“Trust me, people aren’t thinking about you the way that you’re thinking about you,” Alexis Rose said in the award-winning Netflix series Schitt’s Creek.
As someone suffering anxiety constantly, this motivating quote hit home in a real way. Her adult brother David is a nervous wreck over taking his driving test, and she explains it this simply: no one is thinking about you the way you’re thinking about you.
Anxiety has this terrible way of convincing us of the worst and overthinking everything. I often spend more time stressing over every detail of my life; I can get so caught up in “they’re going to think this about me” and “this is not what they want me to do,” but the truth is no one cares more about myself than me. I am my biggest critic, just like you your own and David his.
David’s driving test was causing him so much stress and anxiety because he was worried about passing, failing, letting the driving instructor down, or just doing it all wrong. Alexis reminds him he is the toughest on himself, which feels matter-of-fact to her, someone who does not often second-guess herself or question her worth. David fires back that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be him, and he rattles off reasons things are “easier” for Alexis. These are all excuses in David’s mind, though, that he uses as a coping mechanism when things feel hard for him.
It’s easy to be on the outside looking in, and we see this when David tells Alexis her life is so easy. Our anxious minds aren’t going to tell you everyone struggles and it’s hard for us all; we don’t know what battles others are going through, so it’s just easier and more common to assume they just don’t have any.
David puts this new knowledge to the test when he gets in the car with the driving instructor, and he asks how much the guy really cares about David’s driving. Turns out, he was hardly paying attention, he was really longing to make his DJ side gig his career, and no, he didn’t care how well or bad David did and how David presented himself.
We are so afraid to be judged, yet here David realizes that that he was so nervous to impress someone who didn’t even look at him during his test, let alone judge him. From my anxiety-ridden perspective, it’s important to see this dialogue we often hear internally and see how it really plays out.
Moral of the story: don’t be so afraid you start holding yourself back. Your anxiety is only mirroring your biggest fears, not reality, and if you still can’t gain control over your mindset in the most stressful moments, then at least binge Schitt’s Creek for a chuckle (advice from a fan.)