Sometimes it’s Easy to Mistake My Anxiety for Anger

Photo by Tmedia Photography

Have you ever had one of those days where you’re constantly worried that something bad is going to happen? Whether it’s logical or not, the thoughts creep into your head, you have nasty butterflies in your stomach and your chest feels so tight that you can hardly breathe. Whether your partner is talking to someone new, your child is sick, you have a yearly review at work or… literally nothing (sometimes there’s no real cause for the overthinking and panic), the feelings fester and get worse. The preconceptions stack and build and become so irrational that if you took a step back and thought about things logically, you would see how absurd your thought process is. This is what anxiety feels like.

Day in and day out this is what it can be like for me. Often the triggers can be so small, but can still hugely impact my perception. A simple song, quote, an out of context portion of conversation, or post on social media can send me spiraling into internally asking questions and coming to the most ludicrous conclusions.

“What if the girl he’s talking to is cooler than me? What if they make fun of me behind my back? What if she’s convincing him to leave me? He’s going to leave me.”

“Did I leave my straighter on? I can’t remember if I turned it off. What if the cats knock it off the counter? What if it touches the shower curtain and the whole place lights on fire? How will my animals get out? What if no one knows before it’s too late?”

So on and so forth until I’m thinking of the absolute worst case, far fetched scenarios. It’s exhausting because logically I know none of this will happen. I’m continuously fighting against my brain, every single day.

My partner will come into the room mid anxiety attack, clueless of all of this, and ask me about something. I have a tendency to snap back about insignificant things because I’m so worked up about the imaginary scenarios.

“Why didnt you take out the garbage??”
“This kitchen is a mess.”
“Where are my keys?!”

Luckily my partner and I have gotten to a point in our relationship where he can differentiate between the two. It wasn’t always like that though, there was a substantial period of time where he would follow up with:

“Are you mad at me?”

At which point, I would partially snap out of it and apologize, explaining what I had been dealing with before he walked into the minefield.

It’s so easy to mistake anxiety for anger. This doesn’t justify the way I handle myself when I’m overwhelmed. This is something I’ve been working on every day and having him there to listen to my fears, and help me dissect them, does make a huge difference in how I unlearn this toxic behaviour.

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Thanks for reading!

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