Before I got assessed and started cognitive behavioural therapy, I thought anxiety only made me avoid social situations and panic, but throughout my sessions of therapy up to now, I’ve learned a lot more about what anxiety makes myself do. I found out, that I obviously panic and avoid social situations, but I overthink and catastrophize situations, lose my appetite, have mood swings and become very irritable. I didn’t know this was all down to my anxiety until my therapist explained it, it actually shocked me that anxiety can make you do so much and half of it, you don’t realise is solely caused by anxiety.
Overthinking / Catastrophizing
I put these in the same section, as they link up a lot. Before I went to my assessment, I had no real definition what overthinking was, I heard it thrown around a lot, but didn’t know I did it until I explained to the person who was assessing me. She explained that it was overthinking. I tend to overthink so much due to my anxiety, especially social situations. I tend to think “what if I fall over” “what if I make a holy show of myself” “what if nobody turns up and I’m there by myself” they are just a handful of thoughts that pop into my head before a social situation. This is the major thing that stops me from going out, with this and panic attacks, it makes it extremely hard to even want or attempt to go out.
This is probably caused by my depression and anxiety as a whole, but I thought I’d include it here as anxiety probably plays a part in it. Over the last few years struggling with my MH, and taking four years to make myself get help, I’ve known myself to have really bad mood swings, ever since I opened up about my feelings, they seem to be more full blown and quite frequent. I could be enjoying a day, but then I feel anxious and feel absolutely awful. I feel like I’ve become more irritable too. I explained this to my therapist in the intro section, and she had notes on it from my assessment, and she re-assured me that it is very common for someone with anxiety and depression to have severe mood swings often.
This was quite obvious to me that anxiety and panic attacks can make you lose your appetite. Every time I have bad mental health days, or really bad panic attacks which last a long time (about 40 mins is a long time for me) I can lose my appetite for days on end. Last time that happened was last week, I had a full blown panic attack and just an awful mental health day, I didn’t eat for two days after it, it totally just made me feel like crap to be truly honest. I feel like this is the thing that is improving the most since starting CBT. Funnily enough, we only mentioned this in the introduction session, we haven’t truly gone over this into full detail, but I still feel like it’s getting better.
Avoiding social situations
This is the major thing that anxiety causes, and the thing I need to stop. Avoiding social situations. This is what makes me feel worse about myself in terms of depression. I can’t help but avoid them, with social anxiety I panic when I am put into these situations. I like to be in control. When I’m in control, I just don’t go out. I hate social situations, I always fear people are judging me and will laugh at me due to my speech problem. This has been a never ending battle for four, almost five years now.
Anxiety makes me do a lot of things, but I am determined to be in control of my anxiety and in control of all the stupid things anxiety makes me do.
As always, thanks for reading!