A large part of having an anxiety disorder can be guilt. When you are irrationally anxious, those thoughts can manifest themselves as grandiose conspiracy theories against yourself. It’s pretty damn self centered at the core of it, but it’s certainly not narcissism.
I have guilt for lots of reasons. I feel like I remember every wrong thing I have done since I was a toddler. Truly. Things that, as an adult viewing a child, I would not condemn a young child for, I condemn myself as a child freely.
As I have gotten older and as my anxiety has been treated, I suffer from far less guilt attacks. But sometimes, when I am in deep existential pain, the guilt resurfaces. Because I am in pain. And I don’t have a logical source for the pain. So I invent one. And often my invention is digging up every bad thing I’ve ever done in the past and deciding that this unbearable pain is punishment for the terrible, terrible person I have been. And am.
It doesn’t matter how many times people tell me what a wonderful person I am. I simply decide that I have fooled them all somehow.
And then fear sets in, deep dreadful fear that comes with anxiety and panic attacks. The fear that somehow, some way, people will find the “truth” about you.
My biggest fear is that I will be judged and come up unworthy, or worse, BAD.
Because of this fear, I have hidden and self sabotaged myself from the time I was a child. I made a lot of poor decisions in relationships and in life because of this fear of disappointing or of being condemned.
Now, on the cusp of growth and (hopefully) greater visibility, my old anxieties return. And because I am anxious, I feel there needs to be a reason. And I turn to guilt.
In the end, I myself need to realize and accept the fact that I AM a good person.
I can’t continue to turn to others to give me that validation. After all, I’ve been receiving that validation for decades and it still isn’t enough to kill the demons of guilt and fear inside of me. So I have to slay these demons myself.
Not everyone is going to like me, or think I’m great, or even, I’m assuming, good. Someone, for some reason, may think I’m a terrible person. I haven’t left a great impression on everyone I’ve ever met. That’s just not possible.
In the end, I have done my best my whole life to be a good person. My motto is literally “Be harmless”. But things I have done have undoubtedly left scars on someone. None of us are completely harmless, although I believe the majority of us try to be.
I need to accept who I am and what I have done. Other people already have. But what good is it unless I actually believe it?
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