Being outspoken and having a very low tolerance for BS, I fall out with people often. I call people on their crap and I have done it for years.
I’m more than happy to have “fallen out” with many people as a result because, and upon closer inspection, most of the time they were not meant to be in my life. But what happens when you actually feel bad about the fall out and want to make amends?
What happens when you recognise you may have acted like a bit of an a-hole and didn’t actually want to end a particular friendship?
In my defence it was my anxiety that led me to act like that. At the time I didn’t have the mental strength or the “give a fuck factor” to fully explain myself and my behaviour to my then-friend and so we fell out for all of the wrong reasons. Then I just let it fester and stew until it went past the point of no return.
We both let the friendship fade away. Not such awesome human behavior but in this day and age of everyone being so busy, it happens, so hear me out.
A beautiful caring friend of mine that I have known since highschool knew I was having a VERY rough time in a relationship sitch. Couple that rough time with leaving a toxic work environment (ie. having NO job) and throw in a few failed rounds of IVF (ie. no $ left) and sprinkle on top a couple of miscarriages and then you have a recipe for someone at breaking point. It was a real shit-salami-sandwich.
Mia Freedman talks about how she deals with her anxiety. Article continues after this video.
So this friend wanted to shout me a night on the town with dinner and accommodation an hour-and-a-half away so I could let loose and not think about driving home .Which is lovely, right? Really lovely and I LOVED her for it.
Only it made me anxious.
People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) like I have will TOTALLY get this. Just the idea with all I had on my plate of packing an overnight bag and leaving my boy for the night for a roadtrip with the expectation that I would get so drunk and have such a “big” night that I would be forced to stay overnight made me anxious.
Why? I don’t really know. I can’t explain it. I’m not actually sure. Maybe because I don’t like the idea that two months out from one of the worst times of my life I’m already expected to want to feel like having a big night out.
The very thought of it made me feel pissed off, anxious and tired before I had even backed the car out of the driveway.
Instead of explaining to my friend how I was feeling I “ummed” and “ahhed” and stalled with my girlfriend and in the end I was probably coming across as downright ungrateful, rude and selfish. I didn’t see it that way at the time. I was COCOONING – I was in such a bad place mentally that the thought of leaving the house for anything, let alone a “big night out up the big smoke”, just sounded all.too.hard. #ungrateful
Yup I know you’re thinking this chick is nutso – it’s just a night away – but that’s where anxiety is tricky. It’s a nasty little beast that whispers all sorts of rubbish in your ear making something seemingly so NORMAL and dare I say it “fun” seem so DAUNTING and exhausting and just OVERWHELMING to have to plan for. Anxiety means most stuff makes me feel overwhelmed. I’m just the world’s best pretender that I have got this shit sorted.
Hey, don’t judge. Anxiety hits us all in very DIFFERENT ways.
You know how you HAVE to wash the dishes the SECOND they are in the sink or how you might get weird about using someone else's towel or how you have to be 45-minutes early for everything. Well some of that stuff is caused by anxiety too and I ain't judging you. Feeling out of control is the underlying theme to most anxiety issues and “weird” behavior. I also hate being told how I should feel weeks away from a day when I may not feel like being out at all let alone out for a “big one” so it's easier to just decline and then you look rude and anxious and weird and that’s how you lose friends 101, unless they truly get you and get anxiety too and don’t accuse you of using your “anxiety” to cover for ASSHOLE behaviour.
I can totally see how that would happen. I can. Because I have also discovered after reading Amy Schumers book The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo that I am actually an introvert. Yup those who know me as Bianca the vivacious whacky cheeky radio gal will laugh in my face at this but I am. I hate being around energy suckers and I get drained VERY quickly of my energy and need to go away and hide and recharge. That’s when I look rude too because I do RUNNERS! I am the smoke bomb QUEEN and I love it. When I'm done, I'm done. I'm out and nuthin's gonna keep me at that partay baby, nuthin.
So I had a falling out with this friend and it really upset me. Texts back and forward that eventually got nasty because who can explain anything properly via text. I ended up kinda saying, “Well if you can't accept that my anxiety is gonna make me do weird shit sometimes then it's all too hard and exhausting for me to actually maintain this façade with you and I'd rather let our friendship go.”
Looking back I'm not proud of that text but at the time I felt proud of being honest and transparent.
But this Thursday is about reconnecting with these people for exact reasons like mine. You look back and see it was kinda dumb and you want to reach out. So I did it. I reached out and we are in the process of reconnecting.
It's all about baby steps because I'm still the same person and I'm not going to change. That means it's been a bit awkward but perhaps the boundaries are a bit wider now with trying to "get" each other. I feel they are. I love her. She is a great human and wants to make the world a better place. She thinks global and acts local. I'm so proud of her spirit and drive and compassion.
I just needed some of that compassion for me.
That’s the problem with being an outspoken brazen cocky girl. When you say things like, “Babe thank you for the offer but I don’t feel like committing to staying the night in a hotel with you and having a big night out and driving all that way," which sounded to her like I was being selfish and weird and painful.
Yeah, maybe, but I'm just being me and at 43 I ain't gonna change now.
What anxiety made me forget about friendships like ours is that we can piss each other off and let each other down and just forgive and move on. We don't have to stop being friends over it. We just have to step back a bit and then resume our friendship and maybe have a proper conversation about it face-to-face instead of via text.
I'm so glad we have reconnected. It feels good right down to my core. Fall outs with beloved friends are a bit yucky. They eat away at you leaving you feeling muddy and crappy. Some friendships aren't meant to be and you feel relief at being able to move on.
Dealing with mental health issues isn't easy. You lose people, you lose respect, people think you're weird and selfish and I get that. I don't get to blame my bad behaviour on mental health issues. I still have to say sorry.
Do you have a nagging feeling inside of you when you think of someone you no longer talk to? RUOK Day is the time to reach out. Even just a cheeky text to say, "Hey."
Bianca Dye is a proud ambassador for RUOK Day and hosts a daily radio show on 92.5 Gold FM on the Gold Coast in Queensland. You can follow her mental health journey on Instagram @anxietyfree.
Michelle Bridges wants us all to practice self-love and kick our negative thinking. Mamamia Book Club tried it, listen to how they went: