When Anxiety Makes You Live With Constant Guilt
I look towards the weekend with both excitement and dread. Throughout the week, I tell myself I’m going to do all these fun things, but by the time the weekend creeps up, I am too exhausted to do anything. Once I am in the comfort of my apartment Friday night, it’s hard for me to leave until Monday morning. As an introvert who struggles with anxiety, my apartment is my safe space. My candles, soft lighting, comfy couch and cuddly cat make it my oasis. Why would anyone want to leave? Why would I want to deal with public transportation, hot and humid weather and hoards of people?
I moved to Washington D.C. to experience the culture, history and the vibrancy D.C. has to offer. But the moment I leave my apartment on the weekend to go anywhere, whether that be to the grocery store, to grab some coffee or just a walk around the block, I immediately start sweating. Profusely. My anxiety goes into overdrive because the weekends are a time that isn’t regulated. I don’t have a set schedule and that leaves room for the unexpected. I don’t like the unexpected. I like to know what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. A schedule keeps my anxiety somewhat at bay.
Additionally, I am learning that fibromyalgia does not like the unexpected. Last weekend, I met a friend for brunch, which seems completely harmless and on the scale of physical activity, very low. However, by the time I got home, I felt so sick from exhaustion and my body was in so much pain that I had to go straight to bed. The next day at work was a blur because my body was not back to neutral from the day before. It took two whole days to recover. From brunch.
Then come Sunday nights. I dread Sunday nights. The “Sunday Sads” are real, my friends. The hardest hour of my week is Sunday night between 11 p.m. and midnight. By that time I’ve washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on my PJs and crawled into bed. For many people, sleep comes easy. For me, this is when my brain goes into overdrive. Why didn’t I go to the store/pharmacy/coffee shop/anywhere this weekend? It was beautiful outside and I decided to spend my time sitting on the couch watching “The Office” for the 500th time. My anxiety is screaming “Why, why, why?!” while my body is saying, “Because you needed to rest.”
My guilt is crushing. Instead of it giving me motivation to change, it stops me dead in my tracks. It’s debilitating.
I feel guilty for moving to a city that I hardly get out to see.
I feel guilty for wasting my days inside watching TV when it’s beautiful outside.
I feel guilty for not making new friends.
I feel guilty for not volunteering my time.
I feel guilty for taking four-hour naps.
I feel guilty for not traveling more.
I feel guilty for not exercising.
I feel guilty for not eating right.
I feel guilty for not writing more.
I feel guilty when a co-worker asks me what I did this weekend and I say, “Nothing.”
I. Feel. Guilty.
Unsplash photo via Aziz Acharki