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Anxiety/over-thinking about the past

  • 19-04-2020 9:27am
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi everyone just posting here as I guess we all have more time for self reflection in the current situation. I’m a 33 year old woman with a good job, good friends and to the outside world I probably appear very “together”. The reality is very different and I don’t know how to help myself in this regard.

    I suppose you could say that I suffer from major anxiety at times in my life. I guess I’ve always known I’ve had anxious tendencies and just accepted them as part of who I am but over the past year I’d say they’ve gotten a lot worse. I should probably add that I don’t have a good relationship with my mother. She has her own issues and unfortunately I seem to be the punching bag and when she is anxious/annoyed/worked up I get the brunt of it. When she is like this she can be really horrible to me, saying that I only have so called friends, nobody likes me and people laugh at me behind my back. When she is really bad she can say I tell lies about things and this could be me as simple as saying I got my hair cut and if it doesn’t look cut to her, she will call me a liar. This is probably part of the reason for why I am so anxious and hard on myself.

    Last year I was bridesmaid for the third time for my best friend. I was much younger the other times and I suppose I didn’t have much of a part to play in all the jobs that go along with being bridesmaid, however this time I did a lot of organising r.e the hen etc. In the weeks leading up to the wedding I got very anxious even though I was really looking forward to the day and was happy to do anything I could to help my friend On the day of the wedding my stomach was in bits and I found myself overwhelmed and not able to relax even though I still have great memories of the morning and the day. I didn’t mind walking up the aisle or even the bridal party dance. It may not seem this way but I’m actually a very chatty/friendly person and talking to people generally doesn’t bother me. In the church I started to get really warm and panicky and this was in the winter months. There is one part of the ceremony where I felt weak standing up and was concentrating so hard on breathing and trying to stay calm that I stood in an absolutely stupid place for a couple of minutes.

    It took one of the other bridesmaids to bring it to my attention. I’ve never felt so stupid in my life. The rest of the wedding day went off well and i varies from being a ball of anxiety to having the best fun. Ever since the wedding I ha be dreaded the wedding video coming out incase my mishap is on it. I haven’t watched the clip I’ve been sent and just told my friend it was brilliant and captured the day perfectly. When I meet people from the grooms side of the family I start freaking out and feel sick to my stomach that none of them like me because of my mishap on the day. I go all quiet around them and normally I’m really chatty.

    This might seem ridiculous to people here but I thought it best to use an example of how worked up I can get over what some would perceive to be a small thing, rather than an event or occasion where anyone might feel anxious. I’m in a pattern where if I’m feeling anxious I can’t think straight or I seem to lose all reasoning and I might do/say something stupid. A few days later I realise this and beat myself up over it until I do the next stupid thing.

    Is there any hope for me to stop feeling this way? I don’t really feel that anxious about the future except for the fact that I’m single and worry about life along but I feel that can’t be controlled to the same degree my anxiety can be managed. Any advice or help would be welcome.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin

    Your mother's behaviour has trained your brain into thinking that everything you do is wrong, stupid or never good enough.

    The Good news....most people don't think like her, don't sweat the small stuff, don't have ridiculous high expectations of others even those they can't reach them themselves.

    The Bad news....because you've listened to her nonsense for so long, you've started to believe it in some way, even though there's no logic in that.

    Standing in the wrong place is a non issue. We all have minor lapses, I've gone to the shop & come back without the very thing I went to get, have forgotten to do some things etc. If I bet myself up over ever trival slip up, I would be miserable.

    You need to get to the stage where you have your own view of the world, and you own normalised exceptions and standards. Not hers as they are damaging. You may need counselling given this is deeply ingrained.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,368 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12

    It sounds like perfectionism and like youre putting far too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. I can absolutely see the connection here to your mother, your conditioned to think that everyone's judging you, expecting you to be perfect at all times and that any minor mistake will be heavily criticized or blown out of all proportion.
    When you do something that you think was embarrassing or not correct and you start to feel shame, write the incident down, write exactly what happened, how you felt in the moment and how you feel when you think about the event, write down what you think other people thought of you in that moment. Read over what you have written and you will see how much youre catastrophising.
    Every time it comes up for you, particularly in public or around people that are triggering, recognise the feelings and the thoughts and let them go, force yourself to move on from them and to be in the present moment.
    If youre in a situation were youre feeling anxious and starting to panic, try grounding where you look for 5 things around you that you can touch, feel, smell and hear. This is a good technique for taking you out of your head in those moments.
    Have you been to counselling? Some CBT might be good for you.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 20,598 CMod ✭✭✭✭amdublin

    Oh dear, I hear you, and understand the way you are feeling.

    A question though, if it was one of the other bridesmaids who did it would you be still thinking about it now? Would you have been as hard on them as you were on yourself? (oh my gosh how stupid of them). My bet is NO!
    Would you be watching the video thinking how they look? My bet is NO!
    Would you even notice?? I again say NO!

    My point is, you are being way way too hard on yourself. We all do silly things all the time. And it is human tendancy to think about it afterwards. Don't worry, we all do it. BUT! At some point, you simply must let it go! It is not fair to yourself!

    And again, think about it, would you punish a friend for it as much as you are punishing yourself?

    Oh one final thing, if it makes you feel better, you poor thing, so you felt a bit faint and hot in the church (understandable, all the excitement and stress on the day), and because of that stood in the wrong place, big deal! Let it go girl! Let it go! Easier said than done I know! But use the "if my friend did it would I let it go for her" example to help you work it through and let it go yourself.