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‘But you did it before…?’

Chronic anxiety works like this:

Do something

Do it again

Do that thing well

Do it okay

Repeat the action

Prove you’re capable

Look normal

*** Applause ***

Observe people forgetting what you’ve put yourself through and thinking you’ve leant new tricks like a dog and now you’re able to sustain this for ever or that you’ve “LEARNT TO OVERCOME YOUR ANXIETY AT LAST!”

Feel very tired. Roll your eyes at the lack of understanding.

Then:

Do that thing a bit less well

Shake a bit and feel weary.

Feel fear about doing that thing because you’ve used up your coping reserves

Feel pissed off about your sudden potential to look inadequate or incapable.

Wonder why you want to hide and be alone.

Push yourself to do that thing again.

Have a small meltdown or short illness.

Feel muscle weakness, trembling and tension headaches. Admit that you’re not able to do that thing today because of reasons

Try to deflect patronising comments about how “But you did it before…?”

or superbly misunderstood received wisdom about how “You’ll be glad you did it/ glad when it’s over” despite how doing it was what got you into this mess.

Also bite your tongue when people try to teach you like a child as if you’ve not yet learnt despite already proving that you’re capable and incite-full and intelligent.

Shake a bit more

Feel very very very tired.

Feel too tired even to defend yourself when you get pigeonholed as incapable or unreliable.

Sleep

Repeat

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