Anxiety is like being wound a little differently than most people. It’s not immediately noticeable. You could avoid social situations and tell yourself that you are just a homebody for years before you realize you aren’t, you just don’t want to deal with the stress of being in a large group of people. You might think you’re an irresponsible dumbass because you never check your email until you come to terms with the internal barrier to doing so: a kind of cavernous black thing inside of you you’ve spent so many years detouring around you wouldn’t even know where to start locating it.
On the outside, you can tell people you have anxiety, but it doesn’t have much of a meaning to them other than them thinking that you’re a nervous, dramatic person who likes to create situations in which they get extra attention. That’s the last consideration they’ll give it. When your nervous behaviors peek through they’ll respond to your attempted-anxiety-qwelling text with “why are you asking that? you are really weird.”
That’s funny because a person with anxiety knows they are weird. They actually spend a lot of time thinking about how different their brains are from a normal brain and doing their best to hide this from people. So when you tell them they are weird you aren’t shocking them into submitting to social norms, you’re telling them that the way their head works isn’t ok or likeable or a flaw small enough to deal with.
Trying to get over anxiety is like trying to outrun a treadmill. You have to address and conquer each neurosis individually. To do this you need mirrors. You need people in your life–and probably it should be someone you pay because your friends will get sick of this–that repeat your behavior back to you and tell you what is completely normal and what isn’t and how you can slow your thoughts down about it. In high school my car broke down and my parents paid 3k to get it fixed. For the next five years I would have quarterly panic attacks about what I would do if that happened again until I told my therapist and she was like “Um what? You have a newer car that’s not going to happen.” Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else.
In terms of things that can go wrong in your life, anxiety is a comparably small hurdle to jump over. It’s completely possible to deal with it and lead a normal life. Do yourself a favor, and learn how to listen to people when they tell you things are going to be okay.