What It Means to Have a ‘Self-Esteem Attack’

By: Monica Drake

Those who face anxiety attacks show different symptoms.

Sometimes, it’s talking fast or stuttering. Sometimes, it’s not talking at all. Sometimes, it’s unpredictable irritability. Sometimes, it’s clenching your teeth or wringing your hands.

Sometimes, it’s sitting in a trance. Sometimes, it’s hypersensitivity. Sometimes, it’s not being able to stop crying or shaking.
There are many different types and causes of anxiety attacks. Some of the different forms include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social disorder, agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For me, the anxiety attack I am most familiar with is a “self-esteem attack.”

 

For “normal” people, if they make some kind of mistake or get criticized by someone, they can think, “OK, I screwed up,” and then move on with their day. For me and for others who face self-esteem attacks, they don’t think this way. Instead of thinking, “I made a mistake,” they think, “I am a mistake.” When someone doesn’t like them, instead of thinking, “Well, that’s their loss,” they think, “There must be something wrong with me.”

For a few moments, a few hours or maybe even a few days, you’re filled with an all-consuming and illogical self-hate. You internalize a circumstance, thinking it’s telling of the kind of person you are when, in fact, it does not.

For instance, a couple weeks ago, I missed a meeting at work. I was selected to be on a jury in a trial, and I was so nervous I completely forgot to check my work calendar. As a result, I received an email to me and my boss from a pretty pissed off coworker, and I started to panic.

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