Walking on Eggshells

Leah Nguyen
Leah Nguyen


Watch your step

You may break me.



No sudden movements

I’m very fragile.


I’m very sensitive.


My mother always tells me it’s like walking on eggshells talking to me. She has to be careful what she says and how she says things, or else I get upset and defensive.

“Are you getting your period? Why are you crying? It could be worse.”

I understand she just wants me to toughen up. I like to think that I just listen very well. I pay attention to every word, every breath, every movement you make when you talk to me. It is a curse and a blessing, I suppose. You’ll always know I’m here to listen, but I could be hypersensitive to what you say to me. And the worst part is I can hold on to what you say and think it over a million times and reanalyze every sentence…until I’m running circles in my mind.

I was always one to internalize my feelings. To never share or express how much something bothered me. I would let it fester inside and tear me apart. As I grew older, my mother started to notice it. She encouraged me to talk about things, but there was no way to get her to understand the battles in my mind. She would say she experiences these things all the time, everyone does. So, I would internalize things even more, brush it off and conclude that I was blowing things out of proportion. I was overly dramatic, as my mother would say. 

When I was 14, I started to experience anxiety attacks. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, maybe everyone got them. At 18, my mother finally decided to take me to see a therapist. I spent three months finally expressing how I felt, not to the fullest, but a good amount for someone who did not express themselves much. My therapist concluded I had anxiety and could have depression, but inconclusive until further treatment. Neither severe enough for medication, but more psychotherapy was encouraged. 

After we discovered these findings, my mother understood a little better, but it was difficult for her to really understand. She still thought I was hypersensitive, still thought I was weak. She says it’s all in my control and all my own fault that I feel these things. Which I suppose it is, but I think it goes both ways. 

It’s one thing to listen, but it’s another to comprehend and respond effectively. Please understand that for those of us who may take things to heart a little more or get anxious a little more often just need comfort. Things are chaotic and overwhelming and we need an alleviation from the circles we run in our heads. 

I can try to cope and control my anxiety as best as I can, but it doesn’t help if you test how much I can cope. Don’t tell me that everyone feels this way, don’t tell me that everyone gets anxious. Don’t tell me I’m being dramatic, and please don’t say that it’s like walking on eggshells trying to talk to me. 

And to anyone else who feels like they’re overly dramatic, understand that these are your feelings. Someone else out there understands what anxiety feels like. You’re not crazy. You’re not alone.