By Holly Riordan
I hate how much trouble I have talking to people. I hate how uncomfortable I feel in social situations. I hate how I constantly feel like I don’t belong.
I hate how long I focus on my mistakes — even if they aren’t major. How long I think about the joke I told that no one laughed at. How long I think about the stupid text I sent that wasn’t interesting enough to earn a response. How long I think about the way I stuttered when I spoke to someone I wanted to impress.
I hate how often I cancel plans. I hate how afraid I am to ask people for their phone numbers or if they’re free to hang out. I hate how I’m always on the sidelines while everyone else is out having fun.
I hate how jealous I get of other people. People that can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. People that are better friends with my friends, even though I’ve known them for longer. People that don’t have a problem answering a phone or chatting with a cashier.
I hate how often I get pissed at people for not understanding my anxiety. At teachers that keep calling on me during class, even though they see how hard it is for me to speak. At ‘friends’ that embarrass me in groups by asking me why I’m so quiet. At strangers that try to hold conversations with me in elevators and buses, and then look disappointed when I only smile and nod.
I hate how dumb I look when I’m put on the spot and can’t figure out what to say. I hate how rude I look when someone tries to talk to me and it’s too hard for me to talk back.
I hate how early in advance I worry about upcoming events. How it makes me physically ill to think about a party or a trip or a hair appointment. I hate how I should be excited, but am terrified instead.
I hate how much time I spend waiting. Waiting for someone to text me first, to prove they care. Waiting for someone to ask me out, so I don’t have to face rejection. Waiting for my anxiety to shrink, so I can actually leave the house.
I hate missing out on things. Not going to a concert I really wanted to see, because I’m too scared to go alone. Not buying the burger I wanted, because I’m too scared to enter the drive-through. Not going to a party, because I’m scared I’ll make a fool of myself.
I hate making excuses to cover up my anxiety. Telling people that I’m not feeling well or that I didn’t get a good night’s sleep, so that they stop questioning why I’m being so unsocial. I hate living a lie.
I hate how often my hands shake. I hate how strong my stomachaches are. I hate how fierce my headaches get. I hate that my anxiety has mental and physical control over me.
I hate how I have to keep reminding myself that I hate my anxiety, not myself. But sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate between the two.