Sometimes I find it a bit hard to explain what anxiety does to a usually rational person’s brain. The best way to characterise my anxiety is to play out some conversations that it has with my brain. At first I didn’t want to personify anxiety, because that would give it form, a personality and even make it seem cute. I assure you, it isn’t, but this is the only way I feel able to express how it interacts with my own sense of reason.
In the gym:
Anxiety: Those men are staring at you. Why didn’t you wear makeup? You look like a spotty little boy. All the other girls in here are toned and pretty.
Me: I don’t need makeup on to exercise. The men aren’t staring at me because I look gross.
Anxiety: You’re right. They’re staring at you because you’re lifting those weights wrong and you don’t have a clue what you’re doing.
On a run:
Anxiety: Don’t stop running. Everyone will think you’re fat and lazy and can’t hack it.
Me: I’m out for a run, I’m hardly lazy or fat.
Anxiety: Tell that to your knees.
On going out:
Me: I want to go out
Anxiety: But you have a gross spot and you’ve been working out a lot and you don’t look any fitter. People will expect you to look better. Also you haven’t done anything fun lately and you’ll not have anything cool to say.
Me: But I want to go outside and do something fun and social.
Anxiety: Ahh, but then you’ll have to TALK to people.
Me: You’ve got a point there.
Anxiety: Why do you even do this? You’re not very good. You did well in a few races because the better people weren’t there. Look, you couldn’t even get over that wall without someone pushing you.
Me: I didn’t ask them to push me; I could have done it myself.
Anxiety: Don’t bother smiling; you always look like a fat turd in a tee shirt in race photos.
Me: I qualified for Worlds.
Anxiety: So did lots of people. You’ll get a shitty result. Who are you anyway?
On the phone:
Me: I should talk to someone.
Anxiety: They probably don’t want to talk to YOU though.
Me: My phone is pinging.
Anxiety: You’re probably in trouble.
Me: It’s an email from my boss.
Anxiety: You’re definitely in trouble.
Me: I have a meeting this week.
Anxiety: He’ll shout at you.
Me: He didn’t shout at me.
Anxiety: That’s because he’s given up on you because you’re shit.
Me: I have work to do.
Anxiety: Your room is a mess, your bathroom is a mess, your desk is untidy, there’s dust. You can’t work like this.
Me: You’re probably right.
Anxiety: Clean ALL THE THINGS.
Me: But then I’ll be too tired to work.
Anxiety: Not my problem, sweetie.
Me: I love my friends.
Anxiety: They’re all prettier, more fun, and better at everything than you are. You’re the pity friend.
Me: I’ve eaten so healthily lately!
Anxiety: Doesn’t look like it.
Anxiety: You have no money, you don’t have a job come November and you can’t afford your rent if you have no job. Where will you live?
Me: I’ll find a job.
Anxiety: Pity you can’t get paid for taking naps, huh?
Anxiety: Scratch yourseeeeeeeelf, itchy itchy itchy, pick pick, go onnnnnn.
Me: Okay maybe I’ll scratch a little.
Anxiety: EW YOU LOOK AWFUL NOW. WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
Me: I think I’m doing better now..
CFS: Headache! Nausea! Dizziness! Fatigue! Confusion! IBS! Crushing feeling of sadness!
Me: I’m so sleepy.
Anxiety: SLEEP IS FAILURE.
Anxiety: When you post this, everyone will think you’re an attention seeking victim who’s basically just lazy and has nothing wrong with her.