Anxiety is selfish.
It isn’t a popular or kind thing to say, but seeing as I have and will continue to live with anxiety my entire life I can say that this is very true.
You may interpret this as blame or fault on the part of the inflicted persons. Not at all. It’s simply a statement of fact, the same as the fact that you’ll likely die from lacerations to a major artery. It is a part of the disease, not the person.
You see the anxious person is most anxious (in my experience) because they feel like the spotlight of the world is on them, and that every step they take is like spitting in the face of the universe. You feel like you alone are the cancer of the world, and everyone just barely tolerates you.
An anxious person will immediately assume that every bad mood or angry thought in their friends is because of them. They sincerely believe that their very existence is a blight on the lives of their loved ones. And that every happy thought or good mood they witness, they are merely intruding on.
But if I asked those who are friends with and maybe love someone with anxiety to raise their hands if either were true, not a single one of you would.
You may get annoyed a bit by the constant need to validate that you do not, in fact, hate them. And trying to convince these persons spending time with them is more than a polite obligation may drive you up a wall. But that doesn’t mean you want to cut them out of your life.
Still, an anxious person is so terribly convinced that all the bad things of the world revolve around them they can usually not think of anything else. So selfish a disease is anxiety that it forces its sufferers to believe the absolute worst in themselves.
Take this example. So sure that all bad things are my fault I am convinced that when I overhear a conversation at work I immediately assume that it’s about firing me. Even when I am constantly told how great I’m doing and how thankful they are for me.
This is a real-life event that led me to my bosses office in tears asking her point blank if I should be packing my bags. Which made me feel like an idiot because the conversation she truly had involved nothing of the sort.
Since then I have come to realize the amount of energy it would take the entire world to hate me with the rich passion I imagine is astronomical. And honestly, I cannot believe for a second that I am so special as to rate that amount of rage on my meager behalf.
Not to say that the impulse to doubt and question the motives of those around me has passed. I think it’s a self-protective instinct I will carry until the end. But I am more aware of it now and realize I shouldn’t always give credence to the anxious mush in my head.
Because honestly, good or bad, this world is just not all about me.