You might understand why my anxiety makes it hard for me to talk in front of groups or make phone calls to doctors — but you might not understand why my anxiety makes it hard for me to jump into group conversations with friends or why I’ll sometimes cancel plans to see those friends in the first place. You might not understand that you aren’t an exception, even though you love me, even though you treat me right, even though you’ve never done anything to make me second guess myself.
It doesn’t matter who you are or how long we’ve known each other. If you get a text from me, you probably aren’t getting the first version. You’re probably getting a version that was edited for five to ten minutes. And even if it seems like I’m in a laidback, chipper mood, I’m probably freaking out behind the scenes. I’m probably jumping at every notification sound. If it takes you too long to text back, I’m probably worried you hate me. If you use LOL, I’m probably worried you’re fake laughing. If you mention how you want to see me soon, I’m probably worried you’re only saying that to make me feel better about myself.
I’m probably not having an easy time socializing, even if you’re close to me, even if we’re the best of friends, even if you assume my anxiety never appears around you.
My anxiety doesn’t discriminate. It can appear when I’m with my favorite people in the world. It doesn’t mean you stress me out. It doesn’t mean you make me uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean you have done anything wrong.
My anxiety arrives at the strangest times. I might be perfectly fine going to a party with you one day, but the next day I might have trouble bringing myself to answer the phone when you call. I might have trouble following through with plans. I might have trouble being a good friend who keeps promises and always shows up when she’s invited.
Even if you can’t understand why my anxiety sometimes makes me uncomfortable around you, I hope you can understand this: I love you. I care about you. I adore spending time with you. And I hate when my anxiety creates distance between us. I hate when my anxiety convinces me to cancel plans with you at the last second or convinces me to wait hours to answer your texts or convinces me to drop off the face of the planet for weeks at a time. I hate when my anxiety causes me pain, but I really hate when it causes my loved ones pain.
I’m trying my best to stop letting my anxiety get in between me and my friendships. But I want you to know that, if there’s ever a time when I’m not at my best, it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s not because I don’t want you around. It’s because, sometimes, my anxiety makes it hard for me to express how much I care.