My Anxiety Makes Me Question Everything
This piece was written by Holly Riordan, a Thought Catalog contributor.
Anxiety makes me question whether there’s something wrong with me — for being afraid of talking to strangers, for being afraid of looking “stupid,” for being afraid of stepping out from my bedroom door.
I wonder why the group of girls that just walked past me started laughing — even though chances are it wasn’t about me at all. I wonder why some stranger has been staring at me — even if they only glanced.
I question every move the people around me make, because I’m worried that they’re focused on me. That they’re making fun of me. That they hate me.
I even question whether my friends actually like me — even though they’ve proven time and time again they do care. Even though they’re there for me whenever I need them. Even though they haven’t done anything to suggest I mean nothing to them.
But it doesn’t matter if every sign points to the truth, that they’re my genuine, honest to goodness friends. I still question their friendship, because I don’t see my own value.
I don’t see how anyone could enjoy being around me. I don’t see why they would choose to spend time with me when they could be hanging out with someone more fun, more “sane.”
That’s why I always wonder if a group would be having a better time if I wasn’t around. If they’re only being nice to me, because they feel bad for me. If they’re going to talk about me behind my back the second I leave the room.
I can’t stop doubting myself, wondering whether I’m making the wrong moves. I question whether the words I wrote in a text sounded stupid. Whether my stories are too boring. Whether my laugh is too annoying.
Friendships and relationships are difficult for me. If someone asks me out, I question their intentions. I question whether I have what it takes to sit through a dinner without embarrassing myself. I wonder how long I can keep someone interested before scaring them away.
I don’t know how to talk to people. I don’t understand people. Sometimes, I don’t even understand myself.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to socialize. I never know what to say. What to do with my hands. How much to smile. How long to look them in the eyes.
Instead of listening to what someone is telling me, I get distracted by my own thoughts. I focus on what I’m doing — how I’m coming across — instead of what they’re actually saying. I’m busy questioning every gesture I make, every breath I take, because I’m terrified of looking dumb.
But mostly, I question whether I belong on this planet. I question whether I have a purpose, if I mean anything to anyone. If there’s a reason for me to keep on existing.
Anxiety makes me question everything — especially myself.
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