The Consequences of Being Unreliable

The Consequences of Being Unreliable

There are a great many attributes that I admire in people: trustworthiness, loyalty, and honesty for example. Some of these are things that I’ve always strived to be and try my best to see in other people. But the one thing that I am no longer, because of psoriatic arthritis, is reliable. Because of the nature of the unpredictability of psoriatic arthritis, I am probably the most unreliable person I know, and I hate it.

Being unreliable

I make plans and commitments with the best of intentions, only have to turn around days, weeks, or months later, and cancel them. I know that when someone asks me to do something, there will always be a voice in the back of their minds, reminding them that last time I canceled. Last time, I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t make it to the movie, to dinner, or to the party.

I’m not the same

Until psoriatic arthritis entered my life, I always thought of myself as that friend that would always be there. The one people could call, at any hour, and I would be there. Now, it feels like those days are long gone. Of course, my friends and family can still call me, at any hour, and I will do my best to be there, but because I’ve had to cancel so many times, it just isn’t the same. I’m not the same.

Guilt

I feel a great deal of guilt because of this. I know in my heart that it isn’t technically my fault, and life is too short to carry that type of guilt with me. But that doesn’t make the feeling stop. It may not be rational, or right, but it is definitely there. Lingering in the back of my mind, the knowledge that I wasn’t able to be the person that I wanted to be.

Just don’t do anything at all

I even find myself not agreeing to do anything at all, fearing that when the time comes, I won’t feel well, then end up carrying the guilt of the canceled plans around with me. If I don’t commit to go in the first place, no one will be disappointed if I can’t go, right? For a while this seemed like a good idea, and perhaps the best solution. The reality, not so much.

What I wanted, or was it?

But it soon became clear that if you say no often enough, people eventually stop asking. Which honestly, I thought that was what I wanted. If no one asked me to commit to anything, then I wouldn’t let anyone down, and in turn, wouldn’t feel guilty. But all that really happened was that I felt more alone than ever.

Learn from me folks

I still struggle with the guilt of canceled plans. I hate that I’m not as reliable as I want to be. And I hope that it won’t be this way forever. But for now, I have to know that my friends and family, those that truly love and support me understand that this isn’t my choice. Being unreliable isn’t who I am in my heart. And while I would love to change it, for now, it is just a part of life with psoriatic arthritis.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (7)
  • Maisi
    9 months ago

    I began to despise the negative character trait of “unreliability” during childhood and thus created a life mantra of that I would be “reliable, dependable, and consistent.” Compounding the overall burden of PsA, including the unpredictable ups/downs and twists/turns of PsA and my novice level status with pacing, nutrition, exercise, anticipating and treating flares, is the frustration that it is in my best interest to grieve the loss of reliability as I defined it in the past. Creating a new definition will come to light, at some point. At least, that is my hope.

  • imschmarte
    9 months ago

    This hit home with me. I went through the same, trying to keep everyone happy, including myself. Trying to keep up my reputation as ‘the life of the party’. Trying to show up, even when I felt so bad, all I wanted was my bed. And little by little, year by year, people stopped inviting me to anything. And, yes, I thought that was what I wanted, but like you, I do feel lonely for the party person I used to be. I miss my laugh! I tried to explain to friends and family this ‘thing’ I have, these diseases, but no one understands unless they have them. “Hope you feel better” is a response that makes me want to scream!! There is no cure! I will never feel ‘better’, I can only hope for good days now and then. But being reliable is over, those close to me understand it. Everyone else will have to just have to try and understand it. But living with 6 autoimmune diseases has ripped my reliability to shreds! Good luck to you Leanne, thanks for sharing!!

  • Maisi
    9 months ago

    Thank you for your candor and honesty. So much of what you and the Leanne wrote resonates with me. My husband and I were talking yesterday about how much has changed. I’m in the place of either not making any plans (who knows if the effort to fix my hair, paint my face, find tolerable clothing & shoes will pay off or have been a total waste?) or getting excited about the “idea” of plans (i.e., currently there is an Indie Grits Festival – amateur filmmakers from across the country “show their wares”) and knowing all the while that we won’t go. It’s hard. I look back and wonder how I ever maintained a very successful private therapy practice, where reliability was a given, a necessity. Now, I feel worn out after a short grocery trip. I do want to find a balance and move out of this place that feels like such “limbo.”

  • Leanne Donaldson author
    9 months ago

    Wow @imschmarte 6 autoimmune diseases must feel so overwhelming sometimes! Even worse when we feel like no one understands. I often feel like saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.” It is so hard for people to understand that there are good days and bad, but there will rarely be the classic “getting better.” I am here anytime and while it is no fun to both have this, it is always good to know that we aren’t going through it alone. Hoping you have a few good, pain-free days in your future! -Leanne, Author

  • imschmarte
    9 months ago

    Thanks for the ear Leanne!! It can be over whelming, but the more you get, the less the impact is! LOL Usually the treatment is the same for most of them, a few different pills here and there. My rheumatologist, after the 3rd one, when I told him new symptoms, he would just say, well, you probably have fibro, or Anklyosing Spondylitis, but you are already on the right treatment, so it doesn’t matter. LOL And yes, I do get comfort from this website, knowing I am not going through this alone! I wish for you some good days also! Pain free would be heaven!! Thanks again!! Hugs!!

  • KQ500
    9 months ago

    Leanne,

    This is a great story. I have had this discussion with many friends and family members, and only a few really understand. Many times I have said to people…..”oh that sounds like fun, but I will see how I feel.” I have cancelled so many plans. I also don’t plan too many things in a week. If I’m able to go to listen to some music one night, I anticipate I won’t feel like doing anything for a couple of days, or even a week. I used to do some volunteer work, but had to stop that as well. I have been taking CBD oil for almost a year now, and it has helped me get off all pain medication, and I can walk now without a cane! However, I still get tired, and achy, and have a limp (due to the damage done in my left foot. ) So, I still have limitations. I wish you well.

  • Leanne Donaldson author
    9 months ago

    Hello @kq500, Thank you for your understanding 🙂 Learning to plan outings around our limitations is hard. I often find it difficult to say no when asked to do things. Sounds like you have developed a good use of the “recovery time” that comes with going out. So glad to see that you have had some relief using CBD. I’ve been using it for a while now too and it helps quite a lot. I hope you are well today! -Leanne, Author

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