Coping with Anxiety




On Saturday night I got a text from a friend that read “What are you doing right this moment?” (Which I’m now realizing is kind of a Texas thing to say, but that’s not the point.) Someone who is not me might smile and think, “Yay! Someone wants to hang out.” But no, not me. The moment I got that message my anxiety sirens blared and I went on red alert. My plans to stay in and watch a movie were being messed with and there was a shocking increase of cognitive dissonance. Nevertheless, I told him I was doing homework and that I didn’t like where this was going. (At least I’m honest.)

He was inviting me to go to a concert with him. A free ticket, ride, and quality time with a friend I’ve not seen in a year. I should have jumped out of my seat and into a concert outfit, but I just stared at the message. I like to equate my response to my lack of spontaneity but in reality, the reason I felt nauseas and dizzy was thanks to nobody’s friend, anxiety. My mind was racing with every reason why I shouldn’t go to this show with him, every possible scenario that all inevitably ended with my death. (Irrational, I’m aware.) I sooner than later told him that it was too short notice for me and I’m sorry I was the worst, but that’s really not what I wanted to say. I wanted to say, “Absolutely, what time will you be here?” I’m sure had I gone that I would have loved it and not regretted it one bit, but, I still didn’t go.

I’m so tired of apologizing to people when my anxiety should be apologizing to me. I’m sick and tired of my life being run by somebody who isn’t me. I’m tired of people thinking that I can control my anxiety like you control an unruly child. I’m not a child. I’m a fully capable person who is capable of making decisions and I happen to function differently than you might. I don’t have to justify my actions because they don’t make sense to you.

All this is to say, if you’re misunderstood because your actions don’t fit societal norms, you’re okay. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Everyone moves at their own pace and anxiety affects no two people in the same way. You don’t want to have dinner right now? Cool. You need a nap? Go for it. Take that run. Sing that song. Enjoy your quiet. Coping is nobody’s business but your own.


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