Everyone has bouts of anxiety every once in a while. Some people get them in certain nerve-wracking situations like job interviews. Others get it a little more frequently, like every time they walk in front of a group of people or have to make a phone call. And then there are a few people who live in a state of perpetual anxiety and can't help but view the world as a series of triggers. For these folks, networking events are cruel and unnecessary, reliving stupid moments is a late night ritual, and overthinking is simply a way of life. If this sounds like you, you know exactly what we're talking about. Here are 15 other memes that demonstrate how oh, so very real anxiety can get.
15 Anxiety doesn't care if you're hanging out
One of the most annoying characteristics of anxiety is the fact that it can creep up on you at any time. One minute you’re walking home from work having had a good day, enjoying people watching on the subway and dreaming about what is for dinner when the thoughts start hitting you—wow those are nice shoes that woman is wearing. They look expensive. Looks like she has a good job that allows her to afford shoes like that. I want to buy shoes like that. I had a good day, but is this really the job I want to stay at? Should I go back to school? I don’t have the money to go back to school. If I don’t decide this right now, when WILL I? Yeah, it’s a full-blown quarter-life crisis, on the subway, all spawned from a woman’s shoes.
14 Doubting yourself is a pastime
Anxiety makes you doubt everything, even things that you're normally certain of. Sure, you've had this gym lock since you were in high school but what if you suddenly forget the combination when you get to your Planet Fitness locker? That will be embarrassing, won't it? Maybe you should carry around a paper with the combo written down just in case. And yes, you are 99% sure that you paid the meter outside up until 2:15, but who knows? Maybe your brain became temporarily dyslexic when looking at the ticket and you actually only paid until 1:25. That could mean a parking ticket—better go check. And sometimes, you doubt the meanings of words, even ones you've used practically your whole life and must resort to looking them up on Google. At least, you think it’s a must.
13 You try to clean the anxiety away
Oftentimes, anxiety can make you feel like everything is out of your control which is why many people find solace in performing tasks that remind them that they do have control on parts of their life. These activities may include running errands, organizing messy areas, or cleaning the house. These tasks bring a sense of calm to a darting mind and so it's no surprise that hours can pass by without you even noticing. One second you're feeling like your world is overwhelming, the next, you're a cleaning machine, dusting everything in sight, tidying up like it's your job, and prioritizing what to do with stunning skill. Well, what do you ya know, four hours sure pass by fast when you're getting your life together!
12 Coffee is a frenemy
An anxiety attack can be a tricky thing to cure, let alone navigate. Sometimes, it can feel like there are a million things to do but you simply don't know where to start. When this happens, many people begin with an easy task, one that usually prefaces any session of productivity: coffee. There's something about coffee that just makes getting work done that much easier. Maybe it's the routine of acquiring it, or the excitement that soon you won't have to stay awake all on your own, or maybe it's just the caffeine. Whatever the reason is, it usually doesn't take long for you to chug that cup of coffee down. The only problem is that now all of that caffeine is rushing through your body at an unprecedented rate, rocking your heart beat and making your hands shake. Now the question is—am I freaking out because my anxiety is rearing its ugly head again or did I drink too much coffee? The cycle continues.
11 "Ice Breaker" activities are the bane of your existence
We think it's safe to say that one of the most nerve-wracking/annoying parts of being in school is all of the public speaking. Between the solo presentations, the group projects, or simply answering a question in class, there is just way too much standing and/or having to project your voice while two dozen sets of eyes fixate on you. Nothing quite compares to the first day of class, though. In an attempt to acclimate students to each other, teachers will almost always partake in some kind of "ice breaker" activity that will presumably help everyone get to know each other. Each person usually has to share their name, what subject they are majoring in and one ~fun~ fact about themselves. Let's all collectively cringe at how awkward that is.
10 You stay up-to-date with all of the terrible things happening in the world
While a good deal of anxiety stems from your own problems, that doesn't mean it can't occasionally arise when you realize all of the problems that exist in the world. From world hunger, the demise of our oceans, deforestation, and war, there's a lot to worry about. And what better time to worry than at midnight, when you've finally settled into bed and you're trying to go to sleep? Couple this anxiety with some active Google searching and you're in for a night of fun. Imagine discovering how many people go to sleep hungry every night while simultaneously finding how much Jennifer Lawrence makes each year. Yep, let's just say you'll start getting lightheaded. Oh, what a frightening, frightening time to be alive.
9 You fight with yourself
Overthinking when you have anxiety is like playing devil's advocate with yourself. Once you come to one logical conclusion, your brain challenges you, forcing you to think of all two thousand of the other possible situations that could happen, no matter how irrational they may be. This train of thought makes what should be a 15 minute-long reflection into a two hour marathon of ominous what-ifs and vague "it could happen" thoughts. Usually talking a situation out with someone other than yourself can help get you out of a vicious cycle of thoughts and questions. Making a pro and con list, listening to music to calm down, or finding some distraction in a TV show also helps. At least until the next freak out session that is.
8 Technology is your BFF... most of the time
In many ways, technology is a Godsend for the perpetually anxious. Being able to form a community of friends online is great for people who may not be as socially adept IRL. Ordering Seamless is infinitely more alluring than calling for delivery. And texting is unsurprisingly the preferred form of communication for people who hate talking on the phone. That being said, people who don't have a whole lot of anxiety don't always understand how important and comforting technology can become for people who do. And no situation illustrates this feeling more than the "can I call you" text. You know what we're talking about. That dreadful, out-of-the-blue text that your friend sends asking you if they can call you to finish the conversation instead of continuing to text. Sure, it seems simple in concept but let's be real. Name one reason why anyone would choose talking on the phone over chilling and texting with ease? We'll wait.
7 Overthinking becomes over-practicing
Anxiety makes basic tasks seem much harder than they actually are. From calling to make a dentist appointment to interrupting a sales employee to find the right size, it can feel like life is just a series of uncomfortable interactions. In an attempt to make these interactions less brutal (at least the ones you know are coming), some people rely on practicing what they're going to say. You know how it goes—you stop at a Chinese restaurant, you're waiting in line to order your food, you skip over all the too-hard-to-pronounce items until you settle on one that isn't totally impossible, and spend the rest of your time on line reciting the menu item over and over again in your head. Practice makes perfect?
6 Anxiety doesn’t have to be specific
One of the most annoying parts about anxiety is that it doesn't have to stem from one clear, specific reason. Sure, sometimes feelings of anxiety [do] spawn from a past event or a certain impeding one. However, that doesn't mean an episode can't begin from absolutely nothing. You can be walking down the street on a beautiful day enjoying the scenery around you when suddenly a feeling of doom washes over you. It's like the feeling you get when you think you might've forgotten to lock the front door of your house mixed with that pop quiz queasiness and a dash of stage fright, all mixed together. Then the fight-or-flight sensation begins to set in but you're not sure what you should beware! Frustrating is an understatement.
5 Reliving stupid moments is a given
Embarrassment is a natural part of the human experience, and a vital one at that. Without a little humility, we'd all be strutting around, egos the size of skyscrapers, thinking we were the finest things that ever graced this planet. A healthy dose of embarrassment, whether it's something dumb like tripping on the sidewalk or more intense like accidentally sending your professor a selfie you meant to put on Instagram, is good for keeping people grounded. That being said, people who deal with anxiety, often latch onto moments of embarrassment, and play the reel of memory over and over again in their heads. Maybe you had an exhausting day at work and finally climbed into the bed you've been dreaming of all day. However, as much as you want to sleep, you can't help replaying that moment of stupidity in your head. Who would've thought using the wrong word in a conversation would haunt you for the rest of your life?
4 You assume people are laughing at you
Anxiety is the land of irrational thoughts. It turns something as simple as a stroll down the block into something as scary as walking the plank. When you left the house, you felt cute in your outfit, but suddenly you feel silly. It's not as cold as it seemed in your apartment and now you're wearing a big, puffy coat while everyone else is wearing a peacoat. You feel like everyone is staring at you as you shuffle down the crosswalk and your heavy laptop tote keeps slipping off your shoulder. To make matters worse, there are a group of teenage girls that look well past their awkward years laughing it up nearby and you're 99 percent sure it's about you. Sure, you've never seen these girls a day in your life but look at you. You're a Snapchat waiting to happen! Now, quick, try to get out of there before they get their money shot.
3 Networking is a torturous process
Meeting new people with like-minded values and goals is supremely useful in life. Networking can occur in casual environments during your every day life or can be planned ahead of time through job fairs and other events of the same vein. While this process is relatively excruciating for everyone, it's ten times worse for people with anxiety. No matter how relevant your contribution to a conversation may seem, anxiety will make you feel like chiming in is the worst decision you could possibly make. Amplify this by 10 if you're not even at a networking event but instead are somewhere where someone may arguably be annoyed by the interruption. So, what do you do? What else? Awkwardly stand nearby "deciding" whether or not to make a move until eventually that person leaves and puts you out of your misery.
2 Assume strangers are dangerous
Being alert and aware of your surroundings is an incredibly important trait that can very well be the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation. That being said, people with anxiety tend to apply this survival instinct to situations that aren't very hazardous at all, instead creating scary scenarios in their head—daymares, if you will. You know you've done this before. One second, you're standing at the bus stop, listening to a song you like and envisioning what you're going to buy for lunch later. The next, you're plotting out what in your bag could possibly be used as a weapon and which house you would run to first should push come to shove, all because someone somewhat "sketchy-looking" joined you at the bus stop. Irrational? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
1 You get annoyed when people try to snap you out of your anxiety attacks
As counter intuitive as it may seem, an onslaught of positive thoughts may actually irritate someone dealing with anxiety more than help them. While oftentimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly is making someone feel anxious and why, turning into Confucius and dumping a bunch of "wisdom" on them isn't always the ideal solution. Just like it isn't the best idea to try to intensely cheer up someone dealing with death right after it happens, it's not always cool trying to force people to skip dealing with their anxiety and get to the part where everything is gung-ho again. If you're going through an anxiety episode, you should be able to process your emotions and get through the attack in your own way at your own pace.