I’m not a bitch. But sometimes, despite my best efforts, I think I come off as one. A bitch, that is.
I can also be unreadable and emotionally distant. I’ve been known to put up walls so ice cold that it could freeze hell over.
I’m the person who won’t respond to your text messages and phone calls for days. If I see you in public, I might even avoid you.
I’m the person you know who is just always “too busy”, the person who waffles on plans and eventually bails.
It’s not me — it’s my anxiety. Let me explain.
I am unreadable and emotionally distant for your benefit, not mine. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Because sometimes I feel if I expressed the thoughts I had — if you really knew what I was thinking — you might run.
This behaviour is my sneaky way of beating you to it. I’ll push you away first, thinking I’ve won, and then realize I’m actually quite lonely.
Like many people with anxiety, sometimes all I can do is curl myself up in an emotional ball and protect myself.
Growing up I was taught that vulnerability is weakness. I always find it difficult to express. I’ve been trying but baby, we’re just not there yet.
I wish I could tell the people in my life just how much I do care. Explain why I didn’t respond to their calls.
It’s not because I don’t care. It’s probably because I’m not doing well. I’m just very good at hiding it.
And I might avoid you — even if I love you.
Yes, I might love you to bits, but if I see you walking into Starbucks and you’ve caught me off guard, I’ll be doing the old “lift the newspaper to cover the face” trick.
For me, it’s just a bad day. I don’t love you any less, or think of you any differently. I am aware how strange it is to duck and roll when you see a friend in public.
I am working on this.
I don’t want to hurt anybody.
And I don’t want to live in a shell.
So how about this: what if I tried to meet you halfway? I’ll pick up the phone and call you. I’ll make plans and keep them. I’ll will try.
But once in a while, every once in a while — forgive me for bailing last minute. Let it slide if I don’t return your text for a couple days. And most importantly, try to remember that it’s me, not you. You’re great.
And when I’ve done something really odd or questionable just try and remember this:
I’m not a bitch, I just have anxiety.