Here are some things that make me anxious:
Being unexpectedly touched, like when people sit too close on the buses, and their thighs or sleeve touches me, and I have to press my face against the window to escape, but then my skin is touching dirty public transport glass and then I feel unclean, and have to choose between two different sources of panic.
Being stared at, because people are constantly judging me, because why wouldn’t they, it’s because I’m constantly making mistakes, isn’t it? People staring at my scars is worse, especially when their eyes dart back and forth between my thighs, wrists and eyes. People commenting on my scars – strangers – is the worst of all, because just as I thought it would be okay to wear shorts for once, and actually felt confident enough to do this, some nosy stranger has to point out how I have mutilated myself. Not. Necessary. This week the waiter at the cafe I was eating at glimpsed my legs, and said “wow you need to tame your pet”. Thanks. Thank you. Thank you so. very. much.
Being questioned about my decisions.
Being asked why I am studying what I am studying, what sort of job a degree like that would get me, what sort of person would choose two conflicting fields (science / English literature) and what my career aspirations are.
Being told my clothes make me look fat, or people commenting on how much or how little I’ve eaten, or people watching me eat. Body checking. Body comparisons. My Body with a capital B.
People seeing me tapping, because I tap to relieve anxiety… if I’m caught out at it, it only makes the tapping worse. And then it’s easier to notice, and now I’m more anxious and need to tap more and then I have a panic attack. Cool.
People commenting on how fast I type, or how fast I read, or that I work too many jobs, or that I’m super talented, or super busy, or super smart, or super nerdy, or am too stringent with my money, or don’t have enough fun, or can’t have fun because I don’t drink. People suggesting if I had a drink, and that then maybe I wouldn’t be so stressed. I’m not stressed, I’m anxious.
Lists. Even though crossing things off lists is deeply satisfying, I don’t know that the process of list-making is actually helpful.
Dirty sponges. Dirty towels. Dirty sheets. Dirty floors. Dirt in and of itself is actually kind of soothing, but not when it shows up in places it shouldn’t be. Like yeah cool I love to hike and garden, but soil in the kitchen is not okay. Dust. Acne. Acne scars. Ingrown hairs. Scars from picking ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs that refuse to stop growing inwards.
Unexpected knocks. Unexpected phone calls. Unexpected spontaneity. Unexpected loss of control.
Unexpected loud noise – especially sirens.
Anxious human is done now. Bye
*whispers* please don’t go