When you’re beyond overly worried, it crosses the line into a diagnosable condition know as generalized anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder is categorized by some of the following symptoms:
-Feeling on edge
-Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Although living with anxiety is manageable, it is hell at times. With anxiety and motherhood combined, your brain is always working overtime.
There is no rest or coffee breaks for moms. It’s non-stop thinking, worry and extreme stress.
But I have news for you…
Anxiety lies to you!
It tells you lies to get you to believe you’re not you without excessive worry. But you don’t have to believe it. You are more than the lies it wants you to believe.
It’s time we addressed these common lies for what they are… False beliefs that don’t define you and your future with anxiety.
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1. You Have To Be Perfect
Perfect is defined as the absence of flaws or defects. It not only applies to tasks but a human’s personality and appearance.
To achieve perfection, one needs to be driven to focus and change the behavior that’s perceived as ‘imperfect.’
For many, achieving a state of perfection in a certain area of their life is considered a motivating factor to be the best at something.
Those perfections to a specific area in life drive us toward positive goals and achievements.
But with anxiety, it’s normally not just one area in life you’re trying to strive for perfection in. Your anxiety tells you the lie that “you need to be perfect at everything.”
Striving toward perfection with one thing you deem as a flaw is achievable.
Striving to be perfect at everything in life is completely unrealistic.
I myself struggle with the idea of being the “perfect mom.” You know that type of mom you see on Instagram you can’t help but idolize.
She always is smiling with perfect hair and carries her children around while wearing six-inch heels. Ya… That’s not me!
I’m the messy bun, hot mess, eat the food I make you or go hungry type of mom.
I wish I could be the perfect mother. But what exactly is the “perfect mom?” There’s no definition for it because every person’s definition of perfection is different.
I’m not saying perfection can’t be achieved. It can! But how long can you hold onto that perfection?
Eventually, everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. No one is without faults.
When you strive to be ‘perfect’ you will always end up disappointed with yourself causing an increase in insecurity. That insecurity then makes your anxiety worse.
When anxiety tells you to be perfect at everything, realize that you’re human and humans are naturally flawed. But flaws can also be beautiful.
Don’t believe this lie and try to accept yourself. Flaws and all!
Related Articles: How To Control Anxiety Around Your Children
2. Everyone Is Judging You
At times the idea of achieving your version of perfect is driven by a need to please other people. This comes from a fear of judgment from others.
Everyone wants to be liked or seen as perfect by others and themselves. But other people don’t need to define who you are on the inside.
In all honesty, there’s always going to be someone who critiques, nitpicks and judges you harshly.
And when you find those people… Consider removing that toxic relationship from your life.
Of course for some, anxiety becomes worse in social situations. This is true for those with social anxiety.
Although there’s never one driving factor behind a fear of something, some people with social anxiety may feel the need to avoid society because of the fear of judgment.
As someone with social anxiety, I always fear people are judging me…
The cashier at the grocery checkout who never said ‘Hello.’ The man who stared at me but didn’t smile.
My anxiety tells me the cashier and the man are thinking I’m unfriendly, ugly, etc.
With anxiety, it can’t just be that both cold interactions with these two people are the result of a bad day.
The thing is, you don’t know what someone else is thinking or what they are going through.
Unfortunately, anxiety takes these simple interactions and unrealistically exaggerates them into something they’re not.
3. Past Mistakes Define You
See if this sounds familiar…
You can’t sleep at night. You lay awake with your thoughts racing remembering every embarrassing moment from clear back in the sixth grade.
That’s what anxiety does to you!
It puts your brain on repeat. You sit and stew over the tiniest wrong thing you said, a misstep you took.
You obsessively think about events that don’t really matter.
Anxiety lies to you by making you think about past mistakes that don’t matter today.
Your past doesn’t define you!
A mistake you made 10 years ago has nothing to do with who you are today.
For me, this is the hardest lie anxiety tells me. It’s hard not to think about the past mistakes.
I already know that they are mistakes and I’ve learned from those lessons.
So why does my anxiety constantly remind me of such things?
I know my past doesn’t define who I am and I’d much rather forget it. But anxiety lies and tells me my past mistakes matter today.
Deep down I know they don’t and your past mistakes don’t define you either.
4. You Need To Plan For The Future
This is also known as “anticipatory anxiety” and occurs when someone has increased anxiousness when thinking of future events.
Until recently, I didn’t know this type of anxiety about the future had a name to describe it.
I just knew I experience this type of anxiety very frequently. If you’re like me your fear of future events crosses the line into obsessive thinking that includes anxiety about everyday activities.
For example: Planning detailed routes for driving; detailing how you will shop for groceries in the store with children in tow; where you will park your car in a parking garage.
While your anxiety can’t allow you to forget the past, it also tells you to control the future. This control causes you to worry excessively about what the future holds for you.
This includes thinking and visualizing events that are yet to unfold.
Anxiety will make you constantly feel a loss of control when it comes to planning for your future. It wants you to believe that the future can be controlled every step of the way.
Unfortunately, you can’t always plan everything in advance. Life is full of twists and turns you don’t always see coming, whether good or bad.
Yes, you can set plans in motion to determine your future, like plans for your child’s future.
But anxiety tells you to go one step further…
Anxiety lies to you by telling you to control the tiniest things in life, like the conversations you may (or may not), have with someone.
That kind of obsessive thinking gives you a false sense of control over future events.
However, you can never anticipate how anyone will react or talk, so it’s just excessive thinking at this point.
You can’t plan every minuscule thing that happens to you for a future event. And there’s really no sense of trying because it will exhaust you.
If you’re an excessive future planner of events, conversations, directions and more, then it’s time to let go of future planning and live in the moment, day by day.
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5. Anxiety Tells You You’re Not Enough
I think everyone’s heard that voice before in the back of their head. The negative thinking saying…
“You’re not enough.”
“You’re not worthy of love or friendship.”
This negative thinking about yourself is extremely damaging to your self-esteem.
Over time, these negative thoughts will continue to become a pattern of thinking that’s hard to change.
Negative thinking of this magnitude about yourself has a snowball effect. It starts with a small negative thought about yourself (“I suck at balancing my checkbook”).
That small negative thought results in eventually hating balancing your checkbook.
It may seem stupid… But that kind of thinking over time will lead to you feeling like you are not good enough for anything.
Although negative thinking like this can come from a lack of self-esteem and anxiety, this type anxiety lie can also be the result of past psychological abuse.
If you’ve experienced someone telling you you’re not good enough or your worthless, those statements stick with you for life.
Those negative statements from others impact the way you think about yourself resulting in you feeling less than worthy of success, love and friendship.
6. You’re Failing At Life
Along with thinking of yourself in a negative light comes feeling like you’re failing at life. When you lack self-confidence the littlest failures will bring you down.
While it’s reasonable to feel like a failure or be disappointed after a failed job interview, it’s another thing to feel like a failure when you make tiny everyday mistakes.
Your anxiety lies to you by telling you you’re failing at life when you arrive late to work; forget to pack a Go-Gurt in your child’s lunch; forgot to do a load of laundry. The list goes on and on…
These little mistakes happen each day to someone. But when you have anxiety, you immediately think you’re a failure at life. Your thoughts go to the extreme!
This is one of the worst lies anxiety will tell you because it’s truly damaging to your mental health!
7. Everything Has To Be Overanalyzed
When I say overanalyzed, I mean obsessed over. A small conversation with a friend is taken out of context. A side glance from a stranger walking down the street puts you on high alert.
Anxiety tells you to always look at everything with a deeper meaning.
The worst part about overthinking everything to death is the endless what-if scenarios.
Although a social interaction was pleasant enough, your anxiety tells you to overanalyze the same situation with all the horrible ways it could have gone wrong.
Honestly, I have no idea why our minds do this with anxiety! It’s the worst feeling in the world to imagine all the terrible ways something could go wrong in your life.
I guess it’s the brain’s way of preparing you for the worst situations.
A lot of times this excessive overthinking comes from a place of negativity or always seeing ‘the glass half empty.’ (Don’t worry, I too am a negative thinker.
But I try my best not to be. It’s a work in progress!) Other times, the overthinking comes from our difficulty handling an uncertain situation.
To relieve anxiety, it’s best just to avoid situations altogether. This only works for so long though!
When we’re faced with uncertainty about something our anxiety increases and begins to overanalyze.
Anxiety lies to you by forcing you to overthink and overanalyze everything in life!
Not everything needs to be overanalyzed. It needs to be taken with face value.
No amount of overthinking will produce a different outcome to an event. It will only cause you more stress and even send you into a panic attack.
8. You Need Control
The best way to relieve anxiety is by controlling the environment. If our environment is controlled we lower our chances of anxiety becoming worse.
Anxiety craves control in order to produce stability. If you lose that stability or control, you feel as though you’ve loss control of yourself.
While you may feel as though you will ‘lose it,’ you are still in control of your response to a situation.
If you know certain situations produce increased anxiety, you can mentally prepare yourself ahead of time by realizing what is in your control and what is out of your control.
Let’s look at the following scenario:
You know that large groups/crowds make you anxious. You are already prepared for this by knowing what increases your anxiety.
Although you can avoid large gatherings, not always are they avoidable (like going to a mall packed unexpectedly with people).
Take a mental note of the things you can control in this situation- You can control where you go, who you talk to and your response to the situation.
Things you can’t control-How big a crowd of people will be and other people’s reactions and behaviors.
You can only control your own behavior and fear in this situation.
Anxiety would just like you to think that since you can’t control other’s reactions and the amount of individuals at a given place, then large crowds should be avoided at all costs.
Related Articles: 9 Tips For Keeping Your Sanity As A Stay At Home Mom
When you live with anxiety… It’s more than just simple worry. I actually hate the word “worry.” Because of anxiety I don’t worry about things. I obsess over everything!
Although I may not show it physically when someone looks at me, inside my brain is constantly overthinking everything.
That what anxiety does. It’s not a normal worry about getting a job promotion. It’s worrying times ten!
Especially when my mind creates endless what-if scenarios to situations that are completely out of my control.
Honestly, I’m still a work in progress. I’d love to say my anxiety is well managed. Unfortunately, anxiety keeps telling me…
-I have to be perfect at everything in life
-Everyone is judging me
-I can’t forget about past mistakes
-I have to obsessively plan for an uncertain future
-I’m not good enough
-I’m failing at life in general
-I have to overthink the smallest things in life
-I have to try and control everything around me
If anxiety tells you any of these 8 lies… Know that you are not alone! No matter how anxiety presents itself, you need to know and realize that…
-No one is perfect and everyone at least has one flaw or defect
-Not everyone you meet will judge you
-Your past is not your future and you can move forward
-Not everything requires planning for future events
-You are good enough
-You are not failing as long as you’re trying
-You can only control your own behavior and reactions to events
What other lies does your anxiety constantly tell you?