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What My Anxiety Tells Me When I'm Left on 'Message Read'

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“Did I say something?”

“Have I done something wrong?”

“Is he OK?”

“Did something happen to him?”

“Have I upset him?”

“Oh god, I’ve gone and done something to upset him and he never wants to speak to me again.”

In reality, he’s probably left his phone unlocked and forgotten about it, or his phone died in the middle of replying, but tell those rational arguments to my head. While being able to see if someone has read your message can be a blessing, it can definitely be a curse to us anxious individuals. As soon as I’m left on “message read,” my worried brain goes haywire – jumping from scenario to scenario, reading and re-reading the conversation to analyze and scrutinize every single word. Physically and emotionally, it’s exhausting.

When is it appropriate to send a second message? Would I be annoying them? Are they already annoyed? Are they deliberately ignoring me?
These questions plague me, and I find myself watching the time since the message was read tick by, refreshing and re-refreshing, checking my internet connection to make sure I haven’t missed anything. After a few hours, I invariably cave and send another text, usually light-hearted to mask my upset and not to appear needy.

I know that sometimes it can’t be helped, that people read a message and forget to reply; even though I make sure to reply straight away, I can’t expect that of others. I have overly high expectations, and that only leads to me being let down. But what may be hard to understand is my mental turmoil, the panic that makes my mood drop and my feet pace relentlessly when you read and don’t reply. So please, for the sake of my sanity, try and reply wherever possible, and try not to leave me on “message read.”

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Thinkstock photo via lzf

Originally published: June 15, 2017
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