I am quiet. I keep to myself. I remain inside of my comfort zone.
Even when I want to add something to a conversation, I usually convince myself to fade into the background instead, because I am worried about looking stupid.
I care too much about the way I am perceived. I want people to like me. At least, I don’t want them to hate me. To be annoyed by me. To wish I would go away.
I am terrified of rejection — even the smallest, simplest kind of rejection.
I stop myself from sending the first text in case the other person doesn’t text me back. I refrain from telling jokes in case no one laughs. I avoid asking questions in case I am told no.
I do not even like to invite my closest friends over at the last minute in case they are already busy. The logical part of my brain reminds me that they cannot help their schedule, but my anxiety tells me that they didn’t want to see me anyway, that now they are off the hook.
Whenever a friend is unable to watch a movie with me because they have already seen it or grab dinner because they have to wake up early for work the next morning, it feels like I did something horribly wrong even when it was only bad timing.
My anxiety makes small inconveniences feel like the end of the world. My boss might politely correct a mistake I made, but even if they don’t seem the least bit angry about it, I will implode. I will call myself a failure. I will worry about getting fired. I will jump to the worst case scenario because that is where my thoughts are the most comfortable.
My anxiety makes me nervous about the stupidest things. I am worried about being told the movie I want to see is sold out. I am worried about being cut off after two drinks at a restaurant. I am worried about asking a stranger for the time and having them rush away without giving me an answer.
I am worried about actually leaving my comfort zone and ending up disappointed. I am worried about taking a chance and then regretting it.
Because of my anxiety, I have trouble putting myself out there because I do not want someone to turn me down or look at me the wrong way and make me feel even more useless than I already do.
I know I should learn to care less about what other people think, but their opinions matter to me. Their rolling eyes or sideways glances could shatter my confidence. It could ruin my entire day.
Because of my anxiety, I stay home even when I am itching to step outside. I turn down invitations out even when I am tempted to go. I never speak even when I have something important to say.
Because of my anxiety, I am not as outgoing as I want to be. I do not take as many risks as I should. I am not as happy as I deserve to be.