anxiety · life · social anxiety

Agony Over Anxiety

I am in sheer agony, the kind where anyone walking past sees a woman sitting on a bench typing away furiously on her phone and thinks nothing serious of it because on the surface I don’t “look” worried or anxious or stuck in inaction because of fear plaguing my whole being. It’s ridiculous how easy it is for me to present myself like this publicly but on the inside, I am falling apart. I hate feeling the quick pitter-patter of my heart rate, a tell-tale sign I am in a state of anxiety.

I doubt anyone will read this directly after I post it, but I long for advice about my dilemma.

I can’t bring myself to approach a single employee in this store to ask where I can turn in my job application. Not only am I scared out of my mind to utter this one question, but I fear what comes after when my application is taken and I know for sure I’m going to be asked some questions on the spot as a quick screening. My mind is a jumbled mess playing out the possible scenarios in my head. There I go again trying to be a bloody fortune teller.

I’m unable to make myself do what I’ve come here to do. Earlier I stood outside the store, pulling out my job application and double checking everything I wrote on it. I drank some water and reapplied my lip balm, out of habit because I worry my voice will come out scratchy and I don’t want my lips to look dry. I tried to envision myself going in and down the escalator to the main store area and making a beeline for the first employee I see and popping the question, “Hi, do you know where I can submit my job application?” I heard my own voice in my own head asking the question. It sounded so clear and calm. But then I went down the escalator. I was scanning the area as it came into view (the further down the escalator took me) to see if I could spot an employee. I saw none through the massive hive of customers going around. Then I did see an employee, but it was like my feet couldn’t move. My instinct was to freeze. By then I was playing pretend by attempting to not let anyone see how nervous I was, and walked down the aisles, feigning interest in the products lining the shelves. Every time an employee happened to pass me, I wanted to say something. Nope. I held my tongue. I find the worst times to find more crap to worry about in this instance, such as being a bother by stopping an employee.

I tell myself handing in an application is no big deal. It’s just a process many people go through or have gone through, including those who currently work in the store. One passing glance I was given by an employee as I stood there, faking interest in their plant and flower displays, left me jarred and afraid people knew about what’s going on in my head and that they were all secretly laughing at me. Once these thoughts start going, I can’t stop assassinating my own personality and giving myself nudging reasons why I should just leave.

Desperation over how much I want and need a job is not enough to push me to do this. Or is it? If I leave now without submitting my application, I will feel like a failure. If I do, I’ll feel better but also feel like I just ran a life-or-death marathon from an interaction that most people can do without breaking a sweat.

The last time I turned in an application in-person, I actually went into a store specifically to ask if they were still hiring and if I could get an application. It was the most nerve wrecking experience. It literally felt like I sweated gallons for the whole block I walked to get there, and even pulling open the store door and walking up to the counter was painful. My body was basically screaming at me for walking to a death sentence. Nonetheless, afterward, when I finally got the application and spent a few minutes at a nearby table filling it out, I was relieved I didn’t die from the anxiety. I was already feeling better and my heart rate was slowing down by then. I even went through an interview and got to try out the job for one day, although I was not hired in the end.

Now I have to do the same thing now that I did then. Why is this so hard? Why do I allow myself to prolong my own agony and not just get it over with so I can move on with my day? For sure, when the anxiety reaches its zenith and I feel as if I will die or collapse on the spot from the interaction that is giving much fear, it feels like an eternity of suffering when really it’s like several seconds of increased anxiety.

I’ve been sitting on this bench for an hour now. I can’t promise that I can do it. I don’t know how things will end for me today.


5 thoughts on “Agony Over Anxiety

  1. If I had the right advice I would give it to you but just know, I know exactly how you feel and it’s the most terrible feeling buy you’re actually brave for even trying and being there that’s a step even if like you said “it feels like a dead sentence” you described social anxiety so perfectly for those who might not understand…. whatever ended up happening just know you’re brave for trying!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the support. I agree that trying is at least an effort on my part. It used to be that in the past I’d beat myself up for the rest of the day if I didn’t go through with something that was giving me a lot of anxiety. But now I’ve let that go. Yeah, I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do today, but the job application gave me a reason to go out in the first place since the weather was semi-pleasant with lots of sunshine and I got light exercise by walking for several blocks.


  2. The best advice I can give you is to take someone with you. It can be under the guise of just being out with them, and at least they’ll be there as a buffer?

    I’ve been through this a million times and eventually, I end up not doing what I want to. The worst part is getting so close only to fall at the final hurdle. Eventually, I realise that I’m going to feel anxious before and after I communicate with someone, but at least the post-action anxiety will come with a teeny sense of accomplishment.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does suck to be so close and fail at the final hurdle. I feel that all the time lately because of the job application. At times I’m able to step out of my thoughts and realize it makes no sense for me to be this scared just to approach someone and hand in my application. But that’s the social anxiety talking. When I’m in the situation of being in the store, it’s like I am so convinced, almost as if it’s a true fact, that someone will bite my head off if I dare to approach him/her for help. It feels like the truth to the point I can’t bring myself to go through with it. I know it’s a weird mentality. My suspicion is it’s how my mind shields me from doing something that gives me anxiety, even by giving me an irrational reason for why I have to avoid it.

      I don’t know if I’ll bring someone with me. Generally I feel embarrassed when a person I know can see me in a state of anxiety.


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