‘When I walk into a room, I feel like people were talking about me. I’m constantly wondering if so-and-so likes me, or if I’m annoying them.’: Woman urges ‘anxiety doesn’t make you broken’

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“Anxiety looks different in literally everyone. Some bite their nails, others constantly fidget. Anxiety is a silent entity that shows itself in everyday actions and words. My anxiety feels, looks, and acts differently than yours. Mine feels like a tight sheet wrapped around my body, continuously getting tighter as I feel more. My anxiety shows itself in my perfectionism, as well as my procrastination.

Something as simple as making a phone call to schedule something will send a wave of palatalization over me, but I know I need to do it. It is something so simple, yet when I put it off, I feel horrible. But I cannot compel myself to actually complete the task. I also cannot help feeling like people were just talking about me when I walk into a room. I know how narcissistic that sounds, but it’s my truth. I am constantly wondering if so-and-so likes me, or if I am being annoying to them. It is literally the worst feeling in the world to always feel that high strung.

My anxiety also shows its ugly head in a way that is not as ‘normal.’ See, I hear things that aren’t really there. No, I don’t think I’m God, or have people talking to me. It’s more like everyday noises. The silverware drawer closing, the door-stopper bouncing back and forth, the front door closing. They’re noises I hear day in and day out, noises that become so repetitive that when they happen, most of us don’t hear them.

I also, on occasion, feel the need to touch things multiple times. Not in a way that I must count how many times I touch the door knob. But more like if I catch something weird, I feel the need to do it with my other hand, so they feel ‘even.’ I know that bit may seem a little crazy, but most of the time those around me have absolutely no idea what’s going on. I, as I’m sure most who deal with severe anxiety, have learned to conceal and make sure no one around them notices.

I struggle to remember things all the time. Did I cut off my hair straightener? Did I remember to let the dogs back in before leaving for work? I have gotten three quarters of the way to work and turned around just to make sure I let them in, on more than one occasion. I have never forgotten my girls outside, ever. I know in the back of my mind I let them in, but it just takes over, the ‘what if.’ Most days I have a good handle on it, others I feel like I’m playing catch up with myself.

I have started a new way of remembering I did something, though. As silly as it is, it works for me. So, when I turn off my hair tool, I tap the counter… not in a weird way or anything, just a little tap tap. And when I let my girls in the house, I say goodbye to them individually and out loud. Sometimes if I can already feel it is going to be an off day, I’ll also clap. See, I remember the part of my morning that is out of routine — the tapping and the clapping. You may be reading this thinking I’m insane, but it helps me regain some control of my own mind.

This is just a short glimpse into my brain and how it works. This may make some of you think I am crazy, and hell, I might be. I’d rather be aware and acknowledge my ‘quirks,’ than try and hide them and never be able to talk them through with others who deal with the same thing. It is a part of what makes me me, and I am okay with that. Anxiety doesn’t make you broken. If anything, it makes you resilient. You wake up with your own issues and still get sh*t done. So, pat yourself on the back if you deal with any inner issues. You are not alone.”


This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Harley Murphy. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her blog. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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