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By Amalia Tihon


I never understood. Why being around people is sometimes infuriating, even though they are the ones I care about the most. Hearing about my parent’s day at dinner is usually a moment of relaxation – until it becomes annoying. The sound of my friend’s chewing is obnoxious. So is that stranger’s loud tapping on their phone. Waiting in a queue is a struggle because ‘why are they taking so long to order?!’.

But this is not who I am. I love knowing mundane stories because this is what makes our day, and my best friend is not obnoxious, they’re just living their life. The stranger in a queue could have had a rough day too.

Then it hits me. It’s not about them – it never was. It’s me. Well, not me per se – my anxiety. When the world closes on me and the air feels like it’s not enough, the thought of being around people is exhausting. No matter how dear they are to me, in those moments, being alone is my only comfort. These people become nothing but stress factors in a world where my fight or flight is constantly on.

I used to think I’m becoming some sort of a Grinch; that I start disliking people because they are annoying when, in fact, I dislike some of their actions because I am on survival mode. I always feel as if my hearing is ten times sharper in those moments filled with panic. Like an amplifier, things I normally overlook become significant. A car’s horn, a construction site, a microwave beeping. Annoying, all of them.

‘Why do I get angry easily anxiety’ I would search online. Hundreds. No, thousands. Of results all saying different things. None of them bringing me comfort.

I kept hurting the people I love with rude remarks. Spewing words that I didn’t mean. Despising sounds that were part of my everyday life. And I knew nothing as to why it kept happening.

Instead of being scared by things, I had become irritated. No one told me it’s a common symptom of anxiety, until I met my therapist. They made it sound so simple, so comforting: the brain sometimes becomes overwhelmed. And that doesn’t make me a horrible person. Doing my best with what I have is not a crime and if anger is all I have right now, that will have to do.

So, I started talking to the people close to me. Explaining that I don’t mean to hurt them, but that sometimes it all feels too much. That I need to pause, but that I’m struggling to get that across calmly. I was no longer the Grinch, but rather someone who needed adjustments every now and then. Am I still angry at times? Yes. Do I sometimes say things I don’t mean? Again, yes. But at least I no longer feel like a bad person. I came to acknowledge that anxiety can transform us into someone we are not.

‘Hi, my name is Amalia Tihon and I have been living with generalised anxiety for almost 9 years. I have been writing for just as long because this is how I express myself best. I found myself often relating to people whose writing I found online so through my own writing I hope I can make even one person feel less lonely.’

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected]  for more information.

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