By Holly Riordan
Anxiety makes it seem like I don’t care about the people who matter the most to me, because I’m terrified of coming on too strong. I don’t want to compliment them and have them think I’m weird. I don’t want to invite them over and get turned down. So I stay quiet instead. I let them think I don’t care at all instead of letting them see I care too much.
Anxiety convinces me not to text anyone, because I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want them to feel obligated to answer me. And after all, if they reallywanted to talk to me, then they would have initiated a conversation themselves, wouldn’t they? If they haven’t been reaching out to me, then they must not want anything to do with me.
Anxiety makes me feel like I don’t fit into any group. Like everyone else would be happier without me around. That’s why I never feel guilty about canceling plans at the last second. I feel like I’m doing them a favor. Like they’re secretly relieved we’re not going to hang out.
Anxiety makes me stay locked inside my house, even when I’m feeling restless and want to find something exciting to do. It convinces me that I’m safer inside of my room. That I would feel uncomfortable if I decided to go out to a restaurant or a bar, because there would be too many people around to look at me. To judge me.
Anxiety stops me from flirting with anyone I’m interested in, because it makes me overthink until my mind feels raw. It makes me wonder if I’m talking too much or if my face has turned red or if my outfit makes me look unattractive. Instead of having some fun talking to the person I like, it only causes me more stress.
Anxiety even stops me from joining dating apps, because the thought of talking to someone over the phone is enough to make my heart pound. I hate waiting for replies. I hate spending the time between messages wondering if I said something stupid and if the other person is going to hate me for it.
Anxiety makes me nervous to do something as simple as add someone on social media. It convinces me to lurk in group conversations so I can read everything even though I never type anything. It makes me afraid to join in because I don’t want to ruin the fun.
Anxiety stops me from talking to strangers online and at the supermarket. What if I say something wrong? What if they’re rude to me? Or even worse, what if that stranger is a serial killer who is going to hurt me?
Anxiety makes me overthink everything and undervalue myself.
Anxiety makes me feel like I have no friends — because it stops me from interacting with others. It stops me from reaching out to people that I love the most, because I don’t want to get rejected or feel awkward of embarrass myself.
Anxiety makes me feel like I’m all alone, even though I know that’s not the truth.