As a person who has general anxiety disorder and depression I find myself apologizing a lot.
“Sorry I’m going to be late, I couldn’t decide what to wear…”
“Sorry, I don’t think I can make it today. I’m having a really bad day…”
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it…”
“Sorry, I’m a hot mess and won’t be coming today…”
I could go on and on with more and more examples. I’ve been thinking about and working on putting myself first, lately. Or trying anyway… I’m finding that I say sorry a lot. If I can’t do something or handle something I immediately apologize. I’m constantly having to explain myself. I’ll be honest there are times where I’ve said that I had a headache… just so I didn’t have to explain my bad day to someone. Do you know how tiring it is to constantly have to explain why you do things the way you do? Do you know how hard it is to put yourself first? Do you know how terrible I feel when I have to cancel on someone? Do you know that there’s a good chance I take your response to me cancelling to heart? Please don’t see this as me being lazy. Please don’t think it’s an excuse because I have something else to do. It’s never an easy decision. I can promise that I have spent hours contemplating my decision and probably shed a tear or two. I’ve also probably changed my mind a hundred times. That process in itself is exhausting.
So much goes into this process. Did I sleep well the night before? Do I know where I’m going? Do I know anyone else going? … the list goes on and on.
Now, I’ve made my decision…I tell you that I’ve spent the morning crying and can’t bring myself to come. Your response is short. It breaks my heart. I apologize over and over again. Now, I feel the weight of my decision 10 times more.
I wish we didn’t have to constantly explain our illness. I wish we didn’t have to feel like we have to apologize for something out of our control. I wish my “I’m having a bad day.” was enough. I wish people didn’t think I used my mental illnesses as an excuse to get out of something. No one wants to be the “flakey” friend who doesn’t always follow through on plans. No one wants to be THAT friend. No one wants to hide what is really going on because they are scared no one will believe them.
I’m pushing myself to stop saying sorry, when I really don’t need to. To stop apologizing for the things I cannot control. To stop worrying when someone doesn’t seem to want to understand. They’ll either get over it or they won’t. And guess what…that’s not your problem. My mom has always told me that I’m the only one who knows how much I can handle. No matter what anyone else tries to tell me.
It’s okay to put yourself first. Scary as hell… but okay.
Try it, you’ll be surprised how good it feels.