When you have anxiety, five-minute tasks take twenty minutes. Simple chores deplete all of your energy for the day.
When you have anxiety, you have a bad habit of procrastinating because the things that come easy to everybody else are a struggle for you.
Your friends might get mad at you for ignoring their texts because they don’t realize how long it takes you to come up with the right response — or how scary it is for you to even check your inbox.
Your professors might get mad at you for refusing to participate because they don’t realize how difficult it is for you to raise your hand in class or engage in group projects. They don’t realize how hard it is for you to even show up to their room.
When you have anxiety, the ‘easy’ tasks everyone else takes for granted take you hours to complete. Sometimes, you don’t complete them at all. Sometimes you let your anxiety win.
I cannot make a phone call without twenty minutes of preparation beforehand. I have to write down a script — or at least run my side of the conversation through my head several times — before I can dial the phone. Then I will double check the number. Once. Twice. Three times. When I am finally ready to make the call, there is a fifty-fifty chance I will lose my nerve if the ringing takes too long and hang up. It can take me an entire day to gather the courage to set a hair appointment or cancel a doctor appointment.
The tiniest tasks can take me hours to complete. Even the things that I should technically be excited about, like getting ready to meet up with my friends at a new restaurant, will take a while to prepare for. I will have to search for directions on my GPS ahead of time to make sure I know where I am going. I will have to search the restaurant website for the menu to make sure I know what I am ordering. I will have to ask my friends what they are planning on wearing to make sure I know whether to dress casual or classy.
I want to be the spontaneous friend. The one you can call at the last second and invite out for drinks. But that is never going to be me. I am never ready to leave the house on short notice. I need to know our plans ahead of time. I need to give myself enough time to get into the right mental state to socialize.
I am not good with surprises. I do not like having activities sprung on me at the last second. I am not flexible when it comes to my schedule. I like to know what I am getting myself into so I can prepare myself for what’s to come.
When you have anxiety like me, five-minute tasks take twenty minutes. And that is okay. As long as you are reaching your goals, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you. It only matter that you are trying.
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