The scariest aspect of anxiety is its residency in my brain. It is not a darker side of me, or a reflection of me. It is just me. It tries to make sure I never believe in my ability as a writer, and when I do have success, it tells me my achievement is short lived and is a fluke. It’s a Goddamn liar, and these are the lies it told me before I decided to kick its ass out of my head.
1. YOU ARE BORING!
I used to be taunted by my flashing cursor and fingers paralyzed above my keyboard. At the flinch of my forefinger anxiety told me no one wants to read my words because I am uninteresting. I slam my laptop shut and duck from my office, defeated. I felt safe from failure for a moment, but then shamed. My thoughts bullied me, minimized me, and forced me to waste talent.
2. YOU’RE STUPID!
This lie is pervasive because it affected me in several settings. While working with therapy clients, anxiety told me my insights were way off, and they were wasting their money. At parties I avoided conversations because anxiety told me I knew nothing about the world. Parties can be boring when you think you too stupid to talk about anything.
3. YOU’RE A SHITTY PARENT!
Anxiety used to tell me I was ruining my kids. It whispered stuff like, “They are better off without you” or “They love their mother more.” It mattered little that anxiety had no evidence to support its claim. Anxiety never needs evidence to convince anyone of anything.
4. YOU’RE A FRAUD!
I have sat in many clinical team meetings with colleagues who have become friends. When we discussed each others clients to provide support and insight to each other, I clammed up all the time. Anxiety would whisper, “they are all smarter than you” or “nothing you have to say will help.” It didn’t matter my opinion was sought by my colleagues. Anxiety knew more than everybody, so I listened to it.
I am staggered by the extent to which lies generated within me limit my potential, stunt my growth, and wag wasted yesterdays in the face of finite tomorrows. It is not a dreadful thought, but a real one I hope motivates me to disprove propaganda in my head keeping me from realized potential, self-actualization, and achievement beyond the realm of what doubt allows me to believe possible. I do not fear death, but I do fear my unique thoughts and ideas dying with me; ideas deserving of chances to burst through doubt, shine, and be as realized as I hope to one day be.