“It’s not a big deal.”
When someone apologizes for taking so long to text you back, you pretend it’s not a big deal, even though you spend the last three hours staring at your phone and wondering whether you said the wrong thing. When someone asks you to change plans at the last second, you pretend it’s not a big deal, even though you like knowing your schedule ahead of time. You never want to make anyone feel bad. You never want them to know how much you care, so you pretend like everything is fine.
“I’m fine. I’m just tired.”
Some people aren’t shy about pointing out how miserable you look or how quiet you’re being. When they ask if everything is all right, they have the best intentions. They’re only trying to look out for you. But you don’t want to go into detail about how anxious you are. You would rather skip over the entire conversation, which is why you pretend you’re only tired. You tell them you hardly got any sleep last night. You just don’t mention it was the anxiety keeping you up.
“I can’t go out tonight. I already have plans.”
You might lie about working. You might lie about seeing other friends or going to a family dinner. No matter what you end up saying, the truth is that you’ll be spending your busy night huddled in bed with your laptop. You don’t like lying to your friends, but you know they would never accept I’m not really in the mood to leave the house tonight as an answer. They would insist on seeing you. And you don’t want to deal with that kind of pressure.
“I’m so sorry about canceling at the last second — but I’m not feeling well.”
Even if your friends know you have anxiety, it’s hard for them to understand you could have anxiety about seeing them. After all, you love them. You always have a good time with them. Hearing you’re anxious to see them could send the wrong message. It could make it sound like it’s a chore to see them — which is not the case at all. You don’t want them to misunderstand what you’re saying. It’s easier to lie. After all, saying you’re not feeling well is technically true. It’s just not physical. It’s mental.
“I’m not interested, it’s not really my thing.”
You might lie about not wanting to join your friends on stage for karaoke or not wanting to dance at a club. In reality, you don’t actually hate those things as much as you say you do. You’re just nervous to do those things. You wish you could find the courage, but your anxiety makes it difficult to break from your comfort zone.
“There’s something wrong with me.”
You’ve probably said this at one point or another, either to your therapist or a family member or your own reflection, but it’s not the case. You are strong. You are intelligent. You are beautiful. You are valid. You anxiety doesn’t change any of those things.