More Than Anxiety

Ep 59 - When Anxiety Makes You Feel Annoying

October 24, 2023 Megan Devito Episode 59
More Than Anxiety
Ep 59 - When Anxiety Makes You Feel Annoying
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 59 came from a conversation I had on a consultation call last week. The person I was talking to mentioned that she felt like she was annoying other people by being anxious and it really hit home for me, because I know I remember feeling the same way and it has come up with other people that I've talked to as well. When you're anxious, and you're all up in your head about what people think about you, whether it's that you're asking for reassurance, or even if you think they might be judging you for feeling anxious, it has this way of adding a layer of shame over an already miserable feeling. So this week, I'm going to talk about how anxiety can affect your relationships with other people, how you feel when you're doing your best to hold it together, then feel more anxious because of what you think other people think about you being anxious, and about how I can help you not only feel less anxious, but how you can feel secure in your relationships, even when anxiety sneaks in

SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION CALL HERE

Help others find this resource so they can calm, confident, and have more fun by leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review wherever you listen.

Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook
Schedule your consultation and let's talk coaching!

Thanks for listening!

Megan Devito  0:03  
Welcome to the More Than Anxiety Podcast. I'm Megan Devito, and I'm a life coach for stressed out and anxious women who want more out of life. I'm here to help you create a life you love to live, where anxiety is holding you back, get ready for a light hearted approach to managing anxiety through actionable steps, a lot of truth talks and inspiration to take action so you walk away feeling confident, calm and ready to live. Let's get to it. 

Welcome to Episode 59. It's great to be back again this week to share with you guys all the information I've got on stress and anxiety, what's going on in your brain and in your body, and of course, how you can manage all of it and start to recover. This week's episode came from a conversation I had on a consultation call last week. The person I was talking to mentioned that she felt like she was annoying other people by being anxious and it really hit home for me, because I know I remember feeling the same way and it has come up with other people that I've talked to as well. When you're anxious, and you're all up in your head about what people think about you, whether it's that you're asking for reassurance, or even if you think they might be judging you for feeling anxious, it has this way of adding a layer of shame over an already miserable feeling. So this week, I'm going to talk about how anxiety can affect your relationships with other people, how you feel when you're doing your best to hold it together, then feel more anxious because of what you think other people think about you being anxious, and about how I can help you not only feel less anxious, but how you can feel secure in your relationships, even when anxiety sneaks in. So let's get started. 

Whether you are listening to this episode, and you're not sure if you're stressed or anxious, or both, you're in the right place. Both stress and anxiety can make you feel your heart speed up. You might notice you're not breathing as deeply or that it's harder to breathe, it might be harder to think or to swallow, your body might shake. All of these things are normal ways for your body to feel if you're stressed out or if you're anxious. The difference between feeling stressed and anxious really just comes down to what you think and how long it lasts. So for people who are stressed, even though they feel the same physical symptoms, and they might be snappy or even cry, people who move beyond stress to anxious notice that even when the trigger is gone, they still worry. That's the difference. The fears often morph into new thoughts about what is wrong, and they can actually fear the way that their body feels. It's also really important to know that being stressed out for a longer period of time definitely increases the chances that you'll start to become anxious so it can be a quick slide out of stress and anxiety. And the longer you stay stressed, the longer you're anxious about things that are going to happen in your life, the more cortisol builds up. This hormone, cortisol, makes you feel anxious. So the longer you feel it, the more you notice how you feel, the more you try to figure out why you feel or what you think is wrong, which is really difficult, if not impossible, when you're super stressed and anxious because when you're in that place, your brain isn't working. 

If you've been feeling anxious for a while, you probably come up with some ways to help you feel safer, or maybe less anxious and those different things that you do for a while they definitely help. These habits give your brain some really quick relief, which your brain very dramatically interprets as you've saved your life, even when you were most likely never in danger to begin with. And there's a little tiny part of you that knew you were safe all along anyway. Some people do things like grab a drink or cigarette. Other people might distract themselves with Netflix or Instagram, you could go for a walk or you could do something creative. All of these ways can work and obviously some are better choices than others. But for today in this episode, I want to focus on why you feel like you're annoying, or a burden to other people, and often this is because you do things like ask them if they're upset with you. If you're okay or you go to the people who make you feel safest when you feel the most anxious. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with having people you can depend on who love you and support you. Anxiety is a really big and irrational feeling and you need to know there are people there who love you and who can help you get the help you need or who will just sit with you. This is great as long as you're not depending on them to fix you or to tell you that you're okay. And as long as you're not judging yourself for needing their support. This is a big deal. 

There's a fine line between knowing you can count on somebody to be there for you when you're anxious, or maybe when you think something is wrong, and then needing them to make sure that you're okay. For me, I thought I had some horrible illness, for you, it might be that you're afraid that somebody's angry with you, or you think that everybody thinks you're stupid. Or in the case of someone who I recently talked to on a consultation call, you might think that you're being annoying or a burden. When you feel anxious, and you're doing your best to feel better, it feels really good to have that reassurance that no one's upset, or to latch on to one of the other coping coping mechanisms that I mentioned before because you feel better for a little while. I'll use myself as for an example here, because I have amazing parents who loved me and supported me, no past tense intended here, because they still do, obviously. But I knew I could count on them or count on them anytime. Usually, I was crying, and asking them if I was okay. It helped me feel better to know that they loved me and if I was, in fact, stricken with some awful condition, they would be scared too. The fact that they weren't scared meant to my anxious brain that I was safe. I'd feel better for a little bit, maybe for a few hours or a day or so, and then I would do it again. I can't even imagine, honestly, how many times that I called my mom or my dad to talk to them about what I thought was wrong with me over the years. I mean, multiple hundreds. Every time I called, I felt less anxious but it also felt embarrassed and like I was annoying them or something was seriously unfixable wrong with me. It was terrible. It was this awful cycle to be in, and I didn't want to annoy them or be a burden and even if I was they were never going to tell me that. But I thought it was my only way to feel good, and the same holds true for you. 

You think that talking to the person you use to comfort you is helping, but it's doing the exact opposite. It's making you more anxious, and more reactive. And it's making your fear that you're annoying bigger instead of smaller because you got the relief you were looking for. So your brain thinks that you dodged a bullet. So it'll do the same thing. ask the same questions in a different way next time, over and over until something changes. You think you need to know what they think in order to be safe or to feel better and the cost is just more anxiety and more embarrassment and more shame. Even though they never have said anything like that. 

And likely they just wish they could do more to help you feel better. There's a really good chance that unless they've been anxious themselves, they don't even understand how anxious you are, what it's like inside your head or why you can't just feel better already. Even though you want to believe them, and you might feel a little bit the thought of telling like them telling you to stop can make you feel rejected then, and like you're gonna fall apart because what else are you supposed to do? 

Does this sound familiar? I told you I recently spoke with somebody on a consultation call about this and several times she mentioned feeling like she was annoying. Her anxiety isn't the same as mine. She didn't mention her health, or having long anxiety or panic attacks but so much of her story made complete sense to me. When she feels anxious, to help herself feel secure and calm, she calls her mom or she calls her boyfriend to make sure everything is okay. It helps for a little bit, then she starts feeling anxious because she thinks she's annoying them, or the asking for reassurance is going to kill her relationship. Which of course just makes her feel more anxious and that cycle continues. Even though she's asking for reassurance to feel less anxious what she'd really rather feel is like she can do it on our own and to feel secure in her relationships. She wants to feel confident in who she is and she wants to believe that her relationships aren't going to end. And of course, she wants to know how to feel good without having to ask them for help. All of the checking and asking trying to come up with some really hard and untrue thoughts about what you think other people might think about you. Not to mention, you already feel awful because you're anxious isn't getting you anywhere and it's not helping her either. You just want to feel calm and rational and like a person who can handle feeling anxious sometimes, but if you keep doing the same things over and over, not only will nothing change, but you'll likely become more anxious. 

So I'm going to tell you what you need to do instead. In the simplest terms, you just basically have to stop and be nice to yourself. And that's asking a lot so let me make it a little bit easier. I know this is gonna sound scary and maybe even impossible, but I wouldn't tell you how to do it if I hadn't done it myself, and I wouldn't tell you to do it if I hadn't helped other people do it. It is simple but it's not easy, and it takes practice. First things first, you're going to gradually stop asking for what you think makes you annoying or a burden. And not because you're either of those things, but because those actions that you're taking to try to feel better are making you feel worse. I said, it's as simple as stopping and that's true. Now let's make it a little easier, because I know firsthand that not asking when it feels like the only thing that can make you feel better is asking can feel really hard, so if you are seeking reassurance a lot, I mean multiple times a day like I was, you can start by giving yourself a limit, and only ask once a day. Then maybe every other day, and you go longer and longer periods of time, allowing yourself to feel anxious, and not trying to stop it. Yikes! This is important, though, because not only does this start teaching you that you're okay, even when you feel anxious, or your brain has a million thoughts that are scaring you, but also starts to help you let go of those scary thoughts because you've taken away their fuel, or their food, which is just that little bit of relief that you get by asking to your brain that is proof that you just dodged that bullet. And that's also why asking can become a habit and sometimes even even a compulsion. Because you get dopamine, that little bit of happy. It's just a dopamine hit. 

When you decide to not ask, and to sit in those awful feelings and just feel anxious, it's going to be uncomfortable and that is to be expected. You can feel uncomfortable and still be safe. Your brain is going to try to think really hard, and force you to do what you're used to doing, which is asking for someone else's reassurance or checking Google or whatever it is, so to do this, you have to know exactly how your body feels when you're anxious, and learn how to let it be there and not believe anything you think when you feel that way. Those anxious thoughts are loud and when you feel anxious, you can't think clearly. Remember, it's easy to believe what you're thinking when you're anxious because your thinking brain isn't working. When your emotions are high, thinking as low. So you have to learn to calm your body down before you think and not fall into that thinking trap when you feel anxious inside your body. 

So let me back up and repeat the steps so far. First, recognize that you're anxious and choose not to react. Just choose not to do the thing that you normally do. Second, let yourself feel anxiety in your body. Anxiety is just a feeling those thoughts are just a symptom. And third, calm your body down. So you can start to think clearly. These steps are true if you're like me and dealt with health anxiety, or if you think that you're annoying people and a burden, or that the entire office hates you. It doesn't matter how your anxiety shows up, these steps work for all the types of anxiety. So I help people I coach do these things. First. Remember, you learn how anxiety feels for you, you calm it down, then you deal with the thoughts. But here's the thing about anxious thoughts. They're 99% False. They're stories your brain is making up about the emotions that are wrapped up in a giant not inside your body. You might think that you're annoying, because someone told you that when you were little or you believe you should be some other way than what you are right now. When you think that you might feel emotions like abandoned, or inferior, shamed, rejected or any other emotion that you feel, there's always thoughts mixed in. Even the thoughts that you can't see that are attached to those emotions. Those are the usually the hidden ones that are the real problems. 

So I can help you find the thoughts that are making you feel anxious, and then find the truth when we work together. So together we'll get to those emotions and the real issues so that you don't have to rely on other people to tell you that you're not annoying, or to make you feel safe, or just so that you know that you're an incredible human being. You just get to start to feel more confident in yourself. So you don't feel annoyed or trapped by how you feel. Those changes that you make to help you feel calmer and more confident get to ripple out to everybody else in your life too. It's so much fun and it is super powerful. 

One of the biggest changes that I see in people is how coaching helps them not only feel calmer and more confident, which is great, but they stopped judging themselves so much. They just stopped saying they're annoying. It's really hard to feel confident, though or secure when you're telling yourself how anxious and annoying you are all the time. The way my clients speak to themselves, and what they believe about themselves shifts so far, that their friends and their spouses start to notice sometimes even before they do, that they're more relaxed, or that they're more present. And of course, when you're not focused on all the things that are overwhelming you, or how you feel, you can focus on dinner with your family or having fun with your friends. You get to trust that people actually like you and love you and they want you around instead of wondering if they want you to leave.

 You can start making these tiny changes right now, just by paying attention to what you say about yourself, and about your life. Just start noticing the things that you say even jokingly that you wouldn't say to somebody else, when you catch yourself being unkind. Change what you said on the spot. For example, if you call yourself a train wreck because you feel anxious, then you slide right into being annoying, stop and take a breath and just admit that your nervous system is overwhelmed that you've got a lot of thoughts and a lot of emotions coming up. You're not a train wreck, or annoying, you're human. Even taking the word anxious and attaching it to how you describe yourself can make a big difference. Saying sometimes I feel anxious, or I feel annoying is different than saying I'm anxious, or I'm annoying. One defines you and one is temporary. It's tiny things like that, that get the ball rolling. 

When you think you're being annoying. It's also really important to know that when you think other people think you're being annoying, or you're afraid that you're annoying other people, it's only your thought, you think you're being annoying, or that you're annoying somebody else. Those sneaky little fears about what we think other people think are just a reflection of what's going on inside our own heads. The same holds true when we think that other people think we're too loud. It's what we think. And neither of those things is necessarily true. 

Knowing this has helped me so much. So when I was working with my coach, she pushed me really hard on what I thought my husband was thinking, or what I thought he would say about things. And she showed me how it was actually what I thought and I was totally putting things on him that he didn't deserve or even think! This is so incredible, and how this happened. I hired her as a business coach and we were working through all my thoughts on leaving my teaching job and wanting to coach full time. I got coached on how I wanted to run my business, and how I wanted to spend my money. I had a lot of mind drama, and I pinned it all on him. I was.. what I said I was afraid he would say, and all of these thoughts were 100% my thoughts, I thought he was going to be mad or annoyed. I thought that he thought I was just spending all the money and being irresponsible. None of this was true. And I just want to offer that what you're thinking may not be true either. Once I learned how to handle that kind of anxiety, which was completely different than all the years of health anxiety I had. Honestly, I was actually kind of annoyed when I figured out all of these other little things that I were thinking were from anxiety; I thought it was cured. So all these little pieces were in my life. And now I just get to pluck them out and I feel so good and completely annoyed with myself sometimes too when those places keep popping up. It's like Whack a Mole sometimes. But once I knew what it was and started dealing with anxiety, the way that I know works, it all loosened up and things got so much better at my house. I am less snappy. I'm not as frustrated, I feel more confident. I ask for what I need. We started spending more time together again. And this is all because I wasn't anxious, and overworking and overthinking and trying to tiptoe around him. 

This help is available to you. This is incredible. This is the power of coaching. You can talk with me about how I can help you by going to the shownotes and clicking the link to sign up for a consultation call. The call is going to show you what you're doing now to try to feel better and show you what you need to do. Instead. All you have to do is schedule it, then call me at the time that you picked. If you're ready to stop feeling anxious, and telling yourself you're annoying, and to start feeling calmer and more confident. Schedule your call, and I'll be talking to you soon. Otherwise, I'll be back next week. Take care. 

I hope you enjoyed this episode of The More than Anxiety podcast. Be sure to subscribe and leave a review so others can easily find this resource as well. And of course, if you're ready to feel more relaxed, have more energy, more confidence and a lot more fun. Go to megandevito.com/workwithme or just to the show notes to talk to me more about coaching. See you soon

Transcribed by https://otter.ai