I’m Sorry I’m So Neurotic


I once took the Big Five personality test as part of a psychology class in college and learned that I rank very high in neuroticism. My friend peeked over at my paper to see my results and her eyes widened in shock. “Neurotic? You?” she asked incredulously, and I almost laughed until I realized she wasn’t joking but actually thought I was a normal, mentally stable young adult and not a jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings I could hardly separate from one another. Like I hadn’t stayed up all night the day before because I couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened if I would have told my friend the truth — that I wasn’t busy, I just really didn’t want to hang out with her — and the guilt was driving me crazy, and I kept trying to force myself to go to sleep anyway but instead I stayed up all night staring at my alarm clock as the hours crept toward the morning. Or like I didn’t have a terrible habit of biting on my lip every time I felt anxious, but the problem was I was always anxious, so sometimes my lips started bleeding in the middle of class and I’d have to wear dark lipsticks to cover up the discoloration from where I’d torn the skin away with my teeth. Or how I used to fidget so much that one time my teacher stopped talking in the middle of a lesson just to stare at the way I shuffled my feet frantically under my desk because I was so nervous about a test that everything inside me felt like it was snapping like Pop Rocks. Or like how I had this terrible obsession with thinking I was always guilty of something, and I’d find myself saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” so many times a day that it made other people start to feel guilty, too, and they’d have to ask me to stop before they started feeling too uncomfortable. Like how I reread every text he sent me ten, twenty times just to make sure I understood all the subtexts, and then sometimes I’d screenshot them and send the photos to my friends so they could tell me their interpretations, too. Or how every time I got close to someone I couldn’t stop thinking something was wrong, and I kept overanalyzing every situation and asking, “Are we okay? Are you sure? Do you promise?” and then my sense of guilt would set in and I would start apologizing profusely — “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m so neurotic” — and they would stare at me, stunned, because it never occurred to any of them that there was something wrong with anything at all — except for maybe me.