Meet my friend, Anxiety.

I’m sorry I cancelled last minute.

When I accepted the invite earlier this week I was feeling great. I was so excited. I was comfortable, and my anxiety was well contained.

When I woke up this morning I panicked.

I have nothing to wear. Will they be able to tell I’ve gained weight? What if I slip up and say something weird and make a total jackass of myself? I just can’t handle “uncomfortable” today. I need certainty. I need to stay safe today. I need my pajamas, and my tea, and my Netflix, and my locked door that keeps me safe inside from all the people.

The warm pressure rising from my gut all the way up my neck is making it hard to breathe. Just thinking about being in a crowd of people tonight makes me cringe. My fear is on high alert. Except what am I fearing? I have no idea. Seriously, I don’t know—but it is true fear.

I have to cancel, but if I tell you the real reason you’ll scoff at me. So what can I say? Hmmmm. Sick? No. Tired? Maybe. Plans got miscommunicated with husband and he already had plans. Yes. That’s perfect! Some might say I’m a pathological liar. I claim self-preservation techniques.

Please don’t be disappointed. Next time, I promise—because next time seems so far away and manageable.

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I’m sorry I never answered your phone call.

I tried to answer for the whole 20 seconds it rang. Instead I just stared at your name flashing on the screen of the phone, a million thoughts rushing through my mind.

What could you possibly want from me? If you’re trying to make plans I’m going to say yes, but I can’t promise I’ll actually show up.

If you need something from me I’ll be terrified to tell you ‘no,’ even though I’m barely taking care of myself at the moment.

Are you just wanting a conversation? Oh dear, can I formulate sentences that even make sense right now?

What if you ask me how I’m doing? I’ll be forced to lie and say ‘Great!’ Even though I’m still trying to calm myself from hearing my phone ring. I don’t like the lies. Even my lies make me uncomfortable, so I’ll just ignore you instead. If you need something important you’ll text me. I can take time to organize my thoughts if we text.

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I’m sorry I had to leave your party early. When I showed up I was so excited to see you and everyone else. Congratulations on your engagement, by the way. I’m so happy for you.

It’s just that, well—I wasn’t prepared for quite so many people. I had mentally prepared myself for your family, I had forgotten his family and friends would be there. Making small talk is so hard for me—especially with strangers.

There were so many people, as the crowd began to thicken I could feel that familiar warm pressure beginning to rise from my gut to my neck. Mouth dry, sweaty hands, and I was having a hard time catching my breath.

The more conversations I had to participate in the more my thoughts raced. Trying to hear them over my own thoughts  grew more challenging by the minute.

I had to get out of there.

I’m sorry I missed such a momentous occasion in your life. Again, congratulations!

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I look around the room and I’m so content being alone. I can feel my shoulders untightening the longer I sit here.

I sip my warm tea, curl my legs up, and find a good series on Netflix. I can shut my mind off now. I can let my anxiety cool off to a low simmer. No questions for me. No demands of me. No smiling for me.

The doorbell rings…

For the LOVE—call before you come over.

I’ll pretend I’m not home.

The lights and TV are on.

Shit.

(Opens door.)

HEY! What an awesome surprise!! The house is a mess, but come on in… let chat! It’s so good to see you….

Depression Sucks.

I don’t want to talk.

I need rest.

I need silence.

The thoughts in my mind are overwhelming. They won’t stop. My life is a constant battle of outside voices competing with internal thoughts. It’s too much.

I don’t know how, but I need rest.

I’m lonely, but I can’t silence the storm of thoughts in my mind when another voice is in my ear; so I shut everyone out and feel relieved when they finally walk away.

I don’t mean to hurt feelings, but I need silence.

I don’t want anyone around because the tension that radiates from their discomfort with silence is even worse than being forced to talk.

I know they mean well, but I need rest.

I don’t need to lay down in the sense that it’s been a long day. I need to disappear for a while in the sense that it could be fatal if I don’t.

I need silence.

I need rest.

I don’t want to cater to your emotional demands at this time. If there’s ever been a time I need to be selfish it is right now. I cannot heal if I’m constantly juggling how my illnesses are affecting you.

I need someone who doesn’t take control.

I need someone who listens without reacting.

I need someone who is comfortable to sit in silence, because I’m going to stay quiet for a long time. It would be nice to have a presence with me, but it will take a very special soul to keep me at ease.

I need someone who will let me be me. The broken, doubting, overwhelmed, depressed, sometimes angry me. I need someone strong enough to let go of the control that causes them to tell me I’m great and perfect and wrong to believe I’m anything less than magnificent. I need someone that will let me be me in my worst form, because that is the foundation of my healing.

Once I feel safe to step outside the numbest areas of my conscious, I will start processing my overwhelming thoughts one by one. I will keep what is good, and evict what is bad. I cannot be led in this process, and I cannot answer the questions that may arise. You must allow me to lead, and at my own pace. These thoughts will be ugly, and terrifying, and disturbing, and as close to demonic as one will ever get without actually stepping foot through the gates of Hell. I need someone who can listen without reacting, because the second you react is the instantaneous moment I will no longer consider you safe.

I know I’ve hurt your feelings, and for that I am sorry. I know you’ve meant well by the band-aids you’ve offered, but the infection is just too deep to be covered. I know you want to walk this road for me, but I must go it alone. I only need to know that if I get scared I can scream and you will hear me. I need reassurance that I will make it–not how I will make it–but that you’re confident I will find a way. My own way.

 

Love.