When You’re “A Lot”

If asked to describe me, my friends would probably tell you that I am the funny one or the loud one. They might even tell you I always have something to say or am the most sarcastic person they know. While these things are true and I am not in the least bit offended by them, I know that they come with a price, with stipulations, and with fine print.

My stress over communicating and making plans is overwhelming at best and debilitating at most. In my post, What My Anxiety Does to Me (And How It Affects You), I wrote about texting friends:

We won’t get into how long it takes me to write a text to a stranger or an acquaintance. It takes me three hours, at minimum, to write a text asking a close friend to hangout. Usually, I will think about texting someone and actually text them 24 hours later. Not because I forgot, but because I spent that long “perfecting” the text message.

While the above description is only a little over a year old at the time I am writing this, I have grown a lot since then. It no longer takes me three hours. On average, it now takes me about 30-60 minutes. Sometimes, I don’t even think about a text at all before sending it. Yet, like an annoying mosquito, my feelings surrounding the texts I send to friends come back over and over again.

Being in a much better place doesn’t mean I’m in a great place. If you think I’m ever going to be a neuro-typical, or “healed” or “over it,” then I suggest you read my blog and the thousands of others that are written by people suffering with an anxiety issue.

There are multiple different ways I could try to explain my anxiousness over texting to you, but the nuts and bolts of it are quite simple: I am constantly checking myself.

I check, re-check, ask someone else to check, and check myself again. I am always hyper-aware that I am in my lane, I am not being too much, I am not moving too fast, and perhaps most importantly, I am not being that friend.

If asked to describe me, my friends would probably tell you that I am the funny one or the loud one. They might even tell you I always have something to say or am the most sarcastic person they know. While these things are true and I am not in the least bit offended by them, I know that they come with a price, with stipulations, and with fine print.

I would be lying to myself and to you if I said that I was unaware that, frankly,

I am a lot.

This used to be something I was ashamed of, embarrassed by, and would tear up over hearing. Now, however, I look at it in the same way I look at my blonde hair, blue eyes, or pale complexion.

Knowing this in my bones as a fact doesn’t mean I don’t feel poorly about it. Yet, as I get older, I do my best to try and curb who I am. In an effort to not exhaust those around me, I am constantly doing a once-over of my own personality. I am always concerned I am talking too much, laughing too loud, or even just taking up too much space in another person’s life.

These worries apply to old friends and even more heavily to new ones, because anxiety knows no time, place, or structure. (I can guarantee that any friend that reads this will think I’m not talking about them.

I have bad news.

It applies to everyone, every time, at all times.)

Just recently, I felt I had been too much too soon with a new friend, and I was determined to give her as much space as possible. After spending some time together, I spent a large chunk of my evening post-time together and next morning agonizingly reliving every moment, trying to find a crack where I should have left, backed off, retreated, or even just toned down the “Me”.

This thought process was creating its own spiral when I received a text from said friend asking if I was going to return to her space. In an attempt at a joke that was not a real joke, I asked, “Didn’t you have enough of me yesterday?” With two laughing emoji added on for good measure, I sat back, still not moving from where I was. It was only when the reply I received read, “Um… no???” that I moved.

While I would be surprised if friend even remembered this occurrence, the relief felt at something like that is indescribable. It is all encompassing, instantaneous, and the release of a breath you didn’t even know you were holding.

I do not have the expectation that I will cease to check myself, but it is moments like the one detailed above that gives me the power to scream an internal, told ya so, to the doubt that lives within me. It is those moments that gives me the drive to move forward with my life and continue with whatever it was I was doing before it was impeded by something I can only try desperately to control.

At the end of every day, I still live with the belief that I am a lot. I will continue to be a lot. I do not foresee a change in the volume of my voice, the speed at which I talk, or the things that I say anymore than I expect that I will stop doubting myself.

I will continue to be who I am, and with that, I will continue to second guess, take too long to send a text message, be awkward about making plans, and most likely never follow up on a vague invitation to hang out.

But none of that means I have to stop fighting.

None of that will take away the relieving moments of reassurance.

It is those moments that will push me forward, carry me on, and encourage me to keep working at chiseling away the dark cloud that tries to convince me of things that are not nearly as concrete as I believe them to be.

Yeah, maybe I am a lot. Maybe I’m loud, funny, sarcastic, and a bit too muchtoo fast.

But some people like me that way.

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