Conversational anxiety

It’s strange how our minds can take a seemingly simple situation and twist it into something that we then perceive to be much more of an issue than it really is.


That’s the problem for many of us suffering with a mental illness. Our minds tend to be incredibly over active at the worst possible times. Think of a hamster running in its wheel. It keeps running and running for hours and hours even though it’s never actually going to get anywhere. That’s a bit how our minds act a lot of the time when they’re trying to make some sort of sense of each of those thoughts or actions that it’s encountered during the day. At night particularly our minds seem to go into overdrive desperately trying to process all that information, which is terribly frustrating when all you really want to do is empty your mind completely.

It’s this over-processing that usually leads to us blowing something incredibly simple out of all proportion.

Say just for example that you were chatting to somebody via WhatsApp one day. You’ve known this person for a while and you consider them to be a good friend. Messages are pinging to and fro, the banter’s flowing nicely and then suddenly the conversation stops.


But wait. You didn’t think the chat had finished. There was still so much more to talk about. Where have they gone?

You stare at your phone’s screen for a while, willing your friend to start typing something. You check the status of the last message you sent to make sure it’s been safely delivered and read. Of course it has. Why wouldn’t it have?

15 minutes pass. Then 30 minutes. Then an hour. Still nothing. You decide to send a quick message just to check everything’s okay. By now your mind has probably started whirring into action, trying to work out what’s happened and over-thinking absolutely everything in miniscule detail. You already regret sending that last message. Does it make you look too clingy or simply concerned?


Why havent they responded? It must be something you’ve done obviously. Perhaps it’s something you said in your last message? Did you say anything that might’ve offended them? Immediately you scroll back through the last 6 weeks of chat. Better to be safe not sorry, right?

Everything seems to be fine. Hmm..

Perhaps it’s something that you DIDN’T do then! Maybe I should’ve offered to do something or responded to a request in a different way than what I did? I’ll just check back over things again, just to make sure..

And so it goes on and on and on.

This is a classic example of over thinking and over processing information needlessly. Completely irrational thinking when your mind is so messed up that it can’t cope.

There could be a multitude of reasons for the conversation stopping so suddenly with no explanation. It doesn’t automatically mean that it’s something you’ve said or done. They might have been busy with something else that was taking up all of their attention. Or perhaps they were driving and legally couldn’t look at their phone? Maybe their phone battery had died and they weren’t currently in a position to recharge it?

I guess with how technology has evolved so quickly we all expect everything to happen in an instant. But it in reality that’s not always possible. Things take time to happen and no amount of over analysing and over thinking is going to change that.

So don’t always assume the worst if you don’t get the response that you were expecting. Sometimes life takes over and decides our short term fate.

It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.

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