Overcoming feelings of guilt around anxiety

Guilt and shame with anxiety

A lot of people who suffer from anxiety experience feelings of guilt and believe that suffering from anxiety makes them weak. This guilt is brought about by the realisation that someone who at one time could do things so easily, now struggles to get through the day.

They may be in a relationship or have children and may feel guilty that they can no longer do the things they once could with their loved ones or feel that they are failing in their responsibilities.

They may try to fight their way through the day, putting on an act to prove to themselves that anxiety will not get the better of them, only to go to bed at night more tired and anxious than ever and feel a failure that they can’t beat this thing.

Anxiety has no prejudice

Anxiety can and does affect people from every walk of life, rich or poor; it also affects every profession, even doctors, the very people we first go to for help. It is a widespread disorder that no one is immune from, so let me stress that you have nothing to feel guilty about.

Some partners and family members may be very understanding of your anxiety, but some may not. They may put pressure on you to ‘pull yourself together’ or tell you that you have nothing to be anxious about and the constant strain of trying to cope without their support can tire you further.

Your loved one’s lack of empathy and understanding can begin to hinder recovery, and so it is important that those around you understand that you need them more than ever at this point.

A lot of their impatience is caused by frustration, the frustration that the person they see is not the person you once were and they just want the old you back.

Thankfully, I did have an understanding partner, and I explained to her that the person she could currently see was not the real me. I asked her to bear with me and told her that I wanted to be the person I once was and that, in time, I would be.

I lost a few friends as I was never available to go out. Certain people at work would snub me because I hardly spoke, but I did not wallow in self-pity because of this. I knew I had to let all this negative stuff go and because of what I had been taught, I was not going to add any more negative thinking and worry to the mix.

I also knew that I could sort all those problems out later when I was better. I had to think about myself at this point and not worry about letting other people down or what others thought about me.

Initially, though, I did try and pretend everything was OK; I thought I had to keep a grip on this thing and not let others down. The pressure I felt trying to maintain this act, day after day, was immense and eventually, I stopped trying to be the person I thought I should be and just went with how I felt. I decided that if people judged me for it, then that was their problem and any negative judgement I received was far better than trying to keep this draining act up.

So, if you see yourself in this way, learn to put yourself first. You cannot keep trying to be the person you once were. You need to stop putting on an act, admit that you are no longer the person you used to be and tell yourself that you don’t have to keep up this pretence any longer. Understanding and patience will bring back the old you; it won’t come through denying there is a problem or keeping up some act that everything is OK, reality always catches up.

Letting go of self-pity around anxiety

Self pity around anxiety

Self-pity is another emotion that can drag you further into this condition. Again, this stems from a reluctance to accept the way you are, you may ask yourself the question “Why me?” Always feeling sorry for yourself can only eat away at your spirit and cause you to feel more and more depressed about the way you feel.

It is easy to fall into this trap, and I cannot stress enough just how crucial it is to accept how you feel for now and harbour as little self-pity as possible.

Self-pity is a destructive emotion that will only prolong your negative feelings. You don’t need negative thinking during your time of recovery, so let all the negative thoughts go and build on the positives.

Finally, drop all feelings of guilt, you are doing the best you can at this particular time, and that’s all you can ask for. Slow down, be kind and patient towards yourself and with more understanding, change will begin to happen naturally.