Mental Health & Missing Out

Mental Health & Missing Out

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

9 Comments

  1. October 5, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you so much for your honesty! I can really relate to it – and definitely feel like I’m the one who misses out. Whether that be because of my mental health, or just because I don’t drink, but there definitely is a barrier at times. I’m hoping that this gets easier as I get used to different social settings – but definitely still a challenge. Keep going though, and know you’re not alone!
    Hannah

    • lisa.woodley
      October 5, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Hi Hannah!
      Thank you for your comment. I think the more you push yourself into social situations, it will definitely keep getting easier. It’s important to strike a balance between going out of your comfort zone, but not overwhelming yourself too much. 🙂

  2. September 20, 2017 / 6:27 am

    Hi Lisa! Thank you for sharing and for your honest post. It’s such a shame when mental health makes you miss out on interesting occasions. I am recovered from anorexia so do not mind doing things that involve food but anxiety is the biggest problem for me – I am okay with small groups but anything or anywhere that involves large amounts of people is a big no no. However, it is important to incrementally challenge ourselves to try out new things in such a way that ensures we gradually adapt to these situations and become okay with doing things we previously avoided. Hope you’re having a great week so far! <3

    • lisa.woodley
      September 20, 2017 / 8:03 am

      Hi Maria. 🙂

      I agree. It’s so important that we take small steps to face our anxiety and ease ourselves in to situations that initially cause us great discomfort. I’ve been trying to do this a lot more now that I am back at university! I think patience is key, since I often find myself becoming frustrated that there are still things I feel unable to do, rather than focusing on all of the positive progress I’ve made.

      Thank you for your comment and I hope you too are having a great week!

      – Lisa x

  3. September 14, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    Great post Lisa ☺ I got to a point where I turned from being the night out planner, to the one dropping out. I would agree to social events and instantly start racking my brain to find an excuse that I hadn’t used recently to get out of it, and if I couldn’t I would have a “last minute emergency”. It has cost me so many friendships.

    I hope we can both get to a point where we can agree to nights out with no second thought, and begin to enjoy being sociable once more ☺

    • lisa.woodley
      September 14, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      Thank you! Yes, hopefully we shall get to that point and I’m sure we will! ☺️

      • September 14, 2017 / 7:46 pm

        We will ☺ and we will be stronger, better people from it ☺

  4. September 14, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    I was that person who always said no and I completely get this. I feel like I lost friendships because of my anxiety and depression at school/uni. However, my mental health doesn’t currently affect my life anymore and you’ll get there too!

    Just try to focus on yourself and lose some of that guilt because it isn’t your fault you can’t do certain things sometimes. Do try to push yourself though and expose yourself to daunting situations. Over time it will get easier and once you get to a place where you mental health doesn’t impact you as much either then you will get to do all the things you feel like you’re missing out on now 🙂

    • lisa.woodley
      September 14, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      I’m glad that this post resonated with you and that your mental health no longer gets in the way of your life. I have to remind myself sometimes that my mental illness isn’t a choice and I don’t need to feel guilty for it, but I’m not sure others always understand that. Like you said, small steps to push myself out of my comfort zone and eventually I’ll be able to do a lot more of the things I want to and join in with peers! ☺️

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