• Rachel Paige

What Could Go Wrong?

A couple weeks ago my mom told me she understood my anxiety when I’d told her everything that could go wrong in a drive-thru. My anxiety likes to give me lots of worst-case scenarios, so many that I often get too overwhelmed to even try whatever it is I want to do.

Drive-thrus are a good example of this. I’ve been through two by myself, and only ordered one thing each time because I panicked. So many things could go wrong.

The following is a list of things that could go wrong in a drive-thru. I came up with this entire list in less than 3 minutes. I could come up with more, but I feel like this is enough.

1. Order the wrong thing

2. Be misheard

3. Talk too quietly and have to repeat myself

4. Respond incorrectly, ex. “how are you?” “Thanks, you too.”

5. Pull too far forwards for not forward enough when ordering

6. Be too far from the building to reach the window

7. Be close to the building and hit the window

8. Not have the right amount of cash

9. Take too long to get out said cash

10. Drop said cash on ground

11. Drop change on the ground

12. Drop food on the ground

13. Take too long to drive away

14. Forget to roll the window down

15. Roll the window down too early

16. Get distracted when rolling the window back up and hit another car/lamppost/curb

17. Drop the food on the floor of the car

18. Car breaks down in the drive-thru lane

19. I could get rear-ended in the drive-thru lane

20. Could rear-end someone else in the drive-thru lane

21. It could start raining/snowing

And above all else, any of the above things could lead to employees or other customers laughing at me.

That’s the core of social anxiety, judgement. I want to make it clear that I’m not afraid of any of the things on the list, but I’m terrified of people’s potential reactions. Potential reactions. I realize no one would bat an eye at most of these, but for me the fears are debilitating.

I can’t logic my anxiety away. It doesn’t matter how many times I remind myself that the fears are unreasonable or highly unlikely. I’ll still be terrified, because I don’t control the thoughts my social anxiety gives me.

I control my reactions. I control how I show my fear. I control how I cope. I don’t control the thoughts. Because anxiety is not my reactions, it’s not my actions. Social anxiety is the thoughts, the voice telling me what could go wrong, and that little voice has a whole lot to say.

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