“Self-esteem attacks” are a mental health issue we should know about

Do you feel anxious about mistakes you’ve made or could make, or worry you’re not doing anything right? You could be experiencing a “self-esteem attack,” a very-real form of an anxiety attack related to feelings of self-worth.

According to the Self-Esteem Institute, self-esteem attacks are often mistaken for panic attacks.

"'Self-esteem attacks' occur when a person with low self-esteem does or says something that he afterwards deems to have been inappropriate, stupid, rude, obnoxious, off target, or inaccurate," they write. "At that time, the person may experience immediate remorse, excruciating anxiety, his heart racing, his face turning red, a sinking feeling of embarrassment, depression and/or devastation."

People suffering from these attacks might isolate themselves, avoid situations outside of their comfort zone, and avoid speaking up in public, the institute claims.

So why do these attacks happen? Dr. Marilyn J. Sorenson, Ph.D., told Bustle that confidence development begins very early.

"Children who are continually criticized, severely punished, neglected, abandoned, or in other ways abused or mistreated get the message that they do not 'fit' in the world — that they are inadequate, inferior or unworthy. This is where self-esteem begins," she explained. "Shame is the feeling of being something wrong."

If attacks like this affect you, know that you’re not alone and that there are people and resources to help you. Self-esteem building exercises can help you remind yourself how awesome you are and reset your priorities. Surround yourself with friends who bolster your feelings of self-love, not the opposite, and remember that you are an amazing human being worthy of self-love! 

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