Or at least, I hope you consider me a friend (I mean, I consider you a friend), but I’ll honestly never really know. Thanks to a not-so-friendly “friend” living in my head whom I call Anxiety.
Now, he’s (it’s a boy–don’t you know?) not so bad all the time. In a weird way, he can be kind of a blessing–but that’s a topic for another day. You, my dearest Friend, are likely to benefit more from learning about the Anxiety that you can see, the less bless-filled part of the Anxiety, the outward, crazy, clingy side of the little gremlin in my head.
Like when I call you friend…but question whether you would call me one right back.
Like when I ask for the bazillionith time whether you like me or not…because my Anxiety tells me you don’t.
Like when I phish for compliments…to assure that you truly like me like you said and have genuine reasons to be my Friend.
Like when I text you and you don’t text me back…so I stop reaching out, stop communicating altogether.
Like when you show any small sign of ignorance or dismissal in any way… I immediately assume everything you said about liking me and being my Friend is false. That I am bothering you, or have wronged you somehow, and that you no longer like me. Or, in fact, that you never did.
Because that’s what my friend Anxiety tells me. And it’s kind of hard to compete with a friend that never leaves. That’s always in your head.
Let me tell you, Friend, that no matter how many times you assure me you’re my friend, that you like me, that you think I’m AWESOME, that you assure me you saw my message–you were just busy–and I’m momentarily consoled, my Anxiety will always be there to demolish your carefully built (and re-built) reassurance. To push me off of whatever pedestal you managed to place me on. So I can return to where I was–afraid and uncertain and, well, anxious.
And let me tell you, Friend, that it BLEEPIN’ sucks. A lot. My mind is constantly moving in circles moving from assurance to doubt to loneliness and depression and back again. Over and over. No matter how many times I try to combat it, no matter how many times I ask you, dear Friend, for help, my Anxiety just comes back strong, barely beaten. And he never leaves. And to an extent, I’m fine with that, I’m used to it; this is my way of life, all I’ve known for as long as I can remember. As I, again, admit, there is a form of blessing in this annoying, detrimental creature that lingers in my mind. But after years of living in such close proximity, I also admit–I’m tired.
I’m tired of constantly seeking affirmation from you, never being entirely satisfied with or trusting of your answer. I’m tired of confirming your intent with our friendship. I’m tired of worrying about and sometimes having downright panic attacks over seemingly nothing. I’m tired of spending so much time worrying over those nothings, that I can’t focus on the present or remember the past. I’m tired, period.
Because the thing is, despite how I act toward you and I assume you must perceive me based on those actions, I know I’m being irrational. I know I seem clingy or unconfident (not a word, but…) or too “worrisome.” And that’s because, well, I am. Thanks to the continual jabs from Anxiety. I know how my behavior and ways of thinking look. They’re silly, they make no sense. I agree… but I can’t stop it. Even when I try, Anxiety finds a way to appear, seeping into my actions, my behavior toward you. I can’t stop it. Not entirely.
Because like it or not (most days I don’t mind it so much), my Anxiety is a part of me. It is not me, it does not define me–despite how much I may talk about it or act on it–but it is a part of who I am. And has been for the majority of my life. I just wish (and maybe you do, too?) that he would move off center-stage in the play we call life–and wait in the wings for a few acts. Let someone else take the lead for awhile…
But between Anxiety and me, I don’t always get as much say as I’d like. So I guess that’s part of why I have you, Friend. That is, if you call me a friend–I hope you do. I have you to remind me of my worth, to prove to me despite what my head says that we have a genuine relationship, and to help me keep Anxiety in his place… some of the time.
Look, Friend: I know I’m needy, I know I don’t make sense. I know I worry too much about things that don’t really matter. I don’t need you to tell me that. A lot of the time, I’m right there with you, I agree. I don’t need you to get it, to get me (though that is a bonus…); I just need you to be My Friend.
So thank you for that, Friend. And for what you’ve done, what you will do–all of it. Just, thank you.