I never knew why I would want to break plans last minute. I could have had these plans for a few days, weeks, or even months. It really didn’t matter. I would come up with a lame excuse or have a legitimate reason and feel relieved that I could cancel. It wasn’t because I was a recluse but it ran deeper than that. I have anxiety. So when I have plans with others, this is what my internal dialogue looks like:
I can’t go because they are prettier and in better shape than me. Everyone will look at me as the fat friend who let herself go.
I can’t go because they have their lives all together and mine has been a hot mess the last few years.
I can’t go because I’m the outsider and they are so much closer to one another.
I can’t go because they probably talk about me when I go to the restroom.
I can’t go because they are judging me, my choices, and they don’t trust me.
These are excuses that go on repeat leading up to the plans. The thing is, I doubt any of them are true, but I work myself up that my heart races, breathing quickens, and my stomach hurts. So..I cancel. I would rather stay home then put myself in that position..position being the made up lies I have been telling myself.
As a result, it actually makes it worse. I then start to think that they won’t want to be my friends because I always cancel or I’m not a good friend. In reality, I want nothing more than to have that connection, but the anxiety paralysis me, and I just can’t go. It is hard for those who don’t have anxiety to fully understand (or they do understand and my mind is trying to convince me they don’t. It’s a vicious cycle!).
This past week I was invited to go to dinner with some friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. I was thrilled that I got an invite because I had missed them. I was fine until the day of and the above dialogue started to torment me. By that afternoon, I was ready to cancel. I had a legitimate reason that I could, but I knew the real reason was because of my anxiety. I had a choice to make. Either I let my anxiety win or step out through my anxiety. I chose to step through.
Stepping through my anxiety gave me a fun and entertaining night to say the least. Not once did those negative thoughts creep into my mind. I embraced the friendships I had with those ladies and allowed myself to have some fun and reconnect. Reconnect with those I love dearly and with myself. I was no longer going to give my anxiety the power to prevent me from having connection with others. I desired to feel connected, and friendship provides a beautiful relationship that helps a person thrive.
If you have anxiety and yearn to feel connected again, I encourage you to step out through that anxiety and seize the moment. You may not always be able to, but the moments you do will be incredibly worth it!