Average Jane

My admission – My guilt – My self

This is the blog post I’ve needed to write for a long time. One that I will stumble through, no doubt, but since I know that most of you are my friends, I feel like you deserve this.

*deep breath* OK. Lately I’ve been canceling a lot of plans. Plans that are either last minute, or long standing. And I am not a plans-canceler. As a matter of fact, there was a time during which I would accept every invitation thrown my way, and run from one place to another just so no one would be disappointed in me, mad at me…

[Here’s a Baby Jane fun fact: When I was in high school I had such anxiety in social situations that if I were in a group of people talking, and I had to leave before everyone else, I’d stay. I’d be late to whatever I was missing for fear that I would be talked about behind my back if I left. That anxiety never went away.]

Medicated for anxiety for years, I’ve been off my meds a long time now, and I feel the effects every single day. Every time someone wants to make plans, every time I’m asked to go somewhere I’ve never been, or do something I’ve never done. Every time I have to go from point A to point B in what seems like a mundane sequence of events, I spend hours mulling over the details, writing and rewriting the plan down to the minute of how I’m going to navigate the journey getting everywhere on time, in tact.

And then, after making all of my plans well in advance, something will change. “We decided to go to X bar instead.” or “How about we grab dinner, first?” They don’t know that this seemingly small change in plans throws me into a complete tizzy. Most of the time, my days are planned to the minute, and my meals are scheduled at specific intervals. It’s not healthy, but it’s my life.

I know this sounds irrational, especially for someone who seems so social. This extreme social rigidity has damaged many relationships, most recently my last romantic relationship. My inability to make decisions drove me into paralysis… literally not knowing what I wanted at any given time. A grown woman stunted by the simplest of choices: stay at my place and get dinner, or meet later for dinner at his place. Embarrassed and near tears, I looked to anyone else to choose for me. In that case, he did. But who wants to deal with that all the time?

Enter my therapist. In order to avert these panic attacks and reclaim control over my life, I had to start making choices. “When you say ‘no’ to others, you say ‘yes’ to yourself.” I know. Could it be more cheesy? But it was true. While the truth remained that when I actually got to the place in question, I inevitably had good time, the process of getting there, the week of worry, the hours of fruitless planning… it just wasn’t worth it. So I started saying “no”. But often times it was too late. It was the day before. The day of. And all of a sudden I wasn’t the girl who doesn’t RSVP or the girl who can’t come… I was the canceler. And I am not a plans-canceler. But my mental health… my health in general… I just had to put someone first. And for once, it was me.

So people got hurt. And I felt pain. I felt like I was letting down the most precious people in my life: my friends. And what’s worse was hearing a close friend say, essentially, that my friends know I’m a panicked flake, and just realize and accept the fact that I might cancel. I hadn’t known that my reputation preceded me. That people knew. That they know.

And now, now that I am finally getting a grip on my anxiety (through LOTS of therapy, but still no drugs), and now that I am finally ready to start making baby steps out of my shell and my comfort zone, I get fucking sick. So sick that on top of figuring out if I am physically capable of getting to a place, will I be too sick to enjoy myself. So again, I find myself canceling plans. Tonight, I missed a party I really wanted to go to. I had done all my research, I had my costume (Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Secretary” if you must know… with handcuffs and all), and I was too sick to hit the bars. I was too sick to be so far from home (details omitted for your reading pleasure). And I feel terrible about canceling, and missing an amazing night with some of the most amazing people I know.

I hope that I am forgiven for the plans that I have canceled. I hope that I am forgiven for being “selfish” as someone rather hurtfully, but possibly rightfully, put it. I hope I am forgiven, as we move forward, for being tentative in my plan making, as I grow into my new self. My selective self. My “selfish” but healthy self. At least until my health, mental and physical, begin to realign.

This post is for you, friends. For you for standing by me when I do things that do warrant my being called “Crazy Jane”.

Thank you.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. This is the kinda post that makes me want to hug you. The sad part being I won’t…
    Anyway, there’s no being selfish in not putting yourself “at risk” regarding some sort of conditions you undergo. It’s just not being insanely altruisitic, and it’s for the best, yours that is, even though it can be frustrating. I understand it’s way easier to say it than going though it, but letting know your friends about all that should solve a huge part of that problem.

    hum… this should cheer you up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtPTBRVcGhw
    they’re icelanders, and they kick major asses. Oh, and I found out I kind of liked “say anything” the band with the guy you thought was sexy.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  2. * M@ says:

    I know how you feel. Used to have panic attacks during my freshman year in college and normally perambulated the campus with my head down. I couldn’t bring myself to look others in the eye. Well, things change.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Arjewtino says:

    You should still wear your costume.

    Next holiday is my birthday. I think that’s the perfect opportunity.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  4. * Shannon says:

    I don’t have an anxiety disorder, but I am a fairly rigid person. And the other side of this is really important: having people cancel on you can also provoke considerable anxiety. I know if a friend bails on plans or doesn’t RSVP, it hurts my feelings. I’ve ended or diminished the value of friendships because the friend constantly bailed on me at the last minute. Nobody likes to be stuck without plans on a Saturday night.

    I’m sympathetic to your health issue, just thought someone could mention the other side of it.

    Believe me. I have been the one without plans on a saturday night. I have been that person far too many times. And I know that I have, most recently, hurt someone who I was just beginning to forge a friendship with. I hope one day she will forgive me. I am not ignorant nor unsympathetic to how others feel. Just this time I had to choose me.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  5. * redshrt04 says:

    I really enjoyed this post because I have a friend who goes through a lot of the same emotions it sounds like you do in social situations. She doesn’t like to explain what she’s feeling, so this really helped me understand that the most un-stressful situation from one person can be a very almost unbearable for another person.

    I guess it’s all about balancing the times you say “yes” and the times you say “no” to an amount you can actually be comfortable with.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago

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