My anxiety makes me turn down party invitations and tempts me to call in sick from work, because I have a bad feeling. Because, for no reason at all, I have a hunch that something horrible will happen if I decide to go.
My anxiety makes me hide in my own house whenever I hear a knock at the door, because I don’t want to talk to the salesman on the other side. So I crawl into a corner away from the windows, I keep the doors locked, I keep my voice low until the stranger gets the hint and walks away. Until I can breathe again.
My anxiety makes me double check everything, just to be sure. I double check my work schedule to see what time I should show up, I double check concert tickets to make sure I know the right date, I double check the fire alarms to make sure they’re working properly.
My anxiety makes me open up my bag to see if my license and keys are still inside, even though I just looked and saw that I have everything I need. But that doesn’t make a difference. I have to check again and again. Just to be safe.
My anxiety makes me zone out and miss what people are saying to me, because I’m too busy focusing on whether I’m making enough eye contact with them and whether I’m nodding to much. I’m too busy planning what I should say in response.
My anxiety makes me look down at my phone screen and pretend to type to the friends I wish I had. It has caused me to develop an unhealthy attachment to my phone. Whenever I’m by myself in public, I pretend that I’m busy texting to feel a little less awkward, to feel a little more at ease.
My anxiety makes me repeat the words I’m about to say in my head over and over before I approach someone, it makes me write down a script of what I should say during a phone call, it makes me reread the emails I wrote ten times before sending.
My anxiety makes me fill up my car with gas before the tank gets anywhere close to empty, because I have a fear of running out of gas and getting stranded on a deserted road in the middle of the night. It makes me drive the speed limit and wear my seatbelt — not because I want to stay safe. Because I’m terrified of a cop pulling me over. I’m terrified of authority.
My anxiety makes me avoid stores where I know the workers will walk up to me and ask me questions, where I know they’ll try to sell me something. And it makes me avoid restaurants where I know people my age work, where I know I’ll run into someone who recognizes me.
My anxiety makes me do the dumbest things. It makes me forget how smart I am, how strong I am. It makes me feel like a complete idiot.