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Counting The Ways

*Sorry about the Monday no-post. We had technical difficulties in BetterInRealLife blog land. But now we’re back! Hooray! This is going to be quite the week.

Every once in a while I realize I’ve found a brand new anxiety to add to my list. Just when I think I’ve squashed one, another rears its ugly head, and for the past year I’ve really struggled with “being left out.”

I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to be excluded. And I don’t want to be pushed to the back of the room. It doesn’t just upset me, it freaks me out. It keeps me up at night. It threatens to keep me from doing social activities. What if I’m left out? What if I’m ignored? What if no one comes? What if everyone is at a thing and they forgot (or even on purpose) to invite me? To cope with this anxiety I say yes to everything.

And this royally effs me up. I exhaust myself, I forget to take time to do quiet things, to do me things, to do alone things. I cram as much as I can into my weekend because there are the things I HAVE TO do and then their are the things I feel socially compelled to do (and want to do). This last weekend was one of those times I was completely overbooked. Did I have an AMAZING time? Yes. Did I do things I am proud of? Yes. Did I make stronger friendships with fabulous women? Hell yes.

But you know what else I did? I laid awake nearly all Saturday night having a massive panic attack (leaving me nauseous and sleepless). I had to prop myself up on pillows and Kamel had to put his hand on my chest to soothe me. I would doze and have dreams where the day’s events were replaying in my mind over and over again. I wwas jerked awake by panic and my stomach turning. I sipped water, I woke up Kamel again and again. And then Sunday? I really was sick. Just a head cold, but even then I couldn’t stop. We had wedding errands, and birthday shopping downtown (supposed to be fun, and it was… except for the part where I was sick and exhausted), and grocery shopping and laundry. By the time we got home I collapsed on the couch, a sick mess. And then, poof, Monday was here and I had to head off to work.

I don’t have any fix for this at the moment. I keep telling myself I’ll have more time after the wedding, but I know the truth is I’ll just find something else to keep my calendar stacked. Because, it’s not just events I don’t want to be left out of, it’s also life. I have a lot of guilt when I feel like I’m wasting time or not using my day to the best of my abilities. Even though I know that to be healthy and happy I need to also have down time, the guilt wins. So, I guess for now, if I do say no to something, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out, it doesn’t mean I don’t to make you a solid priority, it’s because I’m trying keep my anxiety in check, and trying to keep myself from giving into fear based behavior. Sigh. It’s a journey.

12 Comments

  1. Awww Lauren! I feel guilty that i got the best nights sleep that ive had in months on your couch while you were in your bed getting none! :( I think that we shouldve had a couple more drinks so you couldve passed out like a baby!

    • hahahahaha exactly! And don’t feel guilty! I think having guests over is the greatest. And when they are happy that makes me happy. After you left Kamel goes “I think we’re getting good at this hosting thing.” AWWW! :)

  2. uhm. hello, same-inherent-flaw, how are you today?
    i say yes to literally everything.
    then i drive away, walk away, days later, and i say, “WTF, I DON’T WANNA DO THAT!” damn.

  3. Oh my. This is something that I used to struggle with a TON. I still do sometimes, but have gotten better at it. I think part of it is my OLD AGE. At some point in my 30′s, I just was like, “Meh, I don’t need to do that anymore.” On occasion, I get a lot of crap, like, “What do you mean, you’re going home?! It’s only _____ (insert some late-ish time here). The party is still going! You’re going to regret this some day.”

    But my close friends, the people who know me? They get it. They get that I put a lot of thought and energy into my relationships and that sometimes, I’m just spent at the end of the day. Or sometimes, I’m just so spent, I want to stay home all weekend and replenish. And then I’m so ready again.

    But, yes, it was a process (and again, sometimes still is) to get to where I could say no, which interestingly means saying yes to me.

    Hang in there, you’ll find your space. :)

  4. I have been working on the say-yes-to-everything thing. I’ve had to because of personal budget reasons, I just can’t go out to every happy hour or brunch or whatever, can’t afford it right now! I have noticed that it’s definitely given me more breathing room in my life, if I have to say no to some outing, I get that time to myself or at least to my baby family (still working on finding the JUST ME time, sans hub or dog or friends – have taken up Sunday baths, glorious). My friends here all know that we’re on a budget and if I say no it’s not because I don’t like them. So that’s made it easier. Still there are things that are free that still take time and energy and there’s no easy way to say no to those things (or leave a party at a decent hour), that doesn’t just sound like “sorry don’t feel like it,” or “you guys are boring me, I’m leaving now.” And yeah, it’s tough saying no when you know they’re going to go out and do it without you, and you’ll miss out on the shared experience and the inside jokes that come out of it, and whatnot (I always have to say no to big travel adventures my friends sometimes do, huge bummer), and that stinks a lot. I don’t have the panic attacks though, you poor thing!!

  5. Haha I’m so the opposite. Thank god Brian and I are the same way – I get so dismayed when I realize we have something planned for every night of the week. I’ll be one-leg into my pajamas with Season 1 of Modern Family in the DVD player and remember we’ve got nephew’s basketball game or dinner at so-and-so’s house and it’s soooo disappointing.

    On the bright side, we have a huge family and there are obligations all the damn time. So if it weren’t for that, we might be legitimate hermits.

  6. i have the same problem. I do week-long boom and busts– go out every night in a week and then get sick and stay in for a week and then repeat.

    I get nervous that if I ever say no to someone, they won’t invite me out again. It’s nice when you say no, and then down the line they prove you wrong. Everyone eventually learns that using the day to the best of one’s abilities includes scheduling some recharging time… so eventually most people will understand when you need it.

    • I will invite you out again Christina!! I’m hard to shake. ;)

  7. Wow. Yes, this is me all the time. And it never has to do with other people’s expectations. My friends say no and skip things all the time. It’s my inherent fear that something AWESOME will happen the day that I take a nap. Or that, once I do start saying no, I will spiral down into hermitville (where my fiance would love to live all the time), never leaving the house, and watching even more HGTV. And I have always had this, despite how people are saying it’s social media induced: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10ping.html.

    I also think that this is exacerbated this year due to the wedding. I feel like since I’m asking all these people to go to my wedding than I better not miss a single birthday party, etc. Hopefully that much will be better after September…

    • Omg! FOMO! Thats awesome. I mean not the meaning, thats no fun, but the acronym is perfect. I have a serious case of FOMO too. Esp after reading that article! Haha.

    • Kamel would LOVE LOVE LOVE to live in effing hermitville. Every weekend I ask him what he wants to do and this is the answer “Uhh… just hang out?” He would be most content sitting in front of the tv or the computer for 6 hours a day. Which drives me bonkers, but then sometimes I let myself roll with it and I love it too. But not always. I’ll never be that guy.

      And yes, I don’t really think it’s social media induced, although I do think Social Media helps me have more friends. I can keep in touch with a LOT more people now on twitter and facebook and I end up having a wide variety of people to hang out with and that ends up overwhelming me. But … I think I know that photos and tweets don’t tell the whole truth… which is an interesting thing to know and understand and yet, still be a part of. But that’s a whole DIFFERENT blog. ;)

  8. Yup. I know this feeling. I hate missing out on fun. But you know what is worse than electing to miss out on fun because you need a breather? Being FORCED to, because you’re sick, or, WORSE, you flake out because you’re just too overwhelmed. It stinks.

    Learning to set boundaries and say no is really hard. It is even harder when you’re not one that tends to say no, because people count on you to say yes and are thrown for a loop.

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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