IBD, mental health, Relationship

Please Don’t Stop Inviting Your Friend with Anxiety

We all have that one friend who is seen as a ‘flake’ – the one who agrees to plans, and then cancels on you, usually last minute, via text with some excuse that seems completely invalid. As a sufferer of a chronic illness and anxiety, I am very often that friend. The more invitations that I have declined, or plans I have cancelled last minute, the less invitations I have received. And I get it. I understand the tendency to not invite me because I seem disinterested. I completely understand that it must be annoying when you’re all ready to go and you receive that text again. I am sure that you are fed up of it. But, please don’t stop inviting me.

I want you to know that I really want to go out and dance until the early hours, go to dinner, meet new people, and go to gigs. When you invite me, and I say yes, full of enthusiasm and excitement, that is genuinely how I feel; I fully intend on attending. But sometimes, in the time building up to the occasion, my anxiety takes over. It tells me things that aren’t true, like ‘nobody really wants you there’, ‘what if you feel ill?’, ‘you won’t enjoy it’, ‘everybody will look at you differently’, and I believe them. I know that these thoughts probably don’t sound logical, but anxiety isn’t logical. Sometimes these overwhelming thoughts, and other times, physical symptoms of my chronic illness, mean that I cancel plans.

I can assure you that your frustration and annoyance, is felt even more so by me. Accompanied by more anxiety, guilt and isolation. I worry that I am letting the people that I love down. I worry that people will see me as unreliable. I worry that I will seem boring. I worry that they will talk about me behind my back. I then worry about the next invitation, for fear that I will have to turn it down and disappoint you, again. I am sorry that my illness makes me seem selfish. I am sorry that it takes up so much of my head-space and time that sometimes there’s less room for you and our plans. But still, please don’t stop inviting me. Even if I decline your invitation, please know how much it means to me.

GC overthinking
Gemma Correll’s illustrations capture what it is like to live with anxiety.

Anxiety can affect anyone. On the whole, I appear a very confident person who is capable of making conversation with any Tom, Dick or Harry. This is true. My anxiety isn’t there every minute of every day. But when it is, understanding goes a really long way. Thank you to my friends who do keep inviting me. Those of you who have stuck around through both the good times and the bad, with patience and understanding.

Don’t give up on your friend who cancels plans last minute. Don’t confirm the overwhelming worries that may be preventing them from coming in the first place. I know how frustrating it is, but please don’t stop inviting your friend with anxiety.





8 thoughts on “Please Don’t Stop Inviting Your Friend with Anxiety”

  1. Yup. That was me today. Due to go to London and had to cancel. I love being invited to random events and I hope that no-one is ‘not’ inviting me. The challenges of my health are mine to manage – don’t worry about me! Just keep inviting me. And, as you say, when I can, I do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your post! As someone with a chronic illness too, this happens to me a lot. 😦 It makes me feel even more isolated. So I really appreciate reading your post.


  3. Thank you for putting ’my’ feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes into words so eloquently.

    Thank you for having the courage to share. It’s such a relief simply to be reminded that I’m not alone, other people are going through the same thing and managing it.

    I have shared your post with my own friends who are getting frustrated with my poor time keeping and ‘flakiness’. It really helped.

    Thanks again and I hope you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for my delayed response, but thank you for your lovely comment. I am glad that you feel I have done these feelings, thoughts and fears justice but I am sorry that you are also going through it. You are never alone. I hope that it has helped your friends to understand somewhat. I hope you are well too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s