For me, dating is an entire world of anxiety. What do I wear? What if he takes me home? What if he kills me? What if I have nothing to say? Do I write notes in my phone for discussion topics? What if I choke and I die while he’s talking about his cute dogs to me?
They will see through you. They will know the difference between your smiles, the tone you use when you’re happy or sad, the way you excuse yourself when you feel like you don’t want to talk.
No matter what the situation is, no matter how uncomfortable I become, I still don’t ask for what I want, because I don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want to make things awkward. I don’t want to end up embarrassing myself somehow.
You feel like you can’t talk or breathe. You can’t think or concentrate about anything other than your fear. You get red or sweaty. This is more than just butterflies in your stomach.
You worry about everything, then you worry about worrying, and it’s a vicious cycle. It makes you feel like you are losing your mind and going insane.
When the professor is looking for someone to answer their question, you pick up your water bottle to drink. You do whatever you can to appear busy, to mentally convince the person in charge not to choose you, because the last thing you want to do is speak in front of that many people.
“Mine was not being able to talk. Literally, I couldn’t voice any thought because depression made me believe my opinions didn’t matter. I forgot what my voice sounded like.” — Jane S.
Gaslighting is behavior that is inherently manipulative. When you are the person who is being gaslighted you question everything about yourself- from your memories and judgments to your own core values. You are thrown off balance and begin to sleepwalk through life. You’re emotionally beaten down.
I’m sorry that my anxiety makes it difficult to make plans with me. I’m sorry that my anxiety stops me from being as open with you as I wish I could be. I’m sorry that my anxiety has put up this invisible barrier between us.
“It’s not a big deal. I forgot about it anyway.” The truth: I’ve replayed everything that happened a good 100 times already, each time thinking of what could have happened differently.