A Voicemail From Anxiety

If anxiety had a'd be a seriously annoying one.

Thank you for your call, unfortunately, I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Leave your message after the tone.

OK. OK. I’m at voicemail number 249872945723049 — this is getting silly. I’ve been trying to get through for f***king weeks!

You know how I get; I can’t help but feel that you don’t want me around, is that true? Why wouldn’t you want me around? Was it something I said? Or did? Don’t say you’re “fine” or I swear to god…

You know I can’t stand not knowing what’s up.

If you would just answer the phone, we could work through this. We’re a team, well at least I thought we were. We’ve always worked together. I’ve been through it all with you. When you were 13, you know when you had to make that speech and people laughed at your red face. I was there. Or when that guy you liked came up to you (Jack, I think his name was) and you didn’t know how to act and people laughed? I was there. Or how about that time you had to make that big presentation at work, you couldn’t stop thinking about everyone else, and you got dizzy and forgot your words? Yep, I was there too. So why now, why are you blocking me out?

Let me be clear: you know what I’m capable of. You don’t want to mess with me. I’ll just keep getting louder and louder. We’re meant to be together. That’s why you created me. To help you. Remember?

When you brought me into your life, you wanted some help, a way to cope or a signal to avoid the same pain or embarrassment. I wanted to help you avoid the pain. The pain of people laughing at you. Or the pain of feeling embarrassed and blushing. So whenever a presentation came up, or whenever you’ve been the “new student” in the 7 schools you went to or on your first day meeting everyone and introducing yourself, all of those situations… I gave you those little butterflies in your stomach, I helped you lose weight and make the hunger go away, and I helped replay those scenes over in your head so that you’d know to avoid those situations. I even gave you that dizzy feeling when you didn’t listen! That was a cracker. Ahh memories.

But you know that’s because I knew those opportunities weren’t good for you. No need to put yourself through that pain again. Why would you want to do that?

I’m not gonna lie, I’m starting to worry…I’ve heard along the grapevine that other people are getting rid of their anxiety altogether. Just discarding them as if they were never friends, like they meant nothing. Gosh, can you imagine? I know you wouldn’t do that to me. Right? I mean, you know I’m just helping. But you’d tell me if I wasn’t…wouldn’t you?

Listen, we’ve been through this before, the last time you tried to get rid of me, I just came back even louder and stronger — you can’t just ignore me. You can’t pretend I’m not here. You either want me or you don’t. And if you don’t then at least make your peace with our time together, acknowledge I was here for a reason, and tell me that you’re done. Rip the band-aid off. Give me peace.

It’s simple. OK, I might need some reminding each day, but at least I’ll know.

I don’t want to hurt you but I can’t go on with the silence. I’ll keep calling. You know I won’t get bored with it.

I’ll be here until you die if you want me to, so just tell me, do you want me in your life or not?

Ignoring anxiety is a sure-fire way to keep it around. Take the call, listen to the voicemails – it had a reason to come into your life, but it doesn’t have to be around forever.

The more you push it away and try to ignore it, the worse it gets. Become friends with it, know that it’s well-intentioned and then decide to let it go.

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