Anxiety and Perception

Random

Anxiety disorders screw with your perception of the world, so a lot of ordinary things can cease to make any sense at all, and regular tasks can become impossibly intimidating. Here’s a comparison of normal tasks vs the perception a person with anxiety disorder has about those tasks.

This is meant to show the severe and non-sensical nature of an anxiety disorder, and how it can be paralyzing to the point of interfering with everyday activities. Exact details of thought/behaviour patterns and severity will vary by person, by day.

Asking for someone’s phone number

What a regular person does:

What a person with anxiety disorder thinks they’re doing:

Texting a friend

Regular:

“They haven’t gotten back to me yet. Must be busy.”

Anxiety:

“They didn’t get back to me immediately. THIS PROVES THAT THEY HATE ME. WHAT DID I DO WRONG? Should I text them again? I probably shouldn’t text them again. I’m going to text them again.”

Crossing the Street

Regular:

Anxiety:

Making a plan for the evening

Regular:

Anxiety:

Making plans for your life

Regular:

Anxiety:

Looking for keys

Regular:

Anxiety:

Having a boyfriend (or girlfriend)

Regular:

“They should have gotten back to me by now, I know they’re just playing Halo. Oh well.”

Anxiety:

http://tinyurl.com/mlsb8ee

Meeting a friend

Regular:

“They’re 30 minutes late. Traffic must be really bad!”

Anxiety:

“They’re 10 minutes late. Traffic must be bad. Unless… oh no. What if they’re dead? How would I even know if they died en route? I wouldn’t! They could have been hit by a car or attacked or something. OH NO THEY’RE DEFINITELY DEAD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? Maybe I just got the wrong time. Did I get the right time? I’m pretty sure I got the right time. Yep, just checked. Got the right time. Maybe it’s the wrong day! Maybe I’m supposed to meet them tomorrow. Need to check again. It says today. Unless today isn’t actually Tuesday. What if it’s actually Monday and I’m supposed to meet them tomorrow? WHAT IF IT’S WEDNESDAY AND I MISSED THE MEETING ENTIRELY?! What day is it? My phone says Tuesday, but how can I be sure? Maybe we never even made plans and I just made it up in my head. Maybe we aren’t even friends, and I just think we are. What if they don’t even exist? WHAT IF I DON’T EXIST?! — Oh hey, you’re here! Traffic was bad? Thought so. That really sucks, man. Glad you made it, though!”

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