I realized this past weekend exactly how great I am at talking myself out of things. No one knows this about me, or so I thought and perhaps that’s still true, but I was faced with the reputation I didn’t know I had. I went to a good friend’s birthday party last Friday. I missed her terribly and didn’t understand how we’d drifted apart or why we didn’t hang out more now that we were reunited. I walked into the party full of apprehension and anxiety. I knew I was the oldest and fattest person there and I also didn’t know anyone but the birthday gal and her girlfriend. But then I saw her face light up when she saw me and most of that melted away. When she took me outside to say hi to her girlfriend, who may be the first person ever to genuinely scream when they saw me, they confessed to taking bets on if I’d show. Yikes!
Anxiety sucks, yo! It controls you and makes you believe you are controlling it. It’s bullshit. It’s inhibiting and life stealing. It sucks your will to live and robs you of your lust for life. It hampers your joy and hides your opportunities. I can personally attest to the fact that anxiety affects how I live and what I do. I choose to willfully ignore it at times and push myself out of my comfort zone (where life actually happens). But I also often turn down invitations or cancel plans due to this anxiety and I had no idea anyone was paying attention. Oops! Yeah, gee, what we do has an impact on others and their opinions of you. Huh? Yeah, it was a bit tough for me to hear, but I am grateful for my friend’s honesty. Knowing that I have this reputation will push me to do better for myself and my friends. I enjoy seeing them so much. Why do I keep myself away?
My anxiety makes me not great company at times, too. I often cannot handle an unexpected guest or sudden interruption. I hate last minute plans or anything last minute really. I need to mentally prepare for things. Like being around people I don’t know or places I’ve never been. You wouldn’t know or understand this unless you also had this same type of anxiety. If you invite me somewhere, it is best to let me know up front who will be there or what I should expect. When invited out with a friend to do something, I expect it to just be me and them. If there are others that I didn’t know about it can put me on edge or worse. I will try to get out of it or leave or talk myself into something else entirely and I don’t like that. I want to be able to just go with the flow. Ugh!
I have seen anxiety turn friends into strangers. I have seen it take over someone’s life and pretty much change their entire personality. Medication helps some, but for others I have seen it only worsen. I don’t know how I got so lucky as to get to where I am now with my own anxieties, but it always takes work and a conscious effort. My first inclination is to hide, run, etc. To turn down what would normally be a good time and instead sit at home and wallow in sadness. I am working very hard to get rid of this mode of being, but shit if it isn’t super hard! Most of the time I genuinely want to go to a party or other gathering or get together, but it either becomes “the big scary thing” or how I’m feeling at the time or on the day of makes me balk and cancel. I hate that. Mostly because I hate when people do it to me and I do my best to not do it to others.
I was doing so well, too. It is almost as though opening myself up to people who are generally quite flaky and frustrate me to no end has lead me to become flakier, too. That sucks! I literally did to a friend what I was pissing and moaning about someone else doing to me over the weekend. Shitty!!! I don’t want to be that person. I need a code word that I can text to someone so that they know that I want to be in touch but just can’t or something. Like, I know I said I would call/text you but I’m just not able to at the moment. Often I just don’t know what to say or I know that once I start I won’t stop. Ugh!
How do you manage your anxiety? What should my code word be? Right now I’m thinking “Shittles” because it’s hilarious, but I’m open to suggestions. What motivates you to try new things when your anxiety is fighting you on it?