Because of my anxiety, I take everything personally.
If a friend takes a little too long to answer a text, I start making assumptions. They don’t want to talk to me. I’m annoying them. They’re ignoring me on purpose. They don’t like me. They hate me.
I dread sending the first text because there is a chance of rejection. Knowing that someone saw my message and decided against answering it makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me feel invisible.
Even if I receive an answer after five short minutes, I will still look too far into details. If the text is short or sounds snippy, then I will worry that I am wasting their time, that they are only answering me to be polite. I will fool myself into thinking I shouldn’t have sent the text in the first place.
It doesn’t matter how long I have been friends with someone. I need constant reassurance that I am loved. Otherwise, I will jump to the worst case scenario. I will assume that I have done something to upset them, that they don’t want me around anymore, that the friendship has ended.
My anxiety makes me overanalyze every situation. It doesn’t matter if someone can’t hang out over the weekend because they have to work late. I won’t believe their excuse. I will convince myself that they are lying and they secretly don’t want to see me.
My anxiety makes me feel like the world is against me. I assume that if something bad can happen, it will happen. It’s hard to be optimistic when I have been through so many awkward moments, when I have embarrassed myself time and time again.
I never know what to say in social situations. I am either too quiet or too loud. I don’t know how to behave like a ‘normal’ person. I don’t know how to make myself fit into crowds.
Since it’s so hard for me to hold a conversation with family members I’ve known for years, let alone with strangers in front of me at the supermarket, I assume that everyone hates me. I assume they are all laughing at me behind my back.
That’s why I have so much trouble when it comes to dating. I never flirt back, because I assume that people are just being nice. Even if it’s clear they are interested, I won’t get my hopes up. I will convince myself that it won’t last long. That as soon as they see the real me, they will realize I am not worth having around and will run the other direction.
My anxiety makes me doubt my self-worth, which leads to doubting everyone around me. When someone compliments me, I don’t believe them. When someone tells me they love me, I don’t believe them. I can’t see how it could be true. I can’t see why they would want anything to do with someone like me.
Because of my anxiety, I struggle to see my value. I only see a million flaws.
By Holly Riordan, February 21st 2018 – originally published: