07/08/2017

So, you’re a failure. Fine. Get on with your life!

In my work as a psychologist treating anxiety disorders, I’ve learned that often an underlying driving fear in my patients is the worry that they are failures. (My patients and I use a more colorful term, but for editorial purposes I’ve changed the phrase.) They have intrusive thoughts that they have or will mess things up in some way and cause harm to themselves or others. Their surface fears may involve worry about contamination, feeling socially awkward, having a panic attack, etc., but if I drill down to underlying intrusive thoughts, I often find that the patient is ruminating about being a failure.