I have always suffered from anxiety. As far back as I can remember, I was horrified of wanting things and of asking for things and doing things, because what if I didn't get it? What if I hurt someone's feelings? What if they laugh at me? To the point where I was afraid to wake my dad up in the mornings when I was a little kid because I was afraid he'd hate me...even if I was super hungry and incapable of feeding myself.
Every day I struggle to do the most basic of things because I've been afraid my whole life of being laughed at for wanting things. Every day I fight my mind, and most of the time I lose. I'm too afraid of consequences to ever take a risk. It's why I get overlooked for a lot of wonderful opportunities in life, but I don't know how to begin fixing it.
So I guess what I'm getting at here, is that you don't know how hard every "hello" is. You don't know how often I think back to every semi-uncomfortable moment and think to myself "wow...you really screwed that up." I'll probably never be a social butterfly. It takes me forever to warm up to people, and I know it shouldn't because there are so many interesting humans in the world who have so many interesting stories and ideas to share...but I'm so caught up in my own head that I'm never going to experience them.
I live in a world where I'm the running joke all the time. No matter what I do or who I'm with, I spend every second triple checking everything because a voice in my head tells me that every screw up is going to get me made fun of, whether it's to my face or behind my back...
And these thoughts don't leave once I know you better. I've lost friendships with really amazing people because I don't know how to initiate conversations without feeling needy, and we lost touch because of it.
So please, be patient. My brain is moving so fast in a million directions...and sometimes it comes out wrong, and I'll laugh it off, but just know that I'm struggling every day to do what some do in their sleep. There are nights where I can't sleep because my brain plays a mashup of every awkward encounter I've ever had. And it keeps me awake because I worry that no one actually likes me.
I have a reoccurring thought that all of the people I know get together behind my back and talk about all the stupid stuff that I do that day, and laugh about it...and that thought horrifies me.
So, yes, I'm quiet for a while, but it's not because I'm not interested in what's happening. Most of the time I really want to be included, but I'm too scared to try because if I mess up my brain thinks I'll be publicly humiliated. So I usually sit back and listen, because I like knowing stuff, even if I can't always show how much I've learned.
And when I do get into social situations, I often can't hang for as long as others, because I spend so much time and energy calculating what I'm going to do and say, that halfway through I'm mentally exhausted and needing to cool down. There have been so many times that I've had to spend 15 minutes or so in the bathroom at family gatherings to collect myself because there's so much happening at once that it overwhelms me and causes me to panic.
So dear people in the world, I'm sorry for all my mistakes...I know I'm going to make more, but please be patient with me. I'm beating myself up more than enough for the both of us.
The Girl Who's Trying Her Best