What It Means When Someone With Anxiety Says They're Busy

What It Means When Someone With Anxiety Says They’re Busy

“I’m sorry, but I can’t, I’m busy.”

I’m busy trying to catch my breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. At least that’s what all of the meditation apps tell you to do, rendered in the calming lilt of a barely distinguishable accent. But I haven’t mastered it yet. When my heart is thundering out of my chest, it feels nearly impossible to catch my breath.

I’m busy trying to get out of bed. I woke up at 3 a.m. again, and instead of counting sheep, I counted the bricks in my wall to fall back asleep. I counted all of the things I wish I had said. I counted every last thought in my head. I thought about everything I still need to do. I thought about you. There is always you. Sometimes it takes a lot of strength to get out of bed.

I’m busy trying to silence irrational fears. What if I fall? What if I fail? What if they leave? What if everything I’ve worked so hard for is taken away from me? Something will go right, but then it will go wrong. Sometimes fear sticks around for far too long.

I’m busy trying to recharge. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed chasing after what feels like dreams that are too large. To-do list? Check. New goals set? Check. Fit 25 hours into just one day. Get it done before it’s too late. Squeeze in more friend time, and one more date. Call mom back by 8. And sometimes I’m drained by things so small. It could be anything at all.

I’m busy trying to tell myself I’m doing just fine. That everything in life happens in its own time. That things unfold as they should, and all of these unknowns will work out for my greater good.

I know I said I was too busy to see you the other day. Please understand that sometimes, our ideas of busy might mean different things. And that just because I need to do these things on my own—it doesn’t mean that I don’t still care about you, even more than you know. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Author of Evergreen, a poetry collection that explores personal growth through light and darkness.

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