Sometimes, you may feel unable to do the same things as all of your peers because of your mental health. This has happened to me countless times. In fact, I don’t think I’ve participated fully with anything my friends have invited me to for the best part of the last year. Whether it involves eating out, drinking or being social – chances are there’s going to be a reason why ‘I can’t do it’.
You see, there are so many things that I find difficult due to my mental health conditions. Anorexia makes the prospect of eating anything that isn’t part of my ‘usual routine’ terrifying. Antidepressants mean alcohol probably isn’t in my best interests either. Social anxiety makes any form of social event and travelling on public transport a nightmare. And quite frankly, depression just means I can’t muster up the motivation to do any of these things in the first place!
The problem is I feel so incredibly guilty for declining every single invitation I receive. I’ve built a reputation for myself as being ‘the recluse’. Whenever my friends ask me anywhere, they likely know the answer before I even have to say a word. It must be frustrating for them, always willing me to come to their birthday event or whatever it is and being repeatedly rejected. I feel like a ‘bad friend’ and I would hate for any of them to think I don’t appreciate them or just don’t care enough to take the time to see them.
Not only them, but I often feel as though I’ve let myself down too. I get that initial flood or relief when saying ‘no’ because I know I won’t have to face up to my anxiety, but it is quickly overshadowed by disappointment. Why couldn’t I have been stronger? Why can’t I just be normal?! The disappointment then turns into jealousy the next day, when I log onto social media to find pictures from the previous evening of all of my friends having a great time together. You convince yourself that they don’t even need you around, because they obviously have a perfectly good time without you there.
I wish I wasn’t always the one to say ‘no’ and turn down good opportunities. I wish I could switch the anxiety off every once in a while and just enjoy being a young adult, like I’m supposed to. And I hope my friends know that I appreciate every one of them in my life, even if it seems like I’m not trying.
How about you? Do you often feel like you’re missing out because of your mental health?
Thanks for reading,
– Lisa x