If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my ten years of living with schizophrenia, it’s that no one is judging you as harshly as you’re judging yourself.
I’ve lived with this illness for a long time, and I’ve been through every iteration of fear about what people thought about me and what they were thinking about me. I’ve experienced every anxiety possible about what people thought, and I’ve been so afraid to leave my house that I’ve holed up for days.
In fact, the main overarching fear I’ve had in my years of dealing with schizophrenia is that people were making fun of me, so I know what I’m talking about when I speak of paranoia and anxiety.
There are different ways this fear that people are judging you manifests; maybe it’s about the way you look or a thing you did or a certain way you held yourself, but there always seems to be a little voice in your head that tells you you’re not doing it right.
I’ve heard that voice scream at me for years on end and the biggest thing I’ve learned is that the voice is much harder on you than anybody in the world could ever possibly be.
Nobody is paying that much attention to you, nobody is judging your merit by the way you look and by the way you speak, most people couldn’t give a damn what you’re like unless you’re entering into some huge relationship with them.
The fact of the matter is that you are much much harder on yourself than anybody ever will be.
I’ve been in that realm of thinking for years, afraid of what people thought of me and afraid that they were making fun of me. I’ve gotten to a point in my experience with mental illness that I realize the voice, though it may never stop talking, is just simply annoying.
Ray Lamontagne has a line in one of his songs that says, “I’ve been to hell and back so many times, I must admit it kind of bores me.”
That’s kind of the point you get to when you deal with anxiety and paranoia everyday of your life.
You always get through it.
The simple fact of the matter is that nobody cares that much about you, especially not the barista or the pizza guy.
If you keep in mind the fact that everyone is starring in their own movie, it gives you some perspective that people matter the most to themselves.
They are the only ones judging their actions so harshly and the same goes for you.
The only people who matter that strongly to anyone is themselves, and nobody cares that you stuttered or that said something weird in that interaction.
The fact is they are probably so focused on their own performance that they didn’t even realize you stuttered.
You are your own worst enemy and you are your own worst critic, and anything that happens that feels weird or awkward is only escalated in your own head.
Chances are it didn’t even matter.
The best way to combat this is to accept your worst fears about everything.
If you accept that the absolute worst thing happened and get comfortable with any notion, you’ll find that most of the time your interactions are actually pretty good.
My advice, just try not to give your own inner voice more credence than it deserves.
This is especially true for anyone with anxiety.
Most of the time it doesn’t matter. We should all try to remember that.