You’re going to grow familiar with the art of the apology.
And even if your apologies are genuine, some people aren’t going to forgive you. They’re going to hold the times you bailed against you, even if you had a good reason. Even if it was impossible for you to climb out of bed that day, let alone answer a text or meet up for dinner. Sometimes your anxiety is going to cause you to disappoint the people you never wanted to hurt, and even though it’s not your fault, it is your responsibility to deal with the aftermath, the hurt feelings, the guilt.
You have way more responsibilities as an adult, which could worsen your anxiety.
You might have hoped that your anxiety would go away once you were older and got used to living this way. But the older you get, the more you’re meant to do on your own. You can’t rely on your parents to make appointments for you or do the talking for you in social situations. You have to set your own schedule and advance your own career and hold your own conversations. Things might have actually gotten harder as the years have passed, but you can’t let that get you down. You have to remember that you’re taking on so much more today than you did yesterday. That’s why everything feels so overwhelming. You haven’t gone backwards. You’re simply taking on more.
You’re going to have to learn to hype yourself up.
When you’re younger, you might have people around who are going to encourage you to open up, who are going to push you to achieve your dreams, who are going to remind you that you have what it takes when you’re scared to leave your comfort zone. But when you’re older, you won’t always have someone around to hype you up, so you’re going to have to do it yourself. You’re going to have to remember that you’ve been in tough spots before and have made it through. And you can do it again. You might be scared, you might be shaking, but you have what it takes. You do.
You need to be gentle with yourself – but also brutal with yourself.
You need to learn to differentiate between the days when your anxiety is manageable and you can push through the pain – and the days when you genuinely need a mental health break and should stay home and rest. You need to be gentle with your mental health so you don’t burn out, but you also need to fulfill all of your responsibilities in order to survive. That means you need to figure out how to balance everything in a healthy yet productive way – and that takes time to learn. It takes trial and error.
You need to take it upon yourself to search for help.
When you were younger, you might not have realized you had anxiety. You might not have known why your heart was pounding so fast and your palms were getting so sweaty at the thought of certain tasks. But now that you’re older and know yourself better, you need to take better care of yourself. Whether you attend therapy, take medication, or simply download meditation apps and learn grounding exercises on your own, you need to do something to make your life easier. You need to treat your mental health as a priority, even when it’s inconvenient.