I want to talk to my crush — but I don’t want to send the first text.
I want to make more friends — but I don’t want to socialize.
I want to dance at bars and buy tickets to concerts and travel through different countries — but I don’t want to leave the house.
There is a long list of things I am dying to accomplish — but my anxiety has been holding me in place. I rarely leave my comfort zone. I play it safe. I stick to my routine.
I keep talking myself out of doing the things I have been daydreaming about doing. I tell myself I will text my friends later in the week, that I will have fun later in the week, that I will actually live my life later in the week. I procrastinate out of fear. And then I hate myself for it, because I am stuck inside the house while everyone else is enjoying their time.
I am never happy. I am either outside, socializing, and wishing I were inside where I felt safe and warm. Or I am inside, lonely, wishing I were outside with other people. It feels like every choice I make is the wrong one.
The problem is my anxiety makes embarrassment an everyday thing. I’m embarrassed to approach cashiers in case my card doesn’t go through. I’m embarrassed to ride buses in case there aren’t any seats left and I’m forced to stand over someone. I’m embarrassed to answer the phone in front of other people in case they get annoyed about how loud I’m being. I’m embarrassed to talk in public, to sneeze in public, to breathe in public.
I am in a constant state of discomfort. I am never secure within my skin, regardless of what I’m wearing or who is standing next to me. My insecurities follow me like storm clouds.
There are moments when I feel like I am never going to get anywhere in life because I have anxiety. I feel like reaching success is impossible. Like finding friends is impossible. Like entering a stable relationship is impossible.
I’m worried my anxiety is going to lead me to lose everyone I care about — my family, my friends, my boyfriends. I’m worried about my unanswered texts and turned down invitations piling up, convincing my loved ones they are better off without me and my negativity. I’m worried they are going to get sick of my worrying.
I have to keep reminding myself that my anxiety is only a fraction of my personality. It is not the only thing people see when they look at me. It is not the only part of me that matters.
Even during the days when leaving bed seems like an impossible task, I have to keep believing my anxiety is only going to hold me back for as long as I let it. I can choose to fight against the urge to stay inside. I can force myself to leave my comfort zone.
It might take a long time. It might require late nights sobbing and a few more canceled plans and appointments with therapists. But I can do it. I refuse to let my anxiety stop me from accomplishing everything my heart dreams of doing.
I am not going to give up on my goals. I am not going to lose my friends. I am not going to let anxiety win.