Lately, my anxiety has been so bad that even seeing someone else do something that I would find uncomfortable doing gives me an anxiety attack.
They do things with such ease. There’s no shakiness of the voice, no hesitation in their actions. I just feel nervous for them. Or I put myself in their position and know I would never do that. Even if I wanted to do whatever they did, or it was just something so small and simple, I could never do it in fear of being laughed at, judged, or just plain embarrassing myself based on my standards.
(i.e.) I was watching TV and the host of the show said to sing a song they (the guest) made up on the spot. I sat there thinking, “They’re going to embarrass themselves in front of so many people, and even on TV. How could they not care about that?” Then the guest immediately started singing a non-rhyming, terribly tuned song, which made absolutely no sense either. Suddenly, I felt like I stopped breathing and felt like my heart simultaneously started beating slowly, but rapidly. I wanted to hide in a corner because they were doing something generally embarrassing.
I feel my anxiety is becoming worse and more irrational. I don’t even have to do anything to trigger it.
I know how you feel. My anxiety has improved a lot, but it reached a point a few years ago where I had panic attacks throughout the day and the anxiety itself was constant and severe. It’s always been there since, but it’s becoming milder.
Anxiety often seems to build up and get much worse out of nowhere, but the answer is in the way the human brain works. Once your brain has made connections between certain events or thoughts and feeling anxious, it has a natural tendency to repeat those connections. The neural pathways and associations become stronger and stronger and your brain begins to depend on them. Once, it would have helped us survive. It can be useful – it’s how your brain learns anything. If you look into this, you’ll find there’s many techniques to change the structure of your brain. They can include trying to change worries to positive thoughts, bringing positive thoughts into your mind in general, practicing relaxation techniques, mentally blocking anxious thoughts or feelings (sometimes people do physical gestures too), trying to create new pathways etc, so you come back to a state of calm more often. Even if you think those techniques won’t work for you, I recommend trying some (and giving them time, practicing each day, etc). If you can only force yourself to keep doing them, there’s no such thing as the anxiety being too far gone or too severe for them to work. There are lots of places on- and offline to look for help. I hope you can start to get it under control soon. I know it’s a complete nightmare to live with.