When I cancel plans at the last second because my anxiety makes it too hard for me to get dressed and get out of the house, I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m not trying to insult them. I’m not trying to make them feel like they weren’t good enough for my time. I’m not trying to ruin their day. I’m not trying to be a bitch.
But sometimes, it comes across that way. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what my intentions were because the fact of the matter is I hurt someone I care about deeply.
It’s not like I’m going around advertising my anxiety to my friends and family. It’s not like anyone knows the real reason why I haven’t been around lately is because my mental health has been suffering.
I make excuses in order to hide my anxiety. Some people can see through them, and since they don’t know how much I’ve been struggling, they assume the excuses are a way to avoid them. They assume I’m trying to get out of seeing them because they aren’t important enough to me.
I can’t blame them for being annoyed with me. It takes me ages to answer texts. I rarely follow through on plans. I only leave the house once in a blue moon. In their eyes, it looks like I’m a flake. It looks like I couldn’t care less about keeping in contact with them. It looks like their friendship means nothing to me.
Explaining my anxiety to them might solve everything. It might help them understand why there are moments when I leave events early and bow out of plans at the last second. But it might not help. Even though my anxiety is a valid excuse for my actions, it doesn’t take away the pain those actions caused.
Hurting a friend on accident doesn’t change the fact I hurt them. I still need to apologize. I still need to set things right. I still need to take responsibility for my actions.
I spend so much time thinking about the way my anxiety hurts me — but it also hurts the people I love the most. It makes them think they’re low on my list of priorities. It makes them wonder whether they matter to me, even though they matter more than they will ever realize.
I can’t help that there are going to be days when my anxiety keeps me chained to the house, but on the days when my anxiety isn’t as debilitating, on the days when sending a text doesn’t seem like the end of the world, I have to remember to tell my loved ones how much they mean to me. I have to remember to put effort into the friendships I’m hoping to keep forever. Even though my anxiety makes it hard to socialize, I can’t go too long without reminding the people I love the most how much they mean to me. I have to find a way to get the point across in case they forget.