Why We Conceal Our Anxiety
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Anxiety is exhausting, especially when we hide it. At my last job, my anxiety was extremely high, and I’d try to conceal it so much that it would boil over and I’d regularly have panic attacks at my desk. One time I had a panic attack on camera during a meeting. Social settings in general are extremely difficult for me, and I began coping with my anxiety in an unhealthy way. By concealing it. Concealed anxiety doesn’t mean we hide our anxiety— it means we hide our symptoms. Why? Because we are having anxiety about having anxiety. We feel it in every inch of our bodies but are calm and collected on the outside. The worst thing for us is for someone to see us struggle, but we make things worse for ourselves by suppressing our symptoms. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we spiral into a panic attack, outburst of anger, apathy, etc. In reality, the anxiety was always there, just below the surface— it just wasn’t acknowledged and accepted. I hid my anxiety symptoms so much at work that it became a trigger. That in turn made me begin having panic attacks there often, even if I wasn’t in a particular high stress situation. Therapy has taught me that I need to accept that anxiety so I’m able to disconnect it directly to the social or work situation I am in. Truthfully, I lose this battle a lot more than I win it. But instead of focusing on how many times I’ve lost, I need to celebrate each tiny victory, because that means I’m healing.