Again, these are my own experiences. I am not a medical professional.
Part of having any anxiety issues is the paranoia that comes with it. I don’t mean “the government is watching” or “someone is out to get me” paranoia. This is more of a worry-based paranoia.
If I walk into a party and people look at me, I automatically start worrying about what is wrong with me. Does my hair look weird? Do I have on too much makeup? Is my zipper down? Do I have something coming out of my nose? I feel like I’m the center of attention, and I DO NOT like being the center of attention. I can’t just join conversations. What if they don’t want to talk to me? What if I come off as stupid? If friends are making plans to go out and don’t specifically invite me, I don’t just show up. What if they don’t want me there? What if I’m not invited? Even if I’m around when they are making the plans, I need to be specifically invited. When I worked, if the boss called me into her office, I immediately thought I was fired.
It’s this kind of paranoia (everyone is talking about me, everyone hates me, everyone is staring at me) that makes me hurt. It’s imagined, mostly, and frustrating for me. I don’t like being the center of attention, but I make myself that by worrying about others judging me. It really comes down to how I am perceived by other people. I want other people to like me. If I think they don’t, I become paranoid about what they do think of me. I’ve never been one of those people who can shrug off other people’s opinions with a “whatever. I don’t care what they think.” I do care. Desperately.
In a generalized anxiety way, I get paranoid that something bad is about to happen. I worry about things irrationally, and I am filled with a sense of dread. I’ve really had to learn that this feeling is not a premonition but just my own thinking. What if I get in a car accident? What if my child gets in a car accident? What if my husband’s plane crashes? My car just made a weird noise–we’re all going to die in a fiery explosion.
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point. Everyone has rough days and days when they hit their breaking point. Some days for me are better than others.
How do you fix this? I can get away at times with just talking myself down. You’re being silly. They are looking at you because you just walked in. You will not die from a fiery explosion; that noise is most likely the air conditioner fan. You can’t control airplanes and other cars. Check yourself in the bathroom, but mostly likely you look fine. Have you done anything to be fired? Then it’s probably about something else.
And there are times when that isn’t enough, and I have to revert to Xanax or another anti-anxiety medication. I’m not embarrassed about that. If I am worked up enough, I need to fix the problem. And if non-medical ways don’t fix it, then I am okay going to plan B. It’s all a journey.