“The biggest smiles hide the deepest secrets.”
It’s human nature to take people at face value.
Every time you meet a person, you’re probably not going to think too deeply about what might lie beneath the surface. After all, first impressions are what count, so we’re told.
Quite often, it’s those who seem the happiest that are struggling the most.
Many people would probably think I’m quite a confident person. I’m outgoing and chatty and so they’d be forgiven for thinking so. In some ways, I am confident! It’s weird.
Although I really hope we can end the stigma surrounding mental health and I do think that such conversations need to become more frequent and ‘normal,’ I still hide my own intrusive thoughts and worries a lot of the time.
In fact, at first, the effort to hide and disguise my anxiety from others was more consuming than the problem itself.
I would rather say “I can’t come today because I’ve got a sickness bug” instead of “I’m sorry, I’m feeling too anxious.”
But the truth is, anxiety can be completely overwhelming. It impacts nearly every aspect of my life and it never really has a day off. Some days are better than others, but it’s still there.
Even if I don’t feel anxious, I’m very conscious about it, and then I wonder “why aren’t I feeling anxious?!” which makes me panic anyway! You can imagine, it’s very unhelpful.
Here are some of the thoughts I have pretty much every single day.
Something terrible is going to happen.
I’m going to get stuck in a horrible situation that I can’t get out of.
How am I going to explain myself if I need to leave?
I need to carefully plan my day so that there is no room for things to go wrong.
I’m definitely going to embarrass myself.
Everyone is going to notice that I’m acting strange.
I feel sick and have tummy ache, so I must be poorly. It isn’t just my anxiety today.
Why do I feel like this?
Why can’t I be normal?
Will this ever go away?
The truth is, that unless I’m with certain friends, certain family members or my boyfriend, I’m never going to tell anyone I’m feeling like this. And honestly – people aren’t going to know.
I’ve become good at disguising it.
I might be laughing or joking, or chatting away. But my mind could be somewhere else entirely.
Everybody with anxiety will have their own constant intrusive thoughts. I just hope that this post will be a little bit of food for thought – what you see is not always the reality.