There are times when my anxiety makes me nervous about class presentations and work meetings and interview questions. Even though it sucks to have extra nerves sending my fingers into shaking fits, it makes sense for me to be scared during those moments because those are things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to stand in front of a crowd of people. I don’t want to engage in public speaking. I don’t want to be placed in such stressful situations with my career on the line.
When my anxiety convinces me to stay home from a dentist appointment or class period, at least there is a small sense of relief that comes along with the choice. At least I am saved from doing something I never wanted to do in the first place.
The worst type of anxiety is the kind that keeps me from doing the things I want to do. It’s the kind of anxiety that convinces me to turn down invitations out and first dates and get togethers with friends. It’s the kind of anxiety that drags me away from people I love (or people I want to get to know better).
There isn’t any relief when I cancel plans with friends. Canceling makes me hate myself more. It makes me feel like an outcast. It makes me feel like I am never going to get any better.
Anxiety puts me in the bizarre position of desperately wanting to go somewhere and being deadly afraid of going at the same time. It has forced me into an internal tug-of-war where both sides lose.
I have spent hours listing out the pros and cons of going to concerts and clubs. I always try to figure out my best course of action, but either way, I end up miserable.
If I choose to stay home inside my comfort zone, I will feel like I’m missing out on the fun. I will wonder whether everyone is happier without me. I will kick myself for turning down the opportunity, for being such a socially awkward person who cannot handle a single night of socializing.
Meanwhile, if I choose to gather my courage and go, I will have a horrible time. I will stare at my phone the entire time. I will laugh at the wrong spots in conversation. I will overthink every little thing that happens to me throughout the night. I will assume people are looking at me weird. I will assume they want me to leave. I will eventually escape to the bathroom to calm myself down, but nothing will work, and I will end up leaving early.
My anxiety puts me in lose-lose situations. I will either leave the house and wish I was home or stay home and wish I was out. I can never win. I am never satisfied.
My anxiety sucks, no matter when it hits, but the worst thing it has ever done to me is make me miss out on opportunities I was actually excited about.