self-esteem and anxiety disorder

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
self-esteem and anxiety disorder
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 9:16pm
Hi all,

This is my first time posting on the new board. I have a question about self-esteem and it's possible correlation with anxiety disorder. My roommate is an unbelievably anxious person to the point that she tries to control everything in her life-including making me work around her schedule! She is EXTREMELY smart (well at least a hard worker) and has a VERY high gpa, made Dean's List all 4 years each semester, a member of 3 honor societies. I would think doing that well in school would really contribute to a high self-esteem. That does not seem to be the case. I notice that every time anyone suggests she try one career after another she says I can't, I don't think I can do that. For some reason she has trouble believing in herself. She also does not trust anyone or the world itself and is constantly safety conscious, paranoid and very difficult to be with. She has this need to control everything in her life by planning every detail of what she does from going out at night to eating at the dining hall, to studying. In addition, she is constantly worried about what if's instead of being positive. This negative outlook, pessimism, and extreme anxiety about life in general is really going to affect her chances to have a successful career and a happy life. Is it possible she has an anxiety disorder?

Benita- her roommate
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 4:07pm
Hi Lisa,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. She worries about not having things go the way she wants them. For example, she has to plan in advance things like going out for friend's birthday. when helping us plan each other's b-days, she ends up sending frequent emails in explicit detail whereas the rest of us are somewhat more casual about it, planning but not to such an extent. Then she's always afraid something is going to happen while walking at night-true we are in a poor city environment and maybe it's b/c she comes from an affluent suburban area where she lives a very sheltered life. Let's not forget her fear of something happening if the door to our room is not locked even if we step out for a few min. it must be closed and locked. Our doors are such that they automatically lock when closed so most likely if it is unlocked but the door is closed, people would assume the same thing. Then she's always afraid of things like crossing the streets that don't have crosswalks, something happening to her laptop which is why she refuses to leave our room (although I can somewhat understand that). OCD might be it. But I can't/won't tell her that. She would get upset and I wouldn't want someone to tell me that so I guess she will have to learn this on her own. thanks again,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 2:53pm
Hi Benita, welcome to the board...

I have been reading up on anxiety disorders lately, as I believe I have one as well, and self-esteem can be related to anxiety disorders, but not in the way that you've described it... the way self-esteem relates with anxiety is usually in the form of agrophobia (fear of crowds, people)... when someone has an anxiety attack, it is often sudden and unexpected. They can begin to fear having another one while around people, making it hard for them to feel comfortable in social situations... this doesn't sound like your friend.

It almost sounds as if your roomate is expressing signs of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If she is planning every little detail of her day and life, and this begins to interfere with other "everyday activities" then yes, this can lead to anxiety as well. If she doesn't get to plan her day, or if something doesn't go as planned, it can lead to strong fear that that will mess everything up.

what is it exactly that she worries about?? Things beyond her control (i.e. death, illness) or not being good enough for anyone, including herself?

Either way, if this is interefering with her life, to the point where she is unhappy, she should definitly see someone about it... I'm no expert, b/c I am just learning about all of this right now, so I can't really say a whole lot more, but it'd be smart to talk to someone about it.

You may also try posting on the Anxiety board that ivillage offers: or the OCD board:

hope this helps you a little