staring at phone

Post-Text Anxiety Disorder is a very real struggle. And it can affect anyone. Even you. Yes, you.

It’s the full gamut of feelings you experience and the way you act on them when you send a very important text message to a romantic interest and he or she does not respond in what you deem to be a timely fashion.

You may experience PTAD in the moments after sending a text message that addresses any number of things, like asking a girl if she would like to go out with you again after a first date, or if her STD test results have come in yet.

You may be suffering from PTAD if after sending a text message, you:

  • Immediately imagine a worst-case scenario after five minutes elapse without a response. Like that the girl is repelled by the fact that you have become an even brief fixture in her life, or that she has tragically perished.
  • Check your phone every three seconds.
  • Turn your phone off and then back on almost immediately, just to make sure that something crazy didn’t happen to your device that is causing it to not receive texts, despite the fact you’re receiving push notifications just fine.
  • Find yourself weeping quietly about five minutes after you began sobbing, and realize you didn’t notice initially because you were too preoccupied with checking your phone for a response every three seconds.
  • Chastise yourself for being so eager to see a response. Then look at yourself in the mirror and do some scolding. And a little more weeping.
  • Chastise her for having the gall to not be constantly plugged-in to at least one of the devices she owns that can field text messages.
  • Check your email a few times because you want to make sure that she didn’t just decide to answer your text with an email, because sometimes people do that, maybe.
  • Smoke weed to try and calm your nerves, and then panic/freak out even more than you were before, to the point that if she does text you back you’re not going to be able to form so much as a goddamn coherent predicate.
  • Completely lose all patience and send a follow-up text that reads only “?”
  • Send more follow-up texts attempting to clarify what you already wrote as a pretty clear inquiry.
  • Attempt to take a nap to pass the time, but know you’re not going to fall asleep because it’s tough to keep your eyes closed when you’re opening and closing your text messages every three seconds, no matter how soothing that rain sound is that’s coming from your white noise machine.
  • Check Twitter, Facebook, and OkCupid for any sign that the girl is still alive. Then get really upset when you see that she has posted a photo with a detailed caption rife with gratuitous hashtags to Instagram in the time since you sent the text and now, all of which has gone without a response to your inquiry.
  • Decide that this is all a goddamn fool’s errand—that love doesn’t exist and never will and you should just swear off girls forever oh wait is that a vibration I just felt? F**k. It’s just the Weather Channel telling you you’re in a flood zone and should get out of dodge pretty soon. Wonder if the impending natural disaster is factoring into the length of time it’s taking Wendy to respond to your inquiry, which seems pretty trivial, now that you’re fighting Mother Nature for your very existence and all.
  • Start scribbling a list of things Wendy might be doing instead of blocking off the three minutes max that it would take to answer you.
  • Break down your every move prior to your sending the text message. Wonder if you came on way, way too strong, as you are wont to do. Panic when you consider that you may have not waited long enough to text her—that the three-day rule still exists. Wonder why humans have such bizarre and inefficient dating rituals.
  • Take a shower in case she hits you back and wants to go out that night, sorry for the short notice.
  • Completely ruin your phone by checking it while showering and getting water all over it. Drop it in rice and start praying for dry air.
  • Accept that you’re going to be alone forever. Toss your phone in a river, and then go an adopt a cat that you name Bertram Meeks. Settle into a life of abusing food delivery and raising a family of cats.
  • Call her parents’ house to see if they’ve heard from her.

While there is not yet a known surefire cure for Post-Text Anxiety Disorder, the realization that you’re suffering from such a malady can be initially combated by acknowledging your anxiety, and assuring yourself that you’re freaking out nonsensically.