When I have an appointment to schedule, I ask my parents to pick up the phone and make the call for me. I ask them to come to certain stores with me when I’m too nervous to go alone. At family parties, I follow behind them because I don’t want to be left alone to mingle.
Even though I’m supposed to be past the point of relying on my parents, I could not imagine living without them. I still need them more than I’d like to admit.
I do the same thing with my friends. When we meet at a restaurant, I expect them to walk up to the hostess and get us a table. If I need extra ketchup or napkins, I hope they’ll do the talking for me. If we’re hanging out at home, I don’t even want to answer the door when the pizza arrives.
Because of my anxiety, I don’t feel like a functioning adult. I feel like I am fumbling my way through life.
When I was younger, I thought I would have a better handle on my social skills by now. I thought my anxiety was just a phase that I called shyness back then.
I always assumed that, by the time I reached the age I am now, I would be comfortable in conversations. I would be able to make a phone call without rehearsing my words ahead of time. I would be able to walk up to a cashier without my heart thumping hard. I would be able to send a simple text without overthinking until the person finally answered me.
I never thought I’d reach my 20s and still be nervous in crowds. I assumed my worries would naturally go away as I grew older.
Because of my anxiety, I feel like I am falling behind. There are people I went to high school with who are working their dream jobs, dating their dream person, living their dream life. Meanwhile, I am still struggling to leave the house without my hands shaking.
It’s difficult to create the world I have always wanted when interviews make me nervous. First dates make me nervous. Everything makes me nervous.
I never feel like an actual adult, because even when I am working or networking or filling out my taxes, I am only winging it. If I look like I know what I’m doing, it’s because I’ve gotten better at pretending. It’s an act I put on for the public.
From afar, others might think I have it all together, but when I get back home, I will have trouble cooking a meal without burning it. Keeping my room clean without procrastinating. Living an adult life when I still feel like a little kid.
Because of my anxiety, I never feel like I am acting my age. I never feel like I am where I am supposed to be by now.
I feel like everyone else is ahead of me. I feel like my anxiety has been holding me back.