Dear Social Anxiety, Please Back Off

Dear Social Anxiety,

I’m writing to you mainly because I just felt like taking the wheel for a change instead of handing you the keys again. I’m also writing to you because if I tried to speak I would probably choke on the vibrations of my own voice and spit out nonsense like what usually happens when I go about confrontations. You see, you can’t get me like this. You seem to only have control of my brain and my voice, but not my confident fingers gracefully typing you this letter.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Thanks for those butterflies you sent me last night right before I went out with my friends. They were beautiful. So beautiful in fact, that I was speechless for some time. Their endless fluttering in the pit of my stomach worked its way up to my vocal cords causing my voice to flutter with them when I was finally able to move past my speechlessness. They began to tickle me so I laughed and eventually swallowed them and just like that, they were gone. So joke’s on you, because the butterflies beauty didn’t paralyze me like they have in the past and I had a great time last night.

Everyone else thinks you’re so irrational, but I understand you. You’re just afraid. Afraid of embarrassment. Afraid of disappointment. Afraid that the people you care about will walk away so you sit on my shoulder and constantly remind me of my flaws and insecurities because according to you, inducing fear in me will “protect” me, right?

Your methods of “protection” are exhausting. Those feelings of my heart racing and stomach gurgling and shaky hands are absolutely draining. Stop reminding me of conversations I had months ago and please, just once will you let me form a coherent sentence to someone new? Stop making me squeak when I try to speak in front of a group and stop hitting me in the face with panic when I turn the corner and accidently see a familiar face. Let me order in a restaurant without my voice quivering and let me feel comfortable in my own skin. It would even be really great if you would stop sending nausea to me before I leave the house and it would be even greater if you wouldn’t feed my heart so much caffeine.

I love my friends. I love that they are blind to you and want to spend time with me even with the awkward babble that is released from my mouth. Despite all the love and the laughs and the memories with these wonderful people, I still have the burden of you following me around wherever I go. No matter how far I run, you always seem to catch up. I am not lonely, but sometimes I just want to be left alone. I want to feel free of the unnecessary pressure you throw on me. I am intelligent enough to identify who is good for me and who is not, so let me show the people who care and accept me for who I am that the feeling is mutual. There is nothing to be afraid of.

People call me quiet. You know that. You’re a huge part of the reason. I know that being quiet is not a negative personality trait. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but I really don’t like that it’s your fault.

A little overthinking can be a good thing, I guess. It keeps my head on my shoulders and my over-active imagination has enhanced my creativity beyond belief. A loud mind with a quiet voice has taught me to observe and to empathize which I truly cannot be any more thankful for. So I guess you have done some good for me…Although, I still wish you would back off.

Thanks for reading and it was cool to see you last night. I hope you understand my need for space and stay away for a little while, but I’m sure you’ll be back soon enough. I would really like it if you would let me know when you’re coming over, but I know you probably won’t even though you know I don’t like surprise guests. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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