By Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
Having anxiety doesn’t make me a bitch — despite what it may seem like. Despite what people may think, and despite the actions that I have to take. Anxiety doesn’t make me mean, or unavailable, or a flake. It just makes me human.
So what if I have to cancel your dinner date? So what if I have to reschedule every event happening this week? So what if I don’t go to concerts anymore or refuse to get on planes? So what if I won’t go to happy hour with you because my hands won’t stop shaking?
So what, if I have to god forbid say ‘no’?
I frequently find myself apologizing for my anxiety. Apologizing profusely when I unintentionally make a mistake in my career or social life. Apologizing for a ‘friend’ breakup, when I should’ve stuck up for myself instead. Apologizing for canceling and rescheduling everything. Apologizing for being me.
I find the majority of my time spent saying sorry. Sorry for this and sorry for that. Sorry for biting my nails until they break and bleed. Sorry for shaking my legs to distract myself from this feeling of impending doom. Sorry for feeling like my heart is lit on fire. Sorry for needing to take deep breaths.
Sorry for being ‘dramatic’ and for wasting your time. Sorry for ruining your day, not that it matters that mine was ruined too.
Sorry for turning you down when I didn’t want to. Sorry for breaking up with you when I didn’t love you. Sorry for not having a better social life. Sorry for asking so many questions. Sorry for not being good enough.
Why the hell am I apologizing for things that I cannot help? Why the hell would anybody apologize for having a chemical imbalance in their brain that they cannot undo? Why the hell would anybody have to apologize for their mental health?
Anxiety doesn’t make me mean. It doesn’t turn me into a monster of a human being. It doesn’t make me a flake or a bad friend. It doesn’t make me a bad daughter or a bad girlfriend. And it doesn’t make me a bad sister. It just makes me HUMAN.
Everyone in this world has their faults. Everyone in this world has their downfalls and their regrets. But having anxiety? That’s not something that I can get rid of. That’s not something that I can physically help.
So, I’m done saying sorry. I’m done being treated like I am the worst person in the world because I have to take care of my mental health before I take care of other people. I’m done having to say sorry to people who don’t understand what I am going through. I’m done apologizing for taking care of me.
So, no. Anxiety doesn’t mean that I’m a bitch or a terrible person. Anxiety isn’t a poison that turns me into a monster. It just means that on some days, I have to say no to people. I have to say no to events and parties. I have to say no to my parents and to my sister and to myself.
I leave you with this question — Since when did saying ‘no’ become such a bad thing? Since when did taking care of your own personal problems label you as an asshole? Since when did having anxiety, turn you into a criminal?