My hands feel cold and my body begins to shake.
My breathing becomes heavy and I’m unable to clear my mind no matter how many times I try.
I fake a smile but begin to cry the second I’m in isolation.
All because I’m so terribly afraid.
I’m afraid of hurting you.
I’m afraid that my anxious mind will make me say or do things that I don’t wish to do – like immediately shut down in the middle of an adventurous day; like make plans with you and cancel at the last minute because I can feel a panic attack brewing inside of me; like give me bad days where I’ll cry and cry and not be able to stop it until my eyes hurt and the tears dry against my skin and I can’t talk about happy things with you because they seem so far away. I’m afraid of hurting you with my problems.
I’m afraid of annoying you.
I’m afraid that this monster inside of me – the one that’s making me think and think and overthink some more, no matter how many times someone tells me that everything is going to be okay – will eventually annoy you. I don’t want it to. The last thing I want to do is make you upset. But here I am, worrying and becoming anxious that me being anxious will eventually make you angry. Annoyed. Irritated. And I can’t stop myself from feeling this way.
I’m afraid of becoming so anxious that you, too, will panic.
I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for anybody. Panicking and having an unprovoked OR provoked anxiety attack are some of the absolute worst feelings in the entire world. I never want to drag you down with me, drag you into the tangled web this mental illness strings each time it rears its ugly head. Please don’t panic. I want you to be okay.
I’m afraid that what my anxiety does to me will make me seem aloof, standoffish, rude.
Sometimes I shut down. Sometimes I clam up and keep quiet. Sometimes I just nod quickly and breathe deeply and make no conversation because I’m desperately trying to give myself a pep talk in my head. Just breathe, it will all be okay. But how could you know that I’m doing that? I don’t expect any of you to be able to read minds. I’m afraid you’ll see me as being rude. Distant. Unfriendly. Withdrawn. But I promise, I’m not. I’m doing everything, everything in my power to make it go away, so I can go back to being myself.
I’m afraid you’ll judge me.
Even though I know you won’t. I know it, deep down in my heart, that you’d never judge me, because you’ve done nothing but help me through all of this. You’ve been nothing but supportive and comforting and there for me since the beginning. But still: here I am, here’s my anxiety, and it’s telling me – despite your wonderful self – that you’ll judge me. That you’ll go to your friends and tell them of my problems, have a few drinks, laugh into the night about how sad it all is. How lame…how unbelievably, absolutely pathetic I am. And thinking these irrational thoughts make my head hurt, and I hate that I can’t stop them sometimes.
But most importantly,
I’m afraid that I’ll scare you away.
My mind is constantly racing with the thoughts that maybe, one day, I’ll become too much for you. My anxious mind, my overthinking, my panic attacks. It’ll all become too overwhelming and you’ll have no choice but to leave, to get the hell out, to think to yourself What the hell am I still doing here? I’m so afraid that you won’t love me anymore, despite what you’ve told me previously, about how none of this changes the way you look at me.
I’m so damn afraid that it will change the way you see me, and for the worst. I’m scared you’ll see me as someone more than just with anxiety: I’m scared that you’ll see me as someone who’s clingy and nervous and panic-stricken and annoying and incompetent of helping herself and making everything okay again. I’m afraid that I’ll drag you down, that you’ll be miserable, and that you will, one day, walk out on me. I’m absolutely terrified of it.
So if I try a little too hard, if I make these obnoxious grand gestures and message you an annoying amount, or if I seem like I’m becoming clingy – I’m sorry. I’m not trying to annoy you. I just can’t handle the thought of you leaving, the thought of my problems making you want to walk away and never, ever look back.
This isn’t necessarily supposed to be a sad blog post. Just another informative one – another musing where I’m simply explaining to the ones I love how my mind works with this little bud of mine; another writing where I’m trying to help you to understand why overthinking is so, so much more than just what the word says: overthinking. It’s another new post where I need to get my feelings out, share my thoughts and tell the ones I care tremendously for how sorry I am for this mental illness taking me over sometimes, and how much I love them with all of my heart.
Friends and readers who feel the same, I am with you, and I love you. Let’s battle this out together.