Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me
I am a strong person, physically. At six-foot-three inches tall and 250 pounds, most people wouldn't waste their breath arguing that assertion. And, whether because of, or in spite of, my bipolar and anxiety diagnoses, I consider myself to be strong mentally, as well. I am intelligent, accomplished, likeable, and successful.
Despite the mountains of evidence of this, my brain works diligently to convince me that every interaction I have with another person is a misstep. If I text someone and they don’t reply back, it is obvious they are mad at me. If someone doesn't answer the phone when I call, say hello when they pass by, or reply to my email, then my mind goes into what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster. It isn't a fun, state-of-the-art roller coaster, either. It’s an old wooden one, poorly maintained, and it’s painful when it turns corners. The ride up the first hill is jerky, slow, and the anticipation sends shock waves I can feel all over my body. It is emotionally, physically, and even mentally straining. It is fear, panic, anticipation, and dread all rolled into one giant full body panic attack.
Anxiety Convinces Me That Everyone Hates Me
At that moment, I feel as though everyone I know is mad at me. They all disrespect me, think I am stupid, and do not want me in their lives any longer. Quite simply, my anxiety says everyone hates me.
Now, on top of all the other emotions, guilt forms. I feel guilty that I put someone in such a difficult position. I imposed by reaching out to them. Asking them a question, for a favor, or simply saying hello was uncalled for. I should not have done it and, since I’m a good person, I want to apologize. I want to reach back out to them and ask if they are mad, if they are okay, what I did wrong, and let them know I want to make amends. I want to set things right.
I Just Want the Anxiety to Stop
More often than not, what does get me in trouble and where I do make a mistake is by war dialing, constantly texting or e-mailing, or asking them one too many questions about why something is a certain way. Even apologizing for a legitimate mistake can be over the line, if handled the wrong way.
Ninety-seven times out of a hundred, the reason I didn't hear back was because the person was busy, in a meeting, mulling it over, or because people have things to do other than answer me. In the rare occasions where I did make a mistake, offend, or bother someone, the issue is generally cleared up quickly with an explanation and an apology. The people in my life know that I am a good person and don’t intentionally hurt others and they doubly know I wouldn't intentionally hurt them.
Ignoring the Anxiety that Says that Everyone Hates Me
It is hard to sit back, relax, and not engage the anxiety. It baits me to do something I will later regret. I work with my therapist to find techniques to calm down and I explain to my friends and family that when I ask if they are mad me, it is because I genuinely care and I want to make sure they are okay. I am also honest in admitting that checking in with them alleviates my suffering. Often, it is more about me than about them, and they understand that.
There are as many ways to alleviate anxiety as there are people. It is trial and error, but there are techniques that work for many people. Mindfulness, meditation, advanced preparation, sleep hygiene, therapy, and medication can all be used to control this disorder. But the biggest factor in this will always be me.
Howard, G. (2014, May 6). Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/anxiety-says-everyone-hates-me
Author: Gabe Howard
As you would imagine, I deal in a variety of ways. Some healthy and some not so healthy. I do my best to take a moment and realize that <em>I</em> don't respond to every text message immediately, so it stands to reason others don't either. I have worked on this a lot in therapy and I have found anti-anxiety medication to be helpful as well. It also took time. Finally, I also do my best to distract myself after I send a text. Focusing on other things keeps my mind from starting the spinning cycle. Thank you for reading and commenting! ~Gabe
I'm so sorry to read about your situation. It can be very common, including during the middle school years, for people to feel that nobody cares. However, this is taken to a new level when abuse is involved. It is very important to reach out for help. Admittedly, it's not easy. Is there a single adult that you feel even a little comfortable connecting with. Someone at school, in other organizations you are connected with, etc.? Some communities have places teens can go in these situations. A very good resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ They offer a 24/7 phone service as well as online chatting. They listen, and they can point you to resources in your area. You're worth it.
Let's not ignore that feeling of when those long awaited call or text replies arrive, and we have to say what we want to say to them after mentally abusing ourselves - or worse - what the person "will most probably" say to us! Surely, that's not just me.
I want you to know that gets me every time. When I post about things related to mental illness on Facebook I end up with much fewer comments and "likes" than when I post about going to a sporting event. What does make me happy is the most "likes" I ever received was when I announced my engagement to my wife. It is hard to remember not to turn my <em>opinion</em> into a fact. Thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe
Same may be here. If they like posts, what will others think?...kind of thing.
I have had many a person become annoyed with me and cut me out of their lives. Some have told me why and some literally just stop replying, answering the phone, etc. As people we tend to remember the "hits" and forget the "misses". In other words the <em>numerous</em> times that the person didn't respond because they were busy gets overshadowed by the single time that something was wrong. It is difficult to focus on the positive interactions when we are so very afraid of the negative ones. Thank you for reading and commenting it is very much appreciated. ~Gabe
Gabe is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so he is unable to respond to comments. You are definitely not alone. The "everyone hates me" feeling that Gabe wrote about is, as you already know, such a common experience for those of us who live with anxiety. Your current experiences with anxiety don't change or erase anything you wrote about. You are all of those amazing things. Some people have found it helpful to think of anxiety as a weed or some sort of invasive species; it's not you but is something that is trying to overtake you. You can do little things such as changing your focus, being mindful, ignoring the thistles as you do something joyful, etc. moment by moment to cut back the weed. This is just one thing of many to deal with anxiety and reclaim yourself. Hang in there.
I often worry that I annoy people, or that if I do anything wrong, people won't forgive me. Though I do feel people can sometimes fall short of the ideals of forgiveness, often my worries are for nothing. People deserve more credit than we often give them. It's hard, but try to counteract those negative thoughts.
Part of the anxiety can be me but some of it is founded in reality.