We need to talk about the beauty of people who are understanding when you cancel plans.
Having gone through extensive periods of illness in my life, I’ve had to cancel A LOT of plans, sometimes at the last minute. Living with a chronic pain syndrome means there’s no way of knowing how much pain I’m going to be in from one day to the next and in bouts of depression and anxiety, sometimes, you just don’t feel up to attending things you arranged on a good day.
There are people that I absolutely DREAD having to cancel plans with, knowing full well that their reaction isn’t going to be a great one. In the past, people have said to me ‘Okay, I’m so done with this now’, ‘Really? You’re ill again?’, and ‘Don’t make plans if you’re not going to keep them’. Every one of those comments has been an absolute slap in the face. I don’t dispute for one minute that having plans cancelled at short notice is incredibly annoying, but imagine how it is for the person who has to cancel AND has to suffer with what’s preventing them from attending. I’ve noticed that people like this always forget that you’re not cancelling to be inconvenient, you’re cancelling because you’re feeling rubbish and knowing you’ve irritated people just adds to the rain on your already stormy day. There have genuinely been occasions where I’ve felt really low and have cancelled under the pretense of ‘having a stomach bug’ – it should not have to be this way. Mental illnesses are just as debilitating as those that are physical.
But then, there are the absolute beauties: the ones who reply with concern and genuine understanding. If I have to cancel my plans with one of these people, there isn’t a moment of anxiety or apprehension about telling them. It is so comforting to know you haven’t annoyed someone and it makes feeling unwell that little bit easier. The greatest people are those who say things along the lines of ‘No worries, we can do it another time!’ or ‘Sorry to hear you’re not feeling great, anything I can do?’ Let me tell you now, if you are one of these people, you are an absolute sunshine and you are so greatly appreciated by people suffering with chronic illnesses. I am so lucky that I have people like this in my life and I am thankful for them every day.
To those who have to cancel, appreciate the understanding ones and ignore the ignorant ones – you’re already feeling bad, try to put them out of your mind and DON’T let them make you feel worse – you’re already feeling rubbish enough!
To those who get cancelled on, if you’re understanding, we can’t thank you enough for your kindness and patience when we have to rearrange. If you’re irritated, we get it and we’re sorry, but PLEASE try to bear in mind we’re not doing it on purpose and it’s not our fault.
Stacks of love,