How Anxiety Disorders Can Play Into Your Everyday Life

Three scenarios to help you cope.

Anxiety Disorders, woman looking out the window

Borderline Personality Disorder exists on the periphery of many other illnesses, and about 90 percent of patients with this disorder also share at least one other major psychiatric diagnosis — especially an anxiety disorder. Here are some strategies for coping with anxiety-inducing scenarios, whether you suffer from a disorder or not.

Anxiety disorders scenario #1: Starting a new job

You might experience an onslaught of stressful thoughts, such as “What if I can’t find parking?” or “What if I make a mistake?” that result in feelings of anxiety, says Edmonton psychologist Dr. Joti Brar-Josan.

What to do: As anxiety mounts before your first day, write down your thoughts and challenge them. For example, if you worry that you’re the wrong person for the job, how did you make it through an extensive interview process? You can also try one of many mental health apps.

Anxiety disorders scenario #2: Attending a party

Social gatherings can be awkward and you may fear that you’ll say something stupid or that no one will want to talk to you.

What to do: Try exposure therapy. At the Centre for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy where Dr. Brar-Josan works, psychologists create “a personalized exposure plan where the client is gradually exposed to anxiety-provoking stimulus.” Depending on the client’s fears, the psychologist may simulate conversations or scenarios during therapy before assigning real-life “exposure tasks.” To prepare for a party, the psychiatrist may have you say hello to a stranger or acquaintance, attend a group dinner with a small number of people or go out without a phone so you can’t use it to avoid conversation.

Anxiety disorders scenario #3: Asking for a favour

Asking for help can cause anxiety because you worry that you’ll be turned down or that someone will think that you’re unworthy of assistance.

What to do: Bite the bullet. The longer you wait to ask, the longer your anticipatory anxiety will last and the worse it will get. And be sure to try these tips to make managing stress and anxiety much easier. 

Related: Here’s an inside look at one woman’s story of living and loving with borderline personality disorder.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada

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