When your biggest enemy is yourself…and literally everyone around you, all the time.
1. Dreading walking past people sitting around doing nothing.Will they watch me as I walk past? What if they look at me weird because I’m walking incorrectly? Now I’m self conscious about my walk. Now I’m trying too hard to walk normal and my walk looks even weirder. Shit, I’m looking down at my feet. I’m supposed to look straight ahead. Everyone looks straight ahead. But then I won’t see what’s on the floor and I might trip on something. Oh, I tripped a little bit trying to walk correctly. Now they’re definitely watching me. I was probably walking normal in the first place. Now I’m noticing my walk too much and it looks unnatural because I’m not on autopilot anymore. Fuck. I should’ve kept walking the same way I was before. How do I do that, again?
2. Being desperate to please everyone because you’re 99.99999999% sure they’ll talk shit about you if you don’t and if you give them what they want, maybe they won’t talk shit about you anymore because they like that you do nice things for them. But you’re almost positive they’re talking shit about you either way, so you shouldn’t even bother trying to please them but you can’t help it because the very thought of someone you know disliking you enough to badmouth you to others is enough to send you into a neurotic frenzy.
3. Drinking because drinking feels nice and makes you say things more easily. Proceed to use drinks as a crutch at parties so that you absolutely have to get smashed within the first few minutes if you want to be socially functional the whole time. Proceed to regret everything you may or may not have said the night before and consequently have more anxiety after.
4. Saying thank you and sorry all the time. I once apologized to someone because they didn’t realize I was in line and were about to skip me, but then realized I was there and let me go first so I apologized for being in their way even though I was there before them and had nothing to apologize for. Yeah.
5. Being the one who always listens and is never heard because you don’t feel worthy of anyone’s attention and at least this person talking at you is giving you some modicum of attention even though they aren’t actually bothering to hear what you have to say.You have that NPC energy. You don’t speak unless spoken to. So the only people drawn to you are the people looking for someone to talk at, not to.
6. Hating phone calls. Not because the phone call itself is uncomfortable (although it can be), but because you dread the moment where you have to say goodbye because you know it’s going to be awkward and weird, so you try to hold off on saying goodbye for as long as possible so you can gather your thoughts enough to make the goodbye less awkward, but that only makes it so you stop paying attention to what the other person is saying and you do a kind of weird laugh and pray to sweet baby Jesus that the person didn’t ask you a question or say something that would require literally any response other than laughter, and then you say goodbye and it’s so much worse than it could’ve been all because you allowed your anxiety and paranoia to make the situation so much more of an issue than it needed to be. Yeah.
I’m sure there’s more, but I’m super anxious about posting often enough on this new blog, so I’m gonna go ahead and stop here and post before it gets too late because God help me if I don’t post fast enough this site will die before it even gets started and I bought ads and I’m ashamed that I bought ads because I hate ads but I really wanted more people to see this blog so I need to post this now to keep everything going even though ending at six instead of ten is a terrible idea because it’s supposed to be top ten lists and it’s not a top ten list if there’s only six it’s only top six if you have six so it won’t be as good as a top ten because there aren’t as many and what if people with anxiety have so many other things that they would add to this list and you forgot to add it because you were in such a fucking rush like a god damn rube? Yeah.
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Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and a current editorial assistant at Del Rey Books–science fiction, fantasy, and horror imprint of Penguin Random House.