Breaking the Habit.

I cancelled plans I’d made today, and it’s not the first time I’ve done it.

The struggle is real.

I tend to do it. I hate to type this, but if I’m 100% honest, I do it often.

I’m that guy.

And it’s a personality trait I am not proud of.

Sometimes, my anxiety will just not allow me to follow through with plans I have made or agreed to. It might even cause me to avoid making plans in the first place by making up silly excuses. And it’s hard because it makes me seem unreliable (because I am) and flakey (because I am) and as though I may be hiding something (because I am).

I don’t want to be suspicious and untrustworthy. But anxiety and depression just don’t let me be who I want to be. Anxiety decides that today, I am going into hiding.

It doesn’t even let me be honest about it. Anxiety opens my email and types things like “I’ve been up all night sick” even when I’m perfectly well. It hides my phone under a pillow when a family member is calling me to confirm our plans, even though I’m totally capable of answering it. It texts my friends “Oh I didn’t get this text until it was too late!” hours after I’ve read and ignored the message.

Anxiety is the reason I am sitting in my bed today, instead of volunteering at a local shelter the way I promised. I picked up my phone, opened my Gmail, and wrote the director that I had hurt my back and wasn’t able to help out after all. I have many other opportunities to volunteer my time, but that’s not the point. Anxiety took the wheel, yet again, and stopped me from following through. I didn’t write that email, anxiety did.

I feel like I’m not taking responsibility for my actions today. But sometimes it really doesn’t feel like it’s me who’s ultimately in charge of what I do. I feel like anxiety strips away the say I have in my own life. It makes decisions for me, and I don’t even know it’s happening. Sometimes it happens so fast that I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

Trust me, I do not want to be the flakey friend. I want to make plans, and follow through with them. I want to go about my day like a normal person does. I want to get up, do stuff, see people, achieve things. I want to come home after a day of participating in life and make dinner, tackle a chore, work in my yard.

I don’t do that kind of stuff too often.

I spend a lot of time hiding in my bed after cancelling plans, and going over feelings of disappointment in myself over and over. I wonder to myself how anyone could believe my paltry excuses, especially those who’ve had to listen to them more than once. People must see right though me, and think I don’t give a fuck about anything or anyone. That I’m selfish. Who in their right mind would want to spend time with me? It’s the same old story when it comes to me.

I wish there was a way I could gain more control over myself. Some way I could break the cycle. I haven’t discovered how, not yet. And I know this is a problem many people with panic/anxiety/depression disorders function. I’ve seen it and I’ve been on the receiving end.

Is there hope for us?

I’m hoping this is something I can figure out with my therapist, who I am seeing tomorrow. I hope she can help me disengage that anxious, depressive knee-jerk reaction to run away and hide from being a part of the world. My response is only making things worse – and I can’t even imagine how hard it will make it for me to eventually return to work in a few weeks. It’s like a bad habit I need to deal with once and for all.

My bed is soft and cozy, warm and safe. But it’s not where I belong – not every day.

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