It's not something that I can even pretend to control.
I'm the flakey friend with whom everybody gradually grows to hate. You know me — the girl who disappears into herself when the mood demands it. This is what I like to call a "funk," or the overwhelming feelings of just wanting to be alone with my thoughts.
It's an odd concept for most people — people who crave interaction and connection to the world around them. Sometimes I really just want to be alone. Sometimes the idea of human contact consumes me with worry.
It usually starts the evening before, as I attempt to put together an outfit for bowling or drinks or whatever other awesome plans we may have made on a good day when I thought I could handle being social. I should probably wear jeans, I think to myself, and something so simple starts the inevitable spiral into extreme discomfort.
Nothing fits right.
All these clothes are ugly.
Why am I even trying? I am just going to be fat and invisible and uncomfortable the entire time.
I want to fit in.
What if I say the wrong thing? Or even worse, what if I don't know what to say? I am going to make myself look like an idiot.
I could just cancel. Say Oliver is sick. Or that I am not feeling well. My car could break. Like, really. Anything could happen.
But I don't want them to think I am a flake. I always do this.
I am such a terrible friend. I'm an awful human being. I don't even deserve to have friends; I don't deserve a social life. I just disappoint everybody.
I hate myself.
Sometimes I force myself to ignore my anxiety. But most of the time, I just cancel with excuses that people sometimes believe. Or even better, I just disappear without a word. I fail to exist. I am too embarrassed and ashamed to lie with some lame excuse.
I have missed good friends' weddings. I have missed my nieces' birthday parties. I have so often found myself completely isolated, without awkward invitations to do the things that I have to make terrible excuses to miss.
And despite this being my goal, despite the fact this seems to be what I want, I find myself so incredibly unhappy when it actually happens.
Sometimes I wish people just understood what it was like. I wish they wouldn't get so offended by my sporadic temperament. It's not you, I want to tell them, it's me. My brain is constantly scared, constantly controlling me with fear and no matter how hard I try to be different, to think different, it never seems to work.
I do not want to be overwhelmed by my thoughts.
I do not want to be a bad friend/daughter/aunt/fill-in-the-blank.
My anxiety is not a choice; it is not me being rude or inconsiderate. It is not something that I can even pretend to control or thoroughly understand. And if you love me, all that I ask from you is patience, love, and a promise to never give up trying.
Never stop sending me invites or including me or wanting me around. Because that right there is sincerely the most amazing thing you could do for somebody with mental illness.
This article was originally published at Emily Is Fearless. Reprinted with permission from the author.