When I Cancel on You, It's Not Because I Don't Want to Hang Out


I think I’m just going to stay home… but please know it’s not because I don’t want to hang out with you.

It’s because I struggle with severe anxiety. As my friend, I don’t expect you to fully understand. However, I would appreciate it if you support my decision to stay home.

I know we have been planning this for a while now. And I know I kept telling you I wanted to see you when we were both available. Believe me. I still want to see you. Anxiety makes it so I can’t get myself to go out.

I did my hair and makeup. Picked out my favorite shirt. Put on my dark blue jeans. And put on my favorite pair of heels. Now, I’m waiting for you to pick me up.

I try sitting down on my bed. But I can’t. Instead, I’m pacing around my room, picking up every little thing I can find on the ground. I decide to remake my bed. I find myself running my hands along the bedsheets making sure there are no lines or wrinkles. I hear my phone buzz.

It’s you.

You tell me you just have to get ready, and then you will come pick me up — “30 minutes, tops,” you tell me.

I can feel my heart beating. I’m moving around a lot faster now. I’m sweating.

Does my hair look OK? Maybe I should change my shirt. Which shirt should I wear instead? Is this too fancy? Will people think I’m trying too hard? Does this shirt go with these shoes? Maybe I should just put on what I had on before… Hurry he’s going to be here soon.

My stomach is in knots. My heart begins to beat faster than ever. I can’t sit still. I’m no longer hungry. I feel like I’m going to throw up.

Buzz. Buzz. It’s you. You tell me you are leaving in five minutes.

My stomach drops.

I made myself sick worrying about this. I’m no longer hungry. What am I going to do? I can’t go now. I can’t just sit there and not eat. But I have to go. But if I eat, my stomach will get upset. What will he think if I don’t eat? Maybe I’ll just go and order something small. No, that’s embarrassing. I’m just not going to go. But if I cancel, he’s going to be mad at me. I don’t know what to do.

I’m pacing around my living room now. Thoughts are racing through my mind. What do I do?

I pick up my phone. Open the messaging app and start typing…

“Hey. Please don’t be mad at me, but I’m going to have to take a rain check on lunch. I’m really sorry.”

But just know… it’s not because I don’t want to go.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Norman Toth.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Anxiety

Business man hands holding newspaper. Man reading a Newspaper news. Vector illustration in flat design on red background.

5 Ways to Cope When You Get Anxiety From Turning on the News

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community. Turn on the news, any time of day, any time of the week and it is devastating, tragic and crushing. Sure, there are a few good news stories [...]
writing letter

Why I Wrote a Letter to the 'Anxious Me'

My depressive episodes of bipolar bring about unrelenting anxiety. The questions I fill my head with that have no relevance…The self-hate talk that consumes my every thought… The unrelenting feeling my loved ones will finally get tired of me and leave. The fear that I’m ruining my children… Not to mention the thoughts of suicide that hide [...]
woman with balloons

What Anxiety Is (and What It Isn't)

There is a difference between just being stressed, and having anxiety. Mental illness is no joke. It’s more than the punch line of your favorite meme. It is definitely not something to be taken lightly. In my experience, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a bitch. For me, it is waking up and counting those few seconds [...]
21 People Share the Worst Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression (1)

21 People Share the Worst Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

When we think of depression and anxiety, we often think of sadness and stress — respectively. While those definitions aren’t necessarily “wrong,” they can fail to take into account the real pain people with both depression and anxiety experience. The truth is, when it comes to anxiety and depression, there are a lot of symptoms [...]