Overcoming feelings of guilt around 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.
They may even fight their way through the day, putting on an act to prove to themselves that this thing will not get the better of them, only to go to bed at night more tired and anxious than ever. Anxiety can affect people from every profession, even doctors, the very people we first go to for help. It is an extremely common 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 about 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 can tire you further.
Your loved ones lack of understanding can really begin to hinder recovery and it is important that those around you understand that you need them more than ever at this point. A lot of their anger is caused by frustration, frustration that the person they see is not the person you once were and they want the old you back as much as you do. A little more understanding from them may give you the freedom to start recovery.
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! 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 just think about myself at this point and not worry about what others thought about me.
At times, I did feel like I was playing a role in a film – acting to try to appear normal – while at other times, attempting to hide how I felt. 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 and made the decision that if people judged me for it, then that 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 you 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 worry, effort or force.
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 as you ask yourself the question “Why me?” Constantly 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 very easy to fall into this trap and I cannot stress enough just how important it is to accept how you feel 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, stay kind and patient with yourself and change will begin to happen naturally.