1."Good morning!"– I hope none of the awful things I've imagined will happen today.
2. "I'm fine, thanks." – I'm actually freaking out quite a bit but hoping to hide it.
3. "Work is crazy at the moment." – I hope I don't end up having a panic attack in the toilets.
4. "I'm just making a plan for the day." – I'm running through endless variations of the day in my head so I can predict everything that could possibly go wrong.
5. "Sure, I can come for a drink later." – I know you're just inviting me out of pity.
6. "Can I get you a coffee?" – I once offered you a coffee so now I have to do it until the end of time in case you end up hating me for not doing it.
7. "Good weather we're having at the moment." – You couldn't think of anything better than weather, brain? *slow hand clap*
8. "The boss wants to have a chat with me." – This is it. The end is nigh.
9. "I wonder what she wants?" – I must be in trouble.
10. "Hope she's not going to fire me! Ha ha." – She's definitely going to fire me.
11. "I've just taken on a new project." – I'm not sure how I'll manage to fit in this extra work but I was worried it would look bad if I said no.
12. "I'm sure everything will go well." – I'm sure everything will go wrong.
13. "I don't think I'll make it tonight I'm afraid, something's come up." – Nothing's come up, I just can't face it.
14. "OK, I'll come for one drink." – My fear of annoying you is stronger than my general fear of everything.
15. "I think I left the oven on." – I definitely left the oven on, and my house has burned down, and now I'm homeless.
16. "I'm sorry I'm late." – I had to go home and check I turned the oven off.
17. "I'm sorry I'm late." – I actually arrived a while ago, but I've been trying to psych myself up to come in.
18. "I'm sorry I'm late." – I considered cancelling until the very last minute, then had to rush.
19. "I'm a little bit tired." – I'm exhausted, because dealing with constant waves of panic is hard work.
20. "I'm a tiny bit stressed." – I feel like there's a loud scream constantly trapped in my throat, everything is awful, and my stomach's churning.
21. "Exam" – Opportunity to fuck my life up on a grand scale.
22. "Job interview" – Opportunity to fuck my life up on a grand scale, and look like an idiot while I'm doing it.
23. "Date" – Opportunity to ruin any hopes I had of not dying alone.
24. "Public speaking." – LOL nope.
25. "I can probably go, but can I let you know nearer the time?" – I know my lack of commitment pisses you off, but I have no idea how I'll feel next week.
26. "Don't worry, it's fine." – It's not fine at all and I'm cross, but I can't face having a confrontation.
27. "Don't worry, it's fine!" – It really is fine, but I'm worried you think I'm cross.
28. "Yeah, things are going pretty well at the moment." – Everything seems like it's going OK, but one wrong move and I could lose it all.
29. "Withheld number." – Terrifying nightmare scenario.
30. "I'm on my way to the hairdresser." – I'm on my way to get a terrible haircut that people will mock me about for life.
31. "You like it? Thanks, I just had it done." – Why are you mocking my haircut?
32. "Facebook" – A haunted mirror that only shows lives that are better than mine.
33. "Twitter" – A place where I feel I have nothing funny or meaningful to say.
34. "Instagram" – You're-not-cute-and-even-your-dinner-looks-ugly.com
35. "I think this freckle on my arm is new." – I'm going to die.
36. "Does this bump on my leg look normal to you?" – I'm going to die.
37. "I've got a headache." – I'm definitely going to die.
38. "Home" – A place I love but constantly worry about getting evicted from.
39. "I'm going to bed." – I'm going to lie in the dark mulling over all the things I did wrong today.
40. "I'm going to bed." – I'm going to lie in the dark mulling over all the things that could go wrong tomorrow.
41. "I know my worries aren't rational." – You clearly don't understand me at all.
42. "Yes, you're right, I'm overthinking things." – What other way to think things is there?
43. "OK, I'll try to stop worrying." – If only it were that easy.
If you need information and practical advice on anxiety, you can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am–2pm), if you're in the UK.
You can call the Samaritans for confidential support if you're experiencing feelings of distress or despair on 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline). And you can call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day if you're based in the US.