I am a deeply anxious person. That strange sound you hear on the train commuting home from work? It is me absentmindedly humming to myself in a bid to not freak out about how many people's parts are touching my own parts. My whole day can be ruined if I am wearing clothing that doesn't feel EXACTLY right. If I sneeze while walking down the street and a person passing by laughs at a joke that their friend has made, I assume that they are laughing at me for looking dumb while sneezing. Because, you know, logic.
I've definitely gotten better over time. I no longer spend hours analyzing the text tone of the last exchange I had with my best friend (it turns out sometimes "later" really just means "later" and not "I am so, so, so mad at you, and I am not going to tell you why"). I don't necessarily always over-think the next birthday party I have to go to and if everyone will think I am weird there – I mean, it happens, but not at every party. I don't stay up every night replaying the conversation I had with the veggie guy at my grocery store and cringing that the joke I made about endives didn't go over very well.
So yeah, I've got my shit in order – but that doesn't mean I don't still succumb to the odd bout of anxiety that's more awkward than suddenly realizing you are naked and sitting at your desk at work. There are, in fact, some old standbys that that definitely get me every time. Here are 11 ways anxiety makes life ever so slightly more difficult.
You Only Drink Coffee From Starbucks
You want to try new places, but that means having to order a new way, and that is nerve-wracking. What if you say the drink's name wrong? What if they too have a special secret language to denote their sizes? What if the cashier tries to talk to you? TALL SKIM LATTE, I AM YOUR PRISONER.
Your Skin Suffers
You wake up and think you feel zit brewing on your chin. You check it seventeen more times in the next hour and are convinced you see a mild swelling. It couldn't possibly be from all the facial squeezing you've done today. You break out the tweezers, the scrubs, the warm compresses, the facial masks. Your skin screams for sweet release. Verily, none will come this day. Somewhere, a CEO at Sephora laughs in an evil fashion.
You're Anxious About People Knowing You're Anxious
The only thing worse than having anxiety affect every detail of your day is living with the constant, nagging worry that other people are going to find out that anxiety is affecting every part of your day, and that you're always one, tiny departure from your comfort zone away from totally falling apart. You know it's silly, but honestly, just because you've accepted yourself and your awesomely weird brain doesn't mean you feel like explaining it to other people.
But You Still Need People To Cater To Your Anxiety
Look, you know it's unreasonable sometimes. You get that it might take a little more effort from the people in your life to keep you in a comfortable, anxiety-free place. But, ugh, they just need to comply. It's your anxious worries' world, and you're all just living in it.
So Incredibly Fidgety
You think you're being cool and casually making small talk. Everyone else thinks you are sending coded messages to a catcher only you can see. You tap your nose, you cross and uncross your legs, you waggle your chin. You're basically a hot, toe-tapping mess.
You Are Easier To Kidnap
I have walked the same way to get to the train for as long as I've lived in my my neighborhood. I cross the street at the same intersections, and when work is over I leave at the same time and go to the gym where I use the same machines before walking home at exactly the same time in exactly the same way. There is comfort in routine. There is also danger since, you know, if anyone wanted to learn my routine in order to kidnap me I have made it infinitely easier for them.
You're Exceptionally Awkward In New Situations
You call the new person you've met 'bra', you chest bump a random, you can't control the volume of your own voice suddenly, let alone what you're actually saying with it. Welcome to being anxious and meeting new people.
You've Got Cellphone Paranoia
"Okay, I'm going to turn my phone off before the movie starts, I don't want it to ring during the movie." Two minutes later "Did I turn my phone off? I'm just gonna check one more time."
You Have Never Not Run to Catch a Subway
You know full well that if you are at the top of the subway steps you are not going to catch the train that is currently pulling OUT of the station. And yet, here you are, running after it like there will never be another train ever. Good job, weirdo.
Your Friends Don't Go To The Movies With You
You like to get there early. Dare I say, you NEED to get there early. You used to be the kill-joy forcing people to hurry along for fear of missing the previews. Now you're the asshole who lies and tells them the movie starts twenty minutes earlier than it actually does so that you can get there on time. They will not be fooled by your petty antics any longer.
First Dates Are a Special Kind of Hell
You walk in feeling confidence and dope as hell. Then you sit down and discover, to your absolute horror, that you no longer know how to speak. Not only that, but even if you could, you would be screwed because you cannot think of one thing to say or one question to ask. You contemplate your linguine and try not to nervously hum.
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