An honest blog sharing the ups and downs of my personal mental health journey

Monday, 19 August 2019

No Thank You, Sir

I'm personally really shit at saying no to things. 

Normally it's for fear of missing out, but it's often because I don't want to offend people by saying "nah thanks". A lot of the time it's also just easier to say yes to things. 

Here's a perfectly reasonable and relatable example for you:

I've probably visited Co-Op at least 80 more times than I've wanted to in my life because I've said yes to someone that's asked me to go with them. 80 times might be a slight exaggeration, but not trip to Co-Op feels like you've been in there for years. So actually, who even knows how many times I've been there? It's dire, overpriced and I lost my debit card down a crack there once (which, might I add, seems to have happened to a few people I know, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually some sort of Co-Op scheme they've come up with to make you stay in there forever and ever until you die). But anyway, the woman just went, "oh no, that's a shame". Yes it is a shame isn't it Susan, you bellend, because I can't pay for anything in other shops now can I?! How awfully convenient. Let's just say it's not my favourite place to frequent. 

Alas, I won't say no to a Co-Op trip just in case the person I'm going with has a loyalty card or their Mum works there and me saying no really offends them. So I'll go reluctantly and no doubt lose something else down the bloody crack. My dignity, probably (if I have any left after walking through the doors that is...or if I had any in the first place).

Anyway, I digress. My reason for writing this post is slightly larger than just complaining about shops I don't want to go to. It's the importance of occasionally saying no to things not only that I don't want to do, but also sometimes the things I actually do want to do.

We all know the new and positive experiences that can come from saying yes to things, but saying yes all the time can actually be pretty detrimental to our mental health. 

Saying yes for 'fear of missing out' can have a huge knock-on affect to your wellbeing - the amount of times I've said yes to something when I've not been feeling great, done it, and then (un)surprisingly felt a million times worse afterwards is past countable now. 

Realistically, the brief sadness and disappointment of missing out on something fun with your friends is never as bad as the feeling you have when you've gone out, had a few too many million ciders and then the next day, week, month afterwards feel weirdly guilty and horrible about the fact that you've done it when you probably shouldn't then you do it all over again to get over feeling like that. And again, and again, until you just make yourself feel really quite shite all round. 

The truth is, the only person that's putting the pressure on to do things I don't necessarily need/want to do is myself. The only person that's worried about missing out on the fun is me - the fun that is had all the time, the fun that will continue to happen with or without me being there, the fun that most of the time I'm actually there experiencing anyway - so surely saying no now and again isn't the end of the world? There's (quite literally) always next time.

Another thing I think is important to touch on is having realistic expectations of saying no to something. From experience (without sounding like an AA meeting) if I'm really trying to say no to something and then fail at the first hurdle it makes me feel like a terrible, useless piece of crap. Cutting yourself off from something completely and then punishing yourself if you've 'caved in' and done it anyway is only harming yourself more. 

This may or may not be the best way of going about things, it actually seems a bit contradictory in a way, but personally if I'm trying to say no to something I won't cut myself off from it completely. That way I won't punish myself as much if I 'fail', I'll just try again next time. 

These are my personal little examples of this: 

'Dry January' (I've never got past 7th January, so next year maybe I'll get to 8th January) and cheese. Maaaaan I can't express the feelings I have towards cheese. 

When I lived with my parents we probably had about 12 different types of cheese in our fridge. When I stopped living with my parents (like the complete and utter grown up I am) I swore to myself I'd never buy cheese for just myself because I would actually become cheese and ultimately get real chubby and sad and poor. I managed this for a while, then one day I got a bit down and craved cheese and basically bought a whole delis worth (no, not from Co-Op) and relapsed and hated myself and had dreams of being eaten by a brie. 
Nowadays I just keep a bit of cheddar in the fridge for when I want it and try not to think about it so much.

We're only human beings, we can't go cold turkey on things all the time. Or cold cheese, whatever. 
Cut yourself some slack...OR SOME CHEESE, WHATEVER. 



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