Sometimes Anxiety makes me seem like a bitch

It's weird isn't it, a lot of the time one of the biggest causes of anxiety is the fact that people you admire and respect might not value you, might not approve of you or might not even LIKE you. 

And yet, sometimes social anxieties are the very things that are standing in your way of being likeable. Here are some of the ways that Anxiety makes me a shitty friend:

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I'm cancelling again. Soz. 

Yep. If you know me, you've probably had that text from me at some point. I enjoy very few things more than I enjoy kicking back with a friend over a bottle of wine and having a good chat. Spending time with you lot takes me right there to my happy place. It gets me right in the feels. 

Sometimes (a lot of the time) I have to cancel. Why? All of the reasons!

1. Sometimes I am too tired and drained by all my fears to "people". Sometimes work or life or travel has zapped all of the energy out of me and I can't quite work up the get up and go to get up and go meet you. If I've been up worrying until 2am the night before, my bed is going to be calling me pretty early the next day. 

2. Sometimes I'm afraid. Certain things trigger my anxiety: the news, a terror attack, a nervy walk home, political unrest, local crime, a spider... honestly, I can't predict it and it could be anything. It could be as big as a shooting, or as small as someone looking at me "the wrong way", but either way, I'm probably going home to watch Homeland in my yoga pants (NB: Homeland can also be a trigger!)

3. My phone charger might explode. Or my dog might be sick. Or I might have left the tap on. I could just need to rush home because I'm worried my house might be on fire, you might be welcome to come home with me (bring a fire extinguisher and a sick bag) although I probably won't be much company. I might be too worried to include you in my inner worries.

4. I've overthunk it. There's a small chance I've built whatever we're doing up in my head to the point where I can't face it. If we're doing an activity I'm nervous about, or there's a chance we might need to have a difficult conversation, or there is a chance I might run into someone who intimidates me, then I can't always go. To you, spider catching on a crowded plane might be totally chill - to me it's terrifying. Be patient and understanding and I'll probably think of a less daunting solution for us both (puppy catching in an empty bath anyone?!)

There are many reasons I might cancel, but if I've agreed to the plans in the first place then the reason isn't YOU. So don't be sad about it, hopefully next time you'll get me on a good day. (The positive flip side to this is that even if you have to cancel when I'm really excited for something, I am probably going to accept this graciously)

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My mind is a giant sieve. 

If I managed to remember that today was your cats birthday, I'd turn up at your house laden with catnip, cat wine and a mouse shaped birthday cake. I really love celebrating my friends' milestones. I love thinking about cute things to do for you. But no matter how important a date or event is to you (or to me), I might forget all about it. Seriously. Gone. We could be talking about your trip to Peru one evening and the next day - GONE. If I draw my blank face, a gentle reminder is always appreciated. Failing that, please be on Facebook so I can congratulate you on your birthday, your engagement, your promotion and even ask you how your lasagne was. I don't know why an Anxiety brain is a foggy one, but it just is.

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My face is SO SERIOUS. 

Aside from my regular resting bitch face that is. Unless we're literally mid conversation, I'm probably going to look a bit like that cute but angry Grumpy Cat meme. You think: God, she really isn't enjoying my company - she looks royally PISSED OFF. I think: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMFG HAS THAT MAN IN THE GREY GOAT GOT A GUN?! Look, as we've established... the fact I made it past the myriad of obstacles without cancelling to come see you in the first place means I enjoy your company. It's so much hard work meeting up with people, I definitely wouldn't even entertain making plans with you if I didn't want to see you. 

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I'm worried about the worry

If you invite me to a gig or a large event my default response is NO. I love love music. I love gigs. Contrary to everything else I've said, I actually like people. But I'll probably still say no. I'm worried about the fact that I might feel anxious on the day and a) cancel b) ruin it for you by being jumpy or c) have a panic attack in public. I WANT to come with you. 99.9999999% of the time, I'll enjoy it once I'm there... but it's a scary leap to take.

I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry that Anxiety can make me a shitty friend. If I could flip a switch and live without it, I would. 

Sometimes I would love nothing more than to be able to confidently say "YES, I am looking forward to that" and to really truly believe it, but the truth is that I can't.

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Anneli RobertsComment