Having recurring fears and thoughts that assault you out of the blue and gnaw at your well-being is just something that goes hand in hand with stress and anxiousness. Your anxiety disorder experience would not be complete without those feelings.
Seriously though, anxiety sufferers experience specific negative thoughts and intrusive fears. This article will provide a reference list of the most common mal-assumptions and negative schemas about anxiety. It will also point out on how you can deal with each one of them. For in-depth details, you may want to read the article on improving your internal dialogue.
Common fears and thoughts of anxiety patients and how to deal with them
“I’m going to die from panic!”
Accept that you’re having a panic attack. Be an observer to the panic, rather than a participant. It’s a simple shift in perspective that can make a world of difference. Plus, you cannot die from panic even if you try really hard (see next question)!
“Am I having a heart attack?”
Panic attacks and heart attacks are incompatible, plain and simple. When you have a panic attack, your brain releases too much adrenaline, a chemical which literally forces your heart to keep pumping. You can’t really control this from happening during a panic attack.
“Am I just going crazy?”
Crazy people do a lot of crazy things, but they never ever question their own sanity. If you’re still questioning your sanity, you can be reassured you’re not going crazy. If you still put things in terms of being crazy or not, then you need to read more about anxiety disorder. It’s a good thing you’re just in the right website for that!
“What will they think of me?”
People are opinionated. That’s part of human nature. They always have something to say about someone. If you want people to have nice opinions of you, just give them the reason to do so. For instance, if you have anxiety disorder, be open about it because then people will be more likely empathize with your suffering, rather than criticize it.
“Do I have a terminal sickness?”
If you think something might be wrong with your physical health, then you have to see a doctor. Just worrying about it will provide no benefits whatsoever; in fact it will just make you feel worse. Just check with your doctor, get the necessary tests and you’ll know what’s going on with your body. There’s no other way.
“It was them who provoked this anxiety!”
It’s always easier to blame others than to accept our shortcomings. Truth of the matter is that blame is always a shared property. Sure, ”they” may have contributed to your anxiety, but you allowed them to, somehow. In all case, pointing fingers does not help at all. You should be more concerned with managing your anxiety, rather than assigning exactly who’s to blame for it.
“I am such a hopeless loser.”
Just because you have anxiety disorder, it doesn’t mean you’re limited in any way. Having problems is part of being human. You’re only a loser if you don’t even try to overcome your problems and turn obstacles into opportunities. Deal with your issues despite all adversities, then you will surely become a winner!
“I will never lead a normal life.”
Normal is a terribly overrated concept to begin with, but we get it. You are afraid that your anxiety will not allow you to blend in with the crowd and lead a peaceful existence. But if that was true, then how do you account for the 15-20% of the general population who suffer from some form of anxiety disorder any given year? Are they hidden somewhere? No, they are all around you! And often, you don’t even realize they have this problem.
“I am terribly afraid of (something).”
There is only one way to effectively deal with fears, regardless if they’re real or unrealistic. The only way to deal with fears is through confrontation, and you really have nothing to fear besides fear itself. And a man with no fear is a fool, but a man who handles his fears can be a hero. Who will you be?
“If I do (or don’t do) this, something terrible will happen.”
It’s a given. We live in a world of causality, and every action causes a reaction. But constantly assuming that something terrible will happen if you do (or fail to do) something trivial is just too heavy of a burden to carry. Isn’t it? Not to mention that it’s placing too much importance on yourself? Perspective is the key to escape this recurring fear that often affects OCD patients.
“Everyone else is doing better than myself”
Who is “everyone”? And what does “doing better” entail? Drawing this kind of comparison is extremely unfair for everyone involved, especially you! Everyone does better in some aspects, worse in others. Everyone is different because each is subjected to different life circumstances. Moreover, there are always people doing worse than yourself, but when you’re indulging this kind of thinking, you’re focusing on demeaning yourself. Why?
“What if I can’t do (something)?”
What if you can’t do something? Will the world end? Will that really be so dramatic and life-threatening? And what if you *can* do it? What if the only thing keeping you from your goals is your negative thinking? There’s only one way to know if you can do something… that’s trying. And even if you fail, you can always try again. So why not start focusing on what you know you can do, rather than worry about what you may not be able to do?
Make sure to read through this list several times. As a matter of fact, you may want to print it out and keep for future reference. Dealing with these thoughts is a great way to plant the seeds to your recovery, while undermining your anxiety.
About Author: Ryan Rivera has spent 7 years of his life suffering from, as he calls it, the “whole package” – panic attacks, severe anxiety, agoraphobia, social anxiety, unbearable physical symptoms, headaches, neck pains, constant tension, diarrhea, palpitations, pounding heart. After trying numerous different treatments for his anxiety (including various medication) a tipping-point in his life made him overcome his emotional problems. He has made a number of “huge leaps” toward anxiety elimination and a more fulfilling life. His successes inspired and gave him determination to help other people who suffer from the same condition as he did and show them the light at the end of the tunnel.