When change happens, as if often does throughout the course of life, things tend to build on top of one another in a merciless teetering pyramid missing a strong base. This overwhelming feeling also frequently affects the relationships around you, swaying back and forth between what you know is a fact and what your brain is relentlessly telling you. This extreme paranoia, this heavy feeling weighing on your chest, those rashes that dot your skin when you’re getting overly nervous. They aren’t just components of everyday stress – it’s anxiety.
I know many people who struggle with anxiety and have it much worse than I do. There are people I know I can confidently talk to in any situation, and people who brush it off completely. Sometimes, even the littlest things — a message left on read, or a different consistency (or lack of) in the way someone speaks to you — can send your mind reeling.
Overthinking is a huge part of what causes this, and oftentimes, being left alone with your thoughts can be enough to send you spiraling completely. When you have anxiety, it affects the way you view people around you – and the way you think they view you.
When you think of every possible consequence of a situation, the most rational often doesn’t make the top of the list. It’s difficult to explain, since you know the most likely reasons for someone’s distance or behavioral shift towards you probably derives from being busy, or even just not thinking so deeply into it.
But with anxiety clouding your mind, it becomes very difficult to see past the fog. You notice their changes, so you try to give them space, sometimes too much so, that they question your loyalty to them. But it’s hard, because you thought it would be what they wanted, and now, everything seems like it’s crashing down even more.
And sometimes, it feels like there’s really nothing you can do but let it consume you, but you can’t let it.
I’ve found that, at least personally, the best remedy for an anxious mind is to give it company. While it won’t dispel the hole you feel in your chest or the awful, suffocating feeling rising in your throat, usually staying busy and giving my mind something else to think about helps give me a bit of space. Concentrated activities, such as drawing, reading, crafting and exercising are some that I’ve found provide a good distraction, because all you can do is give your mind something else to focus on.
TV shows and movies, on the other hand, are not as effective for me, since they do everything for themselves; watching doesn’t require putting pieces together or innate focus in the same way that some of the other methods do.
The worst thing you can do when you’re feeling anxious is to keep it bottled up. If there are people around you that you feel are changing or drifting away from you, ask them gently if everything is alright, but don’t push it.
There are many ways to combat the dark thoughts that seem prevalent, but overall, the best thing you can do for yourself is take care of your well-being. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and staying physically healthy, as physical impediments are often just another block to stack on the teetering tower in your mind.
Prepare, relax, and talk to someone – your mind is lying to you: people do care.