No, I did not misspell “bad.” I really do mean good. Yes. What to do when things are good. Because as someone who has suffered from severe anxiety my entire life, I feel like I actually know how to react better when things are bad.
When things are bad, I have coping mechanisms. Strategies and skills that help me deal with my problems and begin to move forward. But when things are good, it’s not like my anxiety magically disappears. Life just feels a bit less overwhelming. A bit more peaceful. A lot more fun.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s almost a bit scary when things are good because I am scared to be happy. Scared that something horrible will come and take it away. Sometimes, when things are good, I get hit extra hard with existential anxiety.
Oh, you’ve made five healthy dinners in a row? Doesn’t matter, gonna die.
Oh, you had a fulfilling week at work? Who cares, you’re gonna die.
Oh, your relationship with your husband is better than ever? Remember, it’s not going to last forever!
Yes, these are morbid thoughts but they are real and happen to me on a daily basis – especially when things are ‘good.’ Which leads to the question – are things really that good if I’m constantly having those thoughts?
Although these thoughts suck and can frustrating (and terrifying), I would still say the answer is yes. Because while I do have to deal with this element of anxiety, it is nothing compared to times when my health anxiety is out of control, or my emetophobia is so bad I slip back into disordered eating habits.
So, if you’re anything like me and tend to get stressed out when things are actually going okay for you, here are some tips I have:
- Acknowledge your disorder – Even in the times when things are good, don’t forget about whatever it is you deal with. My anxiety is a part of me, it always has been, and likely will be for the foreseeable future. And that’s okay. Part of the reason I have a hard time during ‘good times’ is because I used to think, “Oh no, what happens when all that anxiety comes back!” But acknowledging that it hasn’t really gone anywhere somehow makes me less anxious.
- Practice coping strategies – Even when times are good or better, there will still be triggers. These triggers may not affect you as severly as when times are bad. BUT this is actually the best time to practice your coping strategies – when triggers feel less overwhelming.
- Enjoy it – My anxiety comes in waves, and is usually triggered during times of change or high-stress. My anxiety is not gone, but it is manageable right now. So I will do my best to enjoy right NOW instead of worrying about the day it ‘flares up’ again.
So, there you have it. I kind of have a headache right now and am super bloated and brain foggy (…still dealing with some digestive issues…), so I hope that made sense. Let me know if you’ve ever felt ‘scared to be happy’ or had trouble accepting when things were going well in your life.