I’ve never been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder. I’ve only been diagnosed officially with social anxiety. But I feel like I’m scared of everything. Scared of life itself. Maybe it’s because life is social. So to have social anxiety means to be scared every time you leave your home, no matter what for…
Here are some things I’m constantly afraid of…
I used to really suffer with the idea of death and the fact that everyone I love will die. I used to literally grieve for their loss as if they were actually dead, but they weren’t…they aren’t even ill. There was basically no reason to grieve and fret so much, yet I did.
I don’t anymore, not in that way. But every now and then, I will have vivid visions of life when a certain person is gone. I feel the literal pain in my heart that comes with that. It terrifies me.
I’m scared I can’t live without certain people in my life…
Second fear that lingers is the fear of work. Yes, the fear of going to work and doing my job. No matter what that job is. When I first started working, it was in retail. My first job was at Argos as a depressed university dropout with bad social anxiety… yeah that was fun…
Thankfully, the panic attacks and struggles to eat and sleep subsided and I got used to working and people. But I still get afraid with every job I work. Afraid of doing my job poorly. Afraid of the responsibility and demands of a job. Afraid of being fired. Afraid of not making enough money. Afraid of struggling at work but feeling trapped. Afraid of hating it but feeling trapped…
Afraid afraid afraid.
I don’t feel safe in a workplace. Even now, in a good job, I don’t feel safe.
This seems silly but I get afraid of being tired. I’m pretty sure this stems from years of being an insomniac, and no it’s not as romantic as it sounds. I wasn’t an insomniac writer, writing my novels all hours of the night (though I did at times when deep into a story!)
It was very stressful and hard as a teen who couldn’t sleep well. I still wouldn’t say I sleep “normally”. Normal for me, but not for others.
So it is like I’m afraid that being a little tired means I’m a LOT tired. Or that I’ll always be tired, perhaps? I mean come on, being exhausted isn’t fun. It impairs everything you do that day (week, month…)
So I get afraid of not sleeping, and afraid that being tired will affect my day and make me feel low. And anyone who has struggled to sleep knows thinking about trying to sleep is a fast track to not sleeping.
Again, crazy, right? This again might come from teenhood where I didn’t eat a lot. I never had an eating disorder, I was just a “fussy eater” with certain food anxieties. I could eat a lot less than my friends and feel full. But I felt judged and shamed and I hated myself.
I had this horrid phobia of my belly rumbling loudly in a quiet assembly hall!
I know how weak and tired (again) and impaired you feel when hungry so perhaps that contributes to my fear now. Hunger or the potential for it (not having access to foods I like) is a fear now. A fear I can’t control my food and sustenance, I guess…
This goes back to the work one but also a fear of having any real power or influence, I guess. I’m scared of screwing up basically. Scared of making a mistake that affects more than just me. Afraid to take real steps and be held responsible for my actions.
Moving out was hard because of this (among many more important reasons). It’s scary to know you can’t fall back to safety so easily. That you could face real consequences for your actions.
But this comes down to a fear of failure, really. Something we all have in one way or another.
Fear of an unlived life
It’s so scary to die or face death yourself, but perhaps worse is the meeting of that situation knowing you didn’t do anything with the life you had.
I’ve always been ambitious, in that I can’t sit still and do nothing. I can’t imagine a basic life. I feel dissatisfied with ordinary.
But being so anxious all the time makes that difficult.
What the hell is my future, and why does it terrify me so much? I guess, as I said before, I’m scared of hating my life and not fulfilling my potential and doing what I could have done if only I hadn’t been so afraid…
Fear of fear
And lastly, I fear fear itself. Not in a cool Harry Potter way, where he’s afraid of dementors, but an almost obsession with fear. If you couldn’t tell from this post!
Living with anxiety means living with fear being an active part of your life, even more so than usual. It really does feel like an obsession. You fear the fear that might come later and therefore worry and fear twice as much as needed!
And the fear of depression returning is part and parcel with this. Depression is usually intertwined with anxiety, for me anyway. I feel low and I feel afraid to the extreme. I’ve felt that way many times in the past, and I’m constantly afraid of depression coming back into my life and taking over.
It’s horrid. It’s very hard. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. The work I’ve done. I’m not the anxious mess I used to be. But fear is still so strong and prevalent in my life and it’s exhausting. So exhausting.
Can you relate?