A womans had holding a pen about to write in her planner with the title of the article in the top left corner: My Experience Of Making Plans With Poor Mental Health

My Experience Of Making Plans With Poor Mental Health

One of the things I really find annoying is when someone suggests making plans, but then they don’t follow through on their own suggestion. I use to have a lot of breakdowns that would leave me dangerously suicidal because people would arrange to meet me out at the weekend to go out out, but then let me down last minute. Literally last minute.

 

The way my mental health worked at the time required that I had time out socialising in order to function for the week ahead. Without this time my depression would continue spiralling downwards out of control. Rather than having this collapse into a deeper depression, this weekly social occurrence would reset my depression to a higher functioning position. This allowed me to avoid having a breakdown and helped keep my suicidal impulses under control.

 
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Because I was constantly being let down, which was making my mental health dangerously unstable, I decided to find a solution. In order to overcome this problem, I came to the conclusion that I had to train myself to no longer require the necessity to go out out anymore. If you’ve read my previous article on my relationship with food then you’ll be aware that this had a couple of unintended consequences to go along with the desired removal of my need to go out out.

 

Although this training did cure my fundamental need to go out out in order to be a high functioning depressed person, there was a cost. The main problem this training caused was how it made my desire to be on my own a lot stronger. As a result, I find it far harder to force myself to leave my home now (I’ve discussed this in two of my previous articles as well: Date Night: The Difficulties of Meeting My Partner and Unexpected Plans: My Partner Wants To Meet A Week Early). In fact, now all I want is to be left on my own: it was a little too effective.

 

One of the ways to overcome my desire to isolate myself and stop me from backing out of meeting up is to actually make plans. If there’s a plan to meet then I feel obligated to meet you. I may still pull out if something’s triggered my anxiety especially bad, such as a skin breakout (I can get terrible spots sometimes that just won’t go away) or if I’m feeling so depressed that I can’t be bothered to shower so I can meet up with people: depression and hygiene don’t go together very well.

 

I’m more likely to leave my home and meet people if there are concrete plans in place. It also helps if you’ve not let me down time and again with plans previously. If I’ve been let down a lot by the person I’ve made plans with, then I won’t get ready until I’ve had confirmation closer to the time we planned to meet (several hours before we’re meant to meet). I’m not willing to get ready and go through the effort of preparing myself to leave my home to then get let down again because it causes a nose dive in my mental health. I’m no longer willing to put my mental health second to other people.

 

So, if you ask to make plans then ignore my attempts to make said plans, we’re not going to meet: this definitely isn’t the way to go if you want to meet me. It completely demotivates me and reinforces my desire to stay at home. My entire being is already screaming at me to stay home, and right up until I actually meet as planned, my body is still screaming at me to stay home. I will even turn back and go home if I feel I’m being fucked around by the person I’m meant to be meeting.

 

A few years back I was going out to meet a friend for their birthday, and the whole day they were messing me about with where to meet up. To the point that I’m on the train to the halfway point where I would then get the tube to where I needed to go, and they still hadn’t let me know where to meet them. I was already feeling pretty shitty due to cutting a three-inch scar into my scalp while trying to do a perfect shave (which just isn’t possible for me. I have a few issues with things needing to be perfect, which gets worse with my body image and identity problems). I also felt sick when I got off at the station due to the problem my physical health problems cause me, which didn’t help my mood.

 

I couldn’t go any further with my journey to meet my friend for their birthday because I didn’t know which tube station I was heading for. So I was forced to just wait around for a reply to let me know where I was going. All my calls (and I hate talking on the phone with a passion) and texts were being ignored all day. Eventually, I’d had enough and just got the train back home. While I was on the train heading home my friend finally decided to let me know where I needed to go to meet them. I told them I was no longer coming because I was now on my train back home due to them messing me about. Nor was I willing to get off at the next station to turn around and head back to meet them for their birthday.

 

This person has let me down countless times before by cancelling plans last second and is one of the people that caused me to have to train myself to no longer need to go out as I mentioned above and in my other article about my relationship with food. I no longer ever expect that person to ever actually stick to plans anymore and as a result, I just don’t invite them to hang out. I don’t invite them to come out for my birthday. I also decline all invites from them to meet as well: it’s just not worth the hassle.

 

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My partner knows all this and knows I suffer from multiple anxiety disorders that can cause psychotic episodes if they get out of control. They also know how hard it is for me to even met them (Date Night: The Difficulties of Meeting My Partner and Unexpected Plans: My Partner Wants To Meet A Week Early) or go out in general. So when they asked me at the weekend to meet them during the week to go out with their friends, I, as always, was reluctant to go, because I never want to go anywhere or be around anyone.

 

Basically, my whole life now is based on being made to feel obligated to do stuff, in order to actually get me to do said stuff. Even though I’m aware that I’ll most likely enjoy myself once I’m out. It just never matters that I might enjoy myself going out, because in the moment, every part of me wants me to stay at home, and that doesn’t stop until I’m actually at the place I’m intended to be.

 

Thus, making plans is an effective way to put pressure on me by making me feel obligated to meet. However, if you suggest to make plans and then don’t, it’ll have the opposite effect. This is what my partner did to me. They originally brought up the plan to meet later in the workweek at the weekend, and I just gave my usual non-committal responses. But the night before we were meant to meet, they suggested we make plans. Within seconds of asking to make plans for the night out, I started to try and figure out how we could do this by working out where we should meet. 

 

It was like pulling nails, I was asking how long it’d take for them to get there from work to get to the tube station near the place we were going. I also asked how long it’d take to walk from said tube station to the location and other such questions. Their responses showed no interest in actually trying to make this plan, even though it was their suggestions to do so just minutes ago.

 

So I gave up on making the plans because I’d rather not leave my place anyway, and this (lack) of interaction made me want to leave my place even less. However, come the morning of the day we’re meant to meet, I finally got a message sprinkled with the intent of actually wanting to meet. Now apparently they wanted to start making plans.

 

The picture is split in two with the top image being of a hand holding a pen about to start writing and the bottom image of a planner in a basket of self-care items. The two images are separated by the article title - My Experience Of Making Plans With Poor Mental Health

 

If they wanted me to go they should have started making the plans the night before, as they had originally suggested. I need to factor in at what times I can eat, because once I have my first meal (if you’ve seen my other article on my relationship with food you’ll already know this) I have to eat within four hours otherwise I feel incredibly sick. My autonomic disorders specialist doctor has actually referred to another specialist to see if I have hypoglycaemia due to this problem.

 

Not only that but my other physical health problems which cause me to get travel sick just by walking is something I have to consider when knowing when to eat if I’m going to be travelling. I need to plan my eating so that I don’t feel sick from hunger when I’m travelling, so that that I also don’t feel sick from travelling at the same time, thus, making the whole experience far worse as I’m hit by both at the same time.

 

Furthermore, because we’re going to a place I’ve not been to before, by a tube station I’ve not used before, I need to plan ahead in order to lessen the effects of my anxiety disorders. I like to over check how I’m getting there with backup plans, and I always plan to be early, even though I detest waiting around to meet people, and my partner is often late, which doesn’t help.

 

To make matters worse, I’d also be travelling during rush hour, which I always try to avoid. There is nothing worse than feeling nauseous, head spinning, my balance going wonky, head going foggy, and my eyes feeling funny whilst squished next to people because you have to stand due to rush hour. Standing on transport also has its own set of problem for me.

 

I’ve had problems with my back ever since I was 11, and get back pains from having to stand still. I prefer to keep moving so it takes longer before the pain sets in, so I’ll often walk around on the spot rather than stand still when I’m having to wait for something. This is all without factoring in a possible anxiety attack which, if I can’t control it, causes me to have psychotic episodes.

 

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Basically, this had become all the things I dislike the most about going out all wrapped up into one: the joy.

 

Rightly or wrongly, I was a bit pissed off by the situation. But I still went to this meetup, because we were meeting my partner’s friends to hang out. As such, I was still bound by an obligation, due to not wanting to embarrass both of us with their friends. It wouldn’t have looked good if I hadn’t of showed up, especially if they found out the reason was due to a falling out over making plans.

 

I didn’t let my partner know until I got to the tube station near the place we were all meeting: which was pretty petty of me. I was still filled up with resentment because of what had happened. I often have to manage this feeling a lot due to my borderline personality disorder because of my attachment problems.

 

Normally it manifests itself with no external factors being involved, but in some cases, external factors can trigger it. It’s a really hard emotion to manage, especially when you suddenly find yourself wanting to recoil from the touch of your partner because you suddenly resent them for no obvious reason. I’ll discuss this more at a later date in another article.

 

Anyway, I have no motivation to meet up at the best of times, so such situations only make that worse for me. It’s hard having to keep coming up with reasons to stay at home, especially when my partner wants me to stay over at theirs. I absolutely hate staying at someone else’s place. I wish my partner would just accept the fact when I state I don’t want to do something because it’s tiring coming up with reasons to justify it, ones that they’ll accept.  Not that they ever really do accept it. It’s such hard work.

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with making plans with your mental health issues in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

 

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18 thoughts on “My Experience Of Making Plans With Poor Mental Health

  1. Depression is so hard. I had the same issue with people, and I also struggled with them changing plans last minute. Like, one friend and I would make plans to enjoy a glass of wine after work and unwind, just two girls kind of thing, but then an hour before I was supposed to meet her, I’d find out she invited 12 other people and we were supposed to do x, y, and z. It was just too much, and I’d bow out. Nowadays, I’m basically a hermit, because it’s just so much easier…I wish more people understood how hard it is for us to make plans in the first place sometimes, much less have to plan for whims constantly.

    • It would be nice if people were more understanding about such things, but most people are just oblivious to it. It might be easier to go hermit, but at the same time that will also have an effect on your wellbeing, so don’t give up on socialising

  2. Thank you for sharing this post. I hope it will give me a different perspective on how to deal with things and be mindful of other people and what they might be going through!

    Rosie

  3. I honestly hate it when people make plans and then drop out last minute. Like you were relying on getting out and seeing someone that could change your mood for the entire day. Hope your having a better day today lovely 🙂

    Isobel x

    http://www.fashionistachic.co.uk

  4. I honestly know how you feel 100%. I have been diagnosed with social anxiety and depression for most of my adult life, and I totally related when you talk about forcing yourself to do things. I just wish people would be more understanding of why we behave a certain way or why some things trigger us more than others. Thank you for sharing your experience x

  5. I have issues with making and keeping plans, as well. I’ve always been a homebody. When I was single and childless, my house was always the house where my group of friends hang out. I literally ALWAYS had 2-10 people at my house at all times. It was because I hated going places, so they all came to me. I started working from home 7 years ago and it got A LOT worse after that. Now, since the pandemic started, I might as well be agoraphobic. I have to start making myself get back out into the world and make new connections. It isn’t healthy for me to sit in this house for years on end.

    Good luck with everything. You have my solidarity, for sure!

    • I’ve always found the same with my agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder, if I spend too many consecutive days at home my anxieties thoughts and urge to stay home would grow

  6. I completely get a lot of this post as it’s something I’ve experienced myself so thank you for being so honest and sharing this! Setting boundaries with people has really helped me work on this x

  7. I so appreciate your honesty & authenticity in this article. So many people don’t talk about this. It is so brave of you to be so forward with your mental health. I truly admire it.

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