Post-Text Anxiety Disorder is a very real struggle. And it can affect anyone.
It’s the full gamut of feelings you experience and the way you act on them when you send a (ostensibly) very important text message to a romantic interest and he or she does not respond in what you deem to be a timely fashion.
You may experience PTAD in the moments after sending a text message that addresses any number of things, like asking a person if he or she would like to go out with you again after a first date, or if their STD test results have come in yet.
You may be suffering from PTAD if after sending a text message, you…
1. After five minute elapse sans response, you imagine a worst-case scenario—like that the girl is repelled by the fact that you have become an even brief fixture in her life, that she has tragically perished, or is getting her bottom knocked out by Zac Efron.
2. Check your phone every three seconds.
3. Turn your phone off and then back on almost immediately, just to make sure that something crazy didn’t happen to your device that is causing it to not receive texts, despite the fact you’re receiving push notifications just fine.
4. Find yourself weeping quietly, and realize that you have been doing so without noticing your streaming tears for about five minutes, because you were too preoccupied with checking your phone every three seconds.
5. Chastise yourself for being so eager to see a response. Then look at yourself in the mirror and do some scolding. And a little more weeping.
6. Chastise her for having the gall to not be constantly plugged-in to at least one of the devices she owns that can field and send text messages.
7. Check your email a few times because you want to make sure that she didn’t just decide to answer your text with an email, because sometimes people do that, maybe.
8. Smoke weed to try and calm your nerves, and then panic/freak out even more than you were before, to the point that if she does text you back you’re not going to be able to form so much as a coherent predicate.
9. Completely lose all patience and send a follow-up text that reads only “?”
10. Send more follow-up texts that use emoticons to vaguely express your worry, concern and angst.
11. Attempt to take a nap to pass the time, but know you’re not going to fall asleep because it’s tough to keep your eyes closed when you’re opening and closing your text messages every three seconds, no matter how soothing that rain sound is that’s coming from your white noise machine.
12. Check Twitter, Facebook, and OkCupid for any sign that the girl is still alive. Then get really freaked out when you see that she has posted a photo to Instagram that is timestamped AFTER you texted her.
13. Decide that this is all a goddamn fool’s errand—that love doesn’t exist and never will and you should just swear off romantic notions forever and oh wait is that a vibration I just felt? Fuck. It’s just your mom.
14. Start scribbling a list of things this woman might be doing instead of blocking off the three minutes max that it would take to answer you. And sigh despondently after writing “banging Zac Efron.”
15. Break down every move you made prior to your sending the text message. Wonder if you came on way, way too strong, as you are wont to do. Panic when you consider that you may have not waited long enough to text her—that the three-day rule still exists. Wonder why humans have such bizarre and inefficient dating rituals.
16. Take a shower in case she hits you back and wants to go out that night.
17. Completely ruin your phone by checking it while showering and getting water all over it. Drop it in rice and start praying for dry air.
18. Accept that you’re going to be alone forever. Toss your phone in a river, and then go and adopt a cat that you name Bertram Meeks. Settle into a life of happiness and gratification through food delivery and raising a family of cats.
19. Call her parents’ house to see if they’ve heard from her.
20. Actually call her cell phone. And leave a voicemail if she doesn’t pick up.
While there is not yet a known cure for Post-Text Anxiety, the realization that you’re suffering from such a malady can be partially combated by acknowledging your anxiety, and assuring yourself that you’re freaking out nonsensically.