Things I am Unnecessarily Anxious About

This could be a long list.

Phone calls

I hate making phone calls. I hate getting them too, especially when it’s a private number or one I don’t recognise I can’t even call my parents, I have to psych myself up for it and by the time I have they’ve usually gone to bed, which is pretty convenient.

Sometimes I can pretend to be confident, but I have to be somewhere where no one can see or hear me, because I put on a professional, perky voice that sounds *nothing* like me in person, and I’d die of embarrassment if someone who knew me heard.

I say things like “Cool bananas!” and “Brill!” and “Toodlepip!” I’m your weird student teacher from the nineties. I’m your dad when you tried to bring home your first boyfriend.

Voicemails are even worse. If you ever go to check your voicemail and it’s just the beep beep beep of someone hanging up, you can bet it was me. I have never successfully left a voicemail message in my life. They go something like this:

“Hi, it’s Sarah. Oh, you’ll know that, because you have a cellphone har har har. Um, what did I call for again? Gimme a second… oh yeah, I mean, you probably won’t want to because you’ll be busy, but I’ve got this thing Friday, I mean it’s like a boring work thing, but if you wanted to come you can just call me – or txt, just txt me. Please txt me. Ok, gotta go bye!”

Which brings me to: Inviting people to do things. 

NO. Ok, I’m getting slightly better at it, but mainly because I can now do so via txt, and I don’t have to suffer public humiliation if they say no, and if they don’t reply, I can pretend they never got it.

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought to myself: “It’d be great to have a party!” and then I realise I’d have to invite people, probably through a Facebook Event, and all of my friends would be able to see how Not Keen everyone is to hang out with me. There’ll be a couple of ‘yes’es from my best friends, some ‘maybe’s from people who have no intention of actually showing up, and a bunch of No Answers which you know means they’d rather spend the evening picking slugs out the wood pile.

My tactic is usually to show up somewhere and hope someone else I know is already there. In Nelson it’s pretty easy to do.


Saying goodbye

If you manage to actually see people, you then have to say goodbye. There are many ways of saying goodbye. How long have you know them? When will you see them again? Are they your boyfriend or the nextdoor neighbour you hear at 11pm each night hacking his lungs up over his evening cigarette? Do you like each other or is it one of those people from school who you’re friends with Facebook now for the sole reason of comparing your life to their’s and wishing you had a better looking dog?

I can’t stand it. I offer handshakes when the recipient is expecting a hug. I go to kiss people on the cheek and land weirdly close to their mouths and then I spend the whole night convinced they were thinking it was deliberate and I want to marry them.

The other day, I had a young guy come to pick a stereo I’d sold on Trademe. I was pretending to be fine with having a stranger in my house giving me money. As I walked him out, I went to say “Sweet!” or “Cool,” to end the transaction, but I got the two mungled together, and: “Queet!” I announced at him. He glanced at me and scuttled out of the driveway. I went inside and hid under a sofa cushion.


Sending mail

I love making cards and writing letters and sending gifts. But I *hate* posting mail. I am utterly convinced, every time, that I have the wrong postage. It doesn’t matter if it is pre-purchased or if I standing in line at the post office. The other day, I decided to send an awkwardly shaped item to a friend in Wellington. I could have pre-wrapped it, but I had decided, on no grounds whatsoever, that my wrapping would be unacceptable, so I needed to buy a bag. The only bag that would fit the item was a $7.50 metre-long sack. ‘Surely thing is the wrong thing’ I thought to myself as I stuffed my gift inside. ‘Surely they’re going to laugh at me for using this ginormous package, then they’re going to make me change it, but I’ve already written on it, so I’m going to have to charge for it, and I may as well just give up now.’

None of that happened. They helped me fold it down so it’d cost the smallest possible amount, and they charged me the usual exorbitant NZ Post fee, and they sent me on my way.

Now I just have to sit through the next bit – waiting for it to arrive safely at the other end. This is a process I consider to be almost witchcraft, and therefore completely fallible. I am inevitably extremely surprised when something makes it from my fingers to someone else’s. In the meantime, I bite my nails down to the quick and try to remember to buy stamps.


Microwaving food

We never had a microwave when I was growing up. I am still deeply suspicious of them. They make loud noises and all too often they explode my food. I don’t know how they work, and I can never quite get the timing right. Consequently, I stand there stopping the whirly thing every ten seconds and poking whatever is inside. Using the stove is just much more economical.

I am also extremely anxious about eating leftovers,especially anything reheated, because of [next section] and my anxiety about that is compounded by the fact I feel massively guilty every time I waste food. I plan meals ahead very carefully to try and use everything.



Running out of Whittaker’s Chocolate

Ok, you’re totally welcome to laugh at me for this one. The thing is, I’ve been eating a specific type of Whittaker’s chocolate for a very long time, and I sort-of have a psychosomatic addiction to it. It’s well-known that sugar has an effect on the brain. Ask anyone I’ve shared a bed with – they will testify that I can’t go to sleep without chocolate. It’s an actual problem. Stop laughing.


To end: I’m being deliberately self-deprecating here. I am of course painfully aware that myself, and many others living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, have an extremely difficult time, and it’s not a joke. None of these anxieties are unfounded or ridiculous. But sometimes, poking fun at myself helps, especially if I can do so in writing and others can relate and have a laugh too. I hope this post will be taken in the manner in which it was intended.

– WH



3 Replies to “Things I am Unnecessarily Anxious About”

  1. Catherine

    Oh I hate the phone too,its intrusive shrill tone or guilt provoking silence. It’s good to laugh at your own phobias,I laugh a lot.


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