hiding, and alone. Sometimes, I feel my chest tighten. It messes with my breathing and makes me nauseous too. The anxiety is always there. Panic attacks come and go. And when they do, I feel lightheaded and dizzy. My muscles hurt. At its worse, my mind disassociates from all the physical symptoms I might be experiencing.
I feel the pain and it is very real. But my mind feels numb and I have no control over my physical pain. When it’s all over, I feel exhausted and shamed. I know I went through something, but I can’t really tell because I don’t remember it all. Did I make it obvious? What will people think of me? I’m hopeless.”
As elaborate as the gamut of expressions might be, they do not even scrape the surface of trauma and emotional turmoil a person experiencing anxiety goes through. It therefore comes as no surprise that people who struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience heightened levels of low self-esteem. The fact that they are often overpowered by their thoughts and emotions makes them more vulnerable to it.
Self-Esteem and The Fear of Rejection
Sadly, as much as we’d like to deny it, we live in a world that is judgmental where people believe only what they want to believe as opposed to what the truth might be. People like to perceive, assume, judge, and compartmentalize others quickly, mostly based on their first experiences and so-called “gut-feelings.”
So, if you happen to impress people within the first few minutes of your interaction, they judge you as being relevant and hence worthy of their company, and if you don’t, then they’re quick to brand you as irrelevant and worthless.
Again, as much as we’d like to deny, as a society, we knowingly or unknowingly endorse this culture and even subscribe to it. We all want to feel included, want to be loved, appreciated, and accepted. Instead of looking for qualities from inside us, we seek it from outside, from society. These feelings can be magnified for people who have anxiety problems.
Feeling confident and safe to be able to express your thoughts and act at your will can be hard for anyone, more so for people struggling with anxiety issues. Because the brain is caught up in a stress-respond mode, people with anxiety can feel overwhelmed and uneasy by the mere effort of trying to be what they don’t feel.
This can catapult their stress levels and escalate their lack of self-worth and assurance. Because of all that is going inside and around them, they might feel forced to retrieve into a shell. They might isolate themselves from all the chatter and noise to silence the chaos inside.
If you’re experiencing these feelings, then we want to know that you are not alone. Fortunately, there’s a way out of this situation.
The key is to establish a strong communication with yourself first and then with the outside world
“Nerves and butterflies are fine — they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.”- Steve Bull
- Talk to yourself. Reflect on all that you are going through. Why do you think, feel, and experience all that you do? Is there a lesson that you are missing? Journal your emotions. Work on the answers.
- Face your inner demons, the unheard narrative from an outsider’s perspective. What is it telling you? Is there anything you can do to help address it? How do you want to see yourself five years from now?
- What’s stopping you from getting there? Work on them.
- Use verbal affirmations to remind yourself of how wonderful you are.
- Establish communication with the outside world, with your dear ones at first. Create a loving environment. You’ll do great with their love and support.
- Talk to the people who are close to you and tell them what you go through. Seek help and assistance when you feel low. Express yourself freely without worrying about being judged or ridiculed. There are a lot of people who want to understand and help. You just need to ask and let them in.
- Reward yourself by congratulating yourself on your journey. You are closer to being the best version of yourself.
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