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    8 Things No One Tells You About Working With Anxiety

    Just trying not to let your anxiety get on top of you can feel like a whole extra job.

    1. Making small talk is a literal hell.

    Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

    Jean-Paul Sartre was only half right when he said, "Hell is other people." For someone like me, hell is other people and a slow elevator ride. Hell is other people and a wait by the coffee machine. Hell is small talk.

    It has nothing to do with being antisocial, or having no interest in others. It has everything to do with an overbearing voice in your head screaming things like "omg, this is so awkward", "lol, look how uncomfortable this is", and "say something cliché about the weather, I dare you."

    If I could chose one superpower beyond the obvious choice of flight, without a question I'd choose the ability to make excellent small talk. Hell, I probably wouldn't stop many crimes, but I'd at least be able to make passing conversation with a criminal while they're robbing a bank or something – and for me, that'd be a victory.

    2. Large groups of people are especially terrifying.


    Every day can feel like your first day in a new school, as if you're trapped in some kind of horror movie version of Groundhog Day where you never quite feel fully comfortable around colleagues.

    I tried to overcome my fear of groups on an office away day by joining the outside of a circle of people I'd never spoken to at work before. I stood there awkwardly nodding and laughing along with the group, trying to act as if I belonged. It took me a whole seven minutes to notice they were actually tourists who weren't even speaking English.

    So if ever you feel bad about how you appear to a group, take solace in the fact they're probably not Spanish holidaymakers wondering why you've chosen to interrupt their drinks.

    3. It can be seriously mentally exhausting.

    4. Anxiety can come with physical symptoms, not just mental.

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    I pretty much spent the whole first week of my current job having panic attacks in the bathroom. I can only imagine my managers thought they'd hired someone with an undiagnosed bowel illness or a severe coke habit – I'm hoping on the latter.

    And it's not just panic attacks that are visible to outside observers. I have the super annoying habit of shaking my leg uncontrollably when I'm anxious – I don't even realise I'm doing it until I've tap-danced half the Riverdance.

    While sometimes it's possible to mask your inner turmoil with a smile, unfortunately there's not always a way to hide what's happening on the outside. Sometimes you've just got to do your dance, and hope not too many people notice.

    5. You often find yourself avoiding social situations.

    6. Self-doubt is your own worst enemy.

    7. There's not always a reason behind the anxiety.

    Haejin Park / BuzzFeed / Via Facebook: BuzzFeedHealth

    It's not easy to accept that you're not always in control of your anxiety, and that an attack can occur at any moment. Anxiety is like an unwanted houseguest who shows up to your place unexpected, hangs around watching The Big Bang Theory, and then fucks off with your rug for some reason. Anxiety is a dick.

    I used to – and in the name of full disclosure, still sometimes do – beat myself up over my anxiety. It's normal, but wrong, to feel weak when a panic attack overcomes you during a meeting. It's logical, but not helpful, to feel fear when your heart feels like it's about to physically explode with dread. Anxiety follows no logic, so there's often no logical way of dealing with it.

    Often the only thing you can do is wait for the moment to pass, and try and hold on to the fact that you've defeated this before, and you will defeat it again.

    8. Setbacks are common.


    It's how you deal with them that matters. For every three steps forward, there's always going to be one step back, but what's worth remembering is that by simply attempting to beat your anxiety, you're a goddamn fighter. What may seem like a minor achievement to others could be a monumental achievement to you. Anxiety is your Everest, and by simply getting through the day you're getting closer to the summit.

    Always consult with your doctor about your personal health and wellness, including any recommendations you find online. BuzzFeed posts are for general informational purposes only, and cannot replace professional and individualised medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice.

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