Worrying For The Sake of Worrying
I am a 22 year old guy and have anxiety surprise surprise in this day and age haha. I have been seeing a psychologist since I was 16 because during this time I felt I needed one. I was bullied a lot in high school for having scars from a cleft lip I used to have as well as my cultural background which was Irish (typical). Everyday it would happen and I would be so nervous about going to school and seeing them there knowing I would be judged. One particular guy would always argue my point and he would make me so nervous that I would overthink my comebacks and sometimes end up saying things that didn't make sense. I was heavily embarrassed by this. This went on for most of my high school years until around year 11 and 12 when I mustered up the courage to find new friends. I would come into school everyday feeling so worried and anxious for being judged. I would go down a rabbit hole of worrying. That was almost 5 years ago and think I have realised this is where part of my anxiety has come from and perhaps also being super anxious when I was young when going into operating theatres to have multiple surgeries due to having a cleft lip back then. These days I still have that state of mind I had during high school when I would go down a rabbit hole of worrying. How I would describe is it like having a bully inside of you that won't shut up. Whatever self talk I use there is always something that comes up to counter that argument. I hate it so much and I don't know why I can't help do it. I have taken new medication recently which I think has helped in some parts but I end up just going down a rabbit hole of worrying about the medication and wondering if it's helping? I have successful days where I am pleased for having great interactions with people and pat myself on the back for it but then I start wondering can I keep up these good interactions? When will there be a day when things start going bad? During Covid last year I ended up talking to someone online I met at a bar with friends. I really liked her but when we went on a date the chemistry wasn't there and we agreed to not see each other after that and then I started going down hill for months after that. I thought I should go off my medication but that made things even worse. I hated that period so much and was probably one of my darkest periods in my life. I worry something like this could happen again.
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Sorry that happened to you, bullying sucks. I don't get why kids are so mean to each other. I know what the constant worry is like, it's exactly like you said, going down a rabbit hole and things get really negative. I get really frustrated about it.
Something that stood out to me though is that your story is also full of courage. Showing up everyday knowing you'd run into those bad moments at school, going through the surgeries, finding new friends, and putting yourself out there to date someone. Those are all things that take bravery!!
Hope you're doing ok 🙂
Thank you so much for posting on here, it can be really hard sharing this kind of stuff, so well done for taking that step. I really related to your experiences and feelings. I too was bullied throughout school as my family was poor and dysfunctional - I got called "the pov kid" etc. Feeling like you have a bully inside your head was also how I felt for most of my teens and twenties. I now feel I have it much more under control.
For me, I needed to develop a whole set of very diverse strategies. Talking to your GP and seeing a psychologist is a really good step to take. You can also do a lot of exploration yourself of the different psychological therapies out there. I tried out pretty much all the big ones, CBT, ACT etc.
The one that was most helpful for me is called "Schema Therapy" - it's like a hardcore version of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It's commonly used by clinical psychologists for tough cases where other therapies aren't effective. Like CBT, with Schema Therapy you learn to recognise dysfunctional, extreme or unjustified negative patterns of thought, and think about other ways of looking at things, but the difference from CBT is you also think a lot about the underlying deeply held traumas or experiences that may be responsible for continuously generating the negative thoughts, no matter how many times you "refute" these thoughts.
Things like Schema Therapy have worked for me over the long term. However, I also need more short term ways of quickly short-circuiting the internal bully. Even though I'm not religious, I found saying aloud simple mantras from different religions effective ways to distract my mind when I feel myself spiraling downwards. Something about speaking out loud slows my brain down.
I've also found regular intense exercise essential. Anything that forces your attention fully onto your body, and simply doesn't allow your brain room for intense self-bullying, I suspect will help. Exercise can also provide longer term mental health benefits from all the good chemicals exercise releases. I started skating again during COVID, and this really helped, because you have to keep all your focus on balancing, otherwise you may fall off! The risk factor really forces the mind to focus. Anything like this, acrobatics, martial arts etc, I suspect will have a similar effect.
Thanks again for posting, and hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂
Wellcome to our forums.
Im sorry you were bullied I understand that would have been incredibly hard for you.
Please know that this was a reflection of the bullies and not you…….. they were showing you who they were.
Im sorry that you felt judged people who judge others shows that they aren’t happy with themselves.
People who love and care for others has love and care for themselves.
Its all a inner reflection..
I understand how it feels to have that inner bullying voice inside of ourselves that voice is our anxiety talking and anxiety tells alot of lies.
Im sorry that things went down hill after you stopped your medication I understand this can happen…….. but it’s good that you recognised that things were getting worse so you could rectify it.
I understand your worries about this happening again…………… but you could tell your self that you would recognise this if it was happening before things got worse and you would seek help to try to rectify the situation.
Have you ever tried meditation?
Learning to remain calm while you are being disrespected is a superpower……. If you were to be bullied ever again in your life try not to take in what they are saying just remain calm and allow it to roll off your back……. This way your not taking in other peoples negativity…. ( it takes practice)
Has your psychologist been able to give you any strategies for your anxiety.
Please remember your not your past and your not defined by these things that happened to you………..