Many people that live with moderate to severe anxiety experience thoughts that they perceive as shameful or embarrassing, leading them to keep these thoughts to themselves. With no outlet, they stay within our mind and body, fueling and spreading the anxiety like a wild fire. This is when symptoms of anxiety and depression tend to peak and are at their most severe. Here are a few examples of symptoms and behaviors to look out for if your toxic thoughts are becoming overwhelming.
- Low sense of self-worth or self-esteem. When shameful and negative thoughts plague us we tend to get down on ourselves. We feel that there must be something wrong with us for thinking certain things. For example, you might believe you are a bad person because you thought about pushing someone in your way on the side walk (even though you didn't act on the thought).
- Fatigue. Constant rumination or battling of our fearful thoughts can be extremely tiring. Especially when it causes physical symptoms of anxiety like shortness of breath and stomach sickness.
- Escape or Self-Medication. The fatigue and discomfort that come with toxic and anxious thoughts can lead us to try and escape from them with sleep, or to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
It's powerful to know that you are not alone. Many people experience similar thoughts or feelings but are hiding them as well. This is why sharing can sometimes be one of the most important outlets for relieving anxiety. When we do share, and allow the space for others to reciprocate the sharing, we often find that they have also felt a similar way at one time or another. Whether you share with a family member, friend, or a therapist, you will find that you are not alone in these feelings. Finding similarities in the way we feel can help us feel less isolated and more deeply connected to others.
It's important that when you do start sharing that it's with someone that you trust and know will listen. If you feel that you need a little help with sharing your anxiety with others, therapy is always a safe place to start. Your therapist can help you process these feelings and figure out how to start sharing with the important people in your life.