I Keep Canceling Plans Because My Anxiety Convinces Me To Stay Home

A girl with anxiety
Unsplash / Lauren Roberts

I worry about plans weeks in advance. My brain runs through every possible scenario (at least, every bad scenario) and convinces me that I am going to have a horrible time.

I will have trouble sleeping. I will lose my appetite. I will suffer from stomachaches and headaches — all because there is something marked on my calendar.

It might not even be a dreaded event, like an interview or a dentist appointment. Nine out of ten times, it something I should be excited about. A party. A holiday. A get together with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Even though a part of me wants to socialize, a bigger part of me wants to come up with any excuse to get out of going.

That is why I have a nasty habit of canceling plans at the last second.

Canceling plans gives me a wave of relief, because I no longer have to worry about getting dressed, driving down the highway, and suffering through hours of social interaction. I can stay in bed instead. I can stay in my comfort zone instead.

Like John Mulaney has said: “In terms of instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.” 

Unfortunately, that relief only lasts for a little while. Until I get bored. Until I wonder if I made a mistake. Until I start seeing my friends post videos and photos of their fun night out and hope they don’t hate me for canceling.

Then my anxiety appears for an entirely new reason. I start wondering whether my friends are going to stop talking to me. I wonder whether they are going to stop inviting me out because I always do this, I always tell them I’ll be there and then decide against going at the last second.

I hope they understand, but how could they when I never tell them the whole truth? I never mention my anxiety. When I cancel plans, I tell them I have to work. I tell them I have a family obligation. I tell them I have no money left in the bank to spend. I lie through my teeth.

Even though isolating myself makes me feel more comfortable, it also makes me hate myself. The entire time I’m home, I think about how much fun I could have had if my anxiety wasn’t trapping me inside of my bedroom.

I hate my anxiety, because a good chunk of my life is spent wishing I had something to do. But then, when someone actually asks me to do something, I get scared and back out at the last second.

I wish I had the strength to put myself out there. I wish I had the courage to show up at parties, even when I barely knew anyone who was going to be there. I wish I had the social skills to strike up a conversation with someone I hardly knew.

I wish it was easier for me to make friends. I wish it was easier for me to fit into groups. I wish it was easier for me to handle social situations as a whole.

I wish my anxiety didn’t hold me back like this. TC mark

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