Anxiety and Me | Teen Ink

Anxiety and Me

December 15, 2021
By gmounce05 BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
gmounce05 BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

This might be an interesting story all by itself. A young girl with social anxiety is forced to go into the DMV alone to get her permit. The pandemic had just ended, so she hasn’t had to deal with much social interaction recently. She is unprepared to face the busy, crowded building. She waits in the snaking line and glances about nervously. If you saw her at that moment, you could tell that she would rather be anywhere else. She looks around and hears the projected, irritated voices of the staff sitting behind their masks and plastic shields. Sometimes she thinks it would be nice to be like everyone else. She wants to feel comfortable being herself in crowds, and to effortlessly hold a conversation in her quiet tone without fear of judgement. But she can’t. So she grows into an individual who shares her story in the third-person, as if that will somehow let her pretend that it’s someone else who ignores new people and long talks because she is afraid.

When you walk into a room, people expect you to be like them. Even your own family. They want you to be loud, make conversation, have unwavering eye contact. “Those skills are what will help you get far in this world”, they say. I separated myself from them because I could never be like them. But they didn’t stop. They told me to speak up. Told me no one would understand if they couldn’t hear me. They were relentless in they’re reminders that I was never good enough. I tried not to show my annoyance on the surface. I pretended to go along when they insisted it would all pay off in the future. Why should I change myself because they said so?

I refused to acknowledge them. I was quiet. I was content. I was an introvert. I didn’t need to be assertive to talk to people. I ignored they’re jokes about not hearing me. My words are not meant for you to hear, I would think to myself. I ignored when people would actively avoid me because I looked unapproachable. I felt disappointed in myself when I would cancel plans to stay in my room for some time alone, but I ignored those feelings too. It’s okay to stay at home some days, I thought. During family gatherings, I would focus on talking to one person at a time and ignore the noisy laughter and overwhelming conversations going on around me. I chose to ignore, because it was the only way to save myself. I am quiet. I am content. I am an introvert. I am trying to be myself.

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