That Old Familiar Feeling (of Failure)

My anxiety is a funny thing. Not ha ha funny, obviously, but curious funny. The way it flares up and dissipates. What sets it off.

And the frustrations of how it can affect me.

Sometimes I’ll go days, maybe a whole week, with my anxiety pinging. I can feel it, hanging on my shoulders and clinging to my neck. It’s just there, making me uncomfortable, waiting to give me a squeeze. And squeeze it will. It’ll set my brain to overdrive at the slightest trigger.

My overwhelming thought when this happens is “I’m failing”. It is the mantra of my anxiety.

I’m failing. I’m failing. I’m failing.

As someone who’s fear of failure has severely negatively impacted her life, I think this is a pretty insidious thing for my brain chemicals to do. How’s your day going? Your week? Feeling a bit anxious? Well, that’s because you’re not doing enough and what you are doing isn’t good enough. Enjoy!

When this happened recently, it was during a very busy period. I had several projects going and I was struggling to keep all of my plates spinning. In fact, I dropped a few. And even though I managed to be incredibly productive, more productive than I anticipated, I would still have moments during that week when my anxiety would give me a squeeze and whisper in my ear, “I’m failing. I’m failing. I’m failing.” Of course, that voice got louder when I dropped my plates. Sure, I got all of this done, but you forgot to do something that you’ve done every other week for months. And you nearly forgot to do this thing that you’ve done every day for the last two months. You’re not doing as well as you thought, huh?

I’m failing. I’m failing. I’m failing.

It’s a scratchy voice and an itchy feeling. My shoulders are tightening and my skin is contracting just typing about it.

It’s a helpless feeling, too. Not just because my brain does this sort of clever shit to me against my will. It’s a helpless feeling because it validates the rotten thoughts I have about myself. It gives them more weight. I’m floundering because I’m failing and I’m failing because I’m not good enough to do any better.

If my depression is acting the ass, the result can be debilitating, a spiral straight to mental health hell.

If not, then my anxiety gets a rude awakening from my stubbornness, which is so embedded in my family’s DNA that it’s actually on the family crest. Because my stubbornness doesn’t care about my anxiety or failing. I have shit to do and I’m going to do it. The end.

This is part of the reason why I can fake being okay when my anxiety is actually doing a number on me. I might be a little extra awkward and maybe a little more forgetful, but otherwise, there’s nothing different about me. I’m taking care of business like I always do.

I’m failing. I’m failing. I’m failing.

And I’m too stubborn to let that stop me.

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