Here’s the thing about me: When people say they need to talk to me, I gracefully brisk walk in the other direction. I run straight into the waiting arms of my permanent companion, my soulmate, my†friend, and fall Ė face first Ė straight into her arms.
Allow me to introduce you to my friend, who has been around for seven years. Her name is†anxiety†and sheís a bit clingy. But then, sheís always there for me. Sheíll show up at the unlikeliest of places Ė while Iím boarding a flight, on a date, in the middle of a family get-together, hell even when Iím reading a book, all by myself. Or on the first day of a new job.
Letís rewind to about three months ago. The auto decides to break down some 10 minutes from the†workplace. Not wanting to get late on Day 1 of work, I decided to walk the distance. What better way to stop your legs from trembling? Itís muggy, the mascara starts running down my face and when I get to work I look like that doll from Childís Play.
The good part is nobody notices me. Who cares about an†intern? The bad part is, every office has a friendly HR person whose life goal is to make people like me uncomfortable. As much as I hate meeting new people, my friend anxiety loves them. So now when I know sheís going to show up, I pretend that I have to make an important call and then pace up and down the corridor. What works in my favour is that Iím a†millennial, so all odd, flaky behaviour is totally acceptable. Fake laughs have become my coping mechanism and I use them more frequently than Uday Chopra tweets when high Ė it helps when you are surrounded by colleagues with a sense of humour.
Thatís the thing with anxiety. You manage to make a complete fool of yourself, every single time.
Of course, there are days when none of my magic tricks work. And I wonder whether I sound smart enough or whether my voice is too nasal. Am I too†short? I start biting my nails like a rat nibbling cheese. And then I look at my friendís pictures on Instagram and wonder why they didnít invite me for the night out. Because they donít like me anymore? Or maybe I am no fun? Or maybe because I have a PhD in ditching people at the last minute. The weird part is, Iím pretty sure Iíd cancel on them even today. Iíd rather be at home in my PJsÖ me, my tanhaai, without any anxiety.
Because being in a room full of people who I think are out there to judge makes me say to myself, ďRun, Forrest, RunĒ. Iíve channelled my inner Forrest before, once when a boy asked me out, and I turned around and sprinted, toppling over a couple of bar stools and stamping on other peopleís toes with my stilettoes, like a modern-day†Cinderella.
Thatís the thing with anxiety. You manage to make a complete fool of yourself, every single time. Iíve passed out at†concerts because I felt so suffocated, so I decided to drink a bit much. Iíve bumped into glass doors, not because Iím clumsy. I blame it on the meds that make me zone out.
Despite this long and abiding friendship, I really really wish anxiety would just curl and die somewhere. All that†therapy†and medication, I wished would make her disappear into thin air. But that Vanishing Spell from Harry Potter just doesnít seem to work. Maybe I am muggle after all. Two weeks is the maximum I thought Iíd take to get through this and look where we are now.
Iím 21 and always†anxious.
Iím waiting for the day I can get through 24 hours without jumping around like those shocked cats everytime someone calls my name. You know how they say a friendship that lasts more than seven years never end? This friendship looks like itís not getting cancelled anytime soon.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius