I Am Developing a Phobia of Commitments

I Am Developing a Phobia of Commitments

I’ve always considered myself a reliable person. If I said I would do something, it would be done. If I said I would be somewhere, I’d likely be the first one to arrive. Punctuality is a sign of reliability.

But over the years, lupus has given me a new phrase when I’m asked to do something at a date and a time: “I’ll try, but I won’t make any promises.”

I’m learning that I don’t want to commit to things these days, even if those things were my idea. For example, I usually have a ton of fresh ideas of things I want to try, and as an “extrovert in recovery,” those ideas usually involve others.

So lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do things without including others. Why? Because I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to show up. Before the pandemic, I hosted a biweekly business coffee. Given that opportunity now, I’m certain I wouldn’t take it on.

I am a creative person, and my natural inclination is to share my creativity with others. I’ve been considering a monthly virtual event that would involve meeting with other creative, positive people, but every time I think about doing it, I shut down. I know this is a fear response, but it’s the type of response that seems to be more prevalent with me lately.

The past couple of years have been hard on me, both physically and emotionally. I know that those in my circle understand that my body is unpredictable, but I really don’t want others to look forward to something and then I’m a no-show. I realize most of them would forgive me, but I would be hard on myself.

When I lived in Thailand, I taught a business seminar. But on the day of the seminar, I was in tremendous pain and extremely fatigued. People had paid for the class, though, so there was no way I would cancel it.

I stood in front of that group for eight hours. When it was over, I went to the hospital for eight days.

I know my attitude would be to show up to something, even if it’s not in my best interest. Yet there are things I want to do that another part of me feels I am neglecting. So, I hurt myself either way.

I am working on trying to accomplish the goal of sharing myself in a social way without making a full commitment. (Is that even possible?) Once upon a time in my life, I would forge ahead without any concerns or fear. But last year, I spent a good amount of time with my body rebelling so badly that I started this year severely malnourished. I also acquired a mobility device.

This year has come with its own set of challenges in addition to the pandemic, and I realize that fear is finding its way into the little cracks and crevices of my life. The question I must — and will — answer is how do I flush it out of there? I am all about solutions.

Currently, I don’t want to fully commit to anything, but I have ideas that must come to fruition, and I am determined not to allow fear to keep me from accomplishing my goals, no matter what lupus does to my body.


Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

Kellie is a lupus warrior who spends her time teaching many about the incurable disease she battles with a smile on her face. She travels the world, writes articles, has an active YouTube channel and creates coloring and activity books for both adults and children. She is known as Queen Bubbly Bee because no matter what is going on with her body, she always manages to find the silver lining.
Kellie is a lupus warrior who spends her time teaching many about the incurable disease she battles with a smile on her face. She travels the world, writes articles, has an active YouTube channel and creates coloring and activity books for both adults and children. She is known as Queen Bubbly Bee because no matter what is going on with her body, she always manages to find the silver lining.

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  1. Oinge says:

    I think you are not alone in this feeling. Instead of it being directly a result of Lupus, I think a lot of people are afraid to commit to anything as things evolve and then devolve again depending on the Covid numbers. So use that to your advantage! I know that many people who were extroverts have learned how to cocoon and find that they actually like it. Know that people who would normally love to get together, now hesitate and choose only those they really want to make the effort for. Numbers increase as complacency does the same and it kind of has a rubber band effect. You need to shine! So shine with a buddy who gets you and is willing to take over if you aren’t up for that night! The times you are well enough to do it will be appreciated by those looking for that outlet and what times you were not able to do it will give that other person a chance to come out of their shell a little bit more. Either way, your light is shining through any hurricane😀

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hello my friend, yes you are right. I have been really fortunate that my friends (like you) make a way to spend time with me and understand if I must shut down early or can’t do something at the last minute. Where I live, they have a lot of ex-pat gatherings and so many of them look like fun. However, because of covid, they have number requirements so reservations must be made. I don’t tell them to add me because I don’t want to take a space that someone who might be better able to get there may want it and I don’t want to have to cancel at the last minute. For one on one’s I do better but again, my friends understand those moments I have to lay down. I think about you sitting on that hard stool while I laid in bed to visit with me. I enjoyed that even if I had to lay down.

  2. Stevie says:

    I am newly diagnosed with Lupus/RA. I started with co-vid in March. Worked about a month after recovering from that and then ended up in the hospital for a week. High fevers. Swollen joints etc.
    The final diagnosis Lupus and RA. I had a great career in Healthcare and now I have been off work 5 months and on disability.
    I love what I do and have never been one to sit still. I miss taking care of my patients and being a lay minister in my church.
    This article is the first of many I will read; I am sure. This Atty hits the nail on the head. I feel as she does and find myself (I am not cleared to return to work in my office practice because of the risks of contracting illnesses (Influenza etc).
    I feel lost and other than my wonderful supportive family; I don’t communicate as did before.
    Thank you. I feel a little less alone.

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Stevie, It always hurts my heart when I learn of someone with a new diagnosis and I feel the pain of having to walk away from a career that you loved. I am sorry this has happened in your life because I know it can be devastating. So much happens all at once BUT having a loving and supportive family helps in so many ways! I’m glad to hear they are there for you. Stay encouraged, you will find your way. I won’t tell you it will be easy, I am going on year 5 and sometimes I feel as if I am feeling my way around in the dark but light comes in different areas. There will be a lot of coping, accepting, coping accepting but know there is a community out here of warriors who get you and will be here for you as well. All the best.

  3. Carol W Waldenburg says:

    Kellie – You got it, as a professional therapist I encourage my clients, and as a ME – I encourage my friends, to Never promise anything. Instead, state that you will TRY with everything you can to do XY and Z.

    This is because there are forces out there that can keep you from following through with a promise that are SO outside and beyond your control that you cannot possibly prepare for them. Things such as car accidents – a big one, delays in transportation – on trains, plans, taxies, Ubers … or just simple illness that prevent you from being somewhere or doing something that you really meant to do …

    Children are especially affected by unfulfilled promises so it is very important not to make promises to them and to teach them the realities of making promises. Now, things like “I promise to love you forever,” to a child are okay things to say as these things give a child grounding and a solid sense of self-importance, but promising things that are dependant upon outside movement/events/functions is not a good idea. Again, because you have absolutely no control over the outcome of these things.

    Thanks Kellie!

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Carol, that is great advice. I agree because even before I was ill, there were at times unforeseen circumstances. I had to laugh when you mentioned the kids because when my children were young and they wanted to do something that I wasn’t sure of my ability to either pay or be there, I would say I would try. I always came through so they loved when I said I would try instead of no because they decided that meant I was going to do it but I agree, I grew up with an over-promising parent and it did indeed create resentment as I got older. Such good advice to give to people. Thanks for sharing and helping me and my readers see why this should be something we all do regardless of our health status.

  4. Rocky says:

    Hi Kellie, Thank you for this writing! I relate 110%! I was always a Type A person, never stopped doing! And now I just don’t know how to handle the Changs Lupus has brought me. I’ve become so isolated and with no social life, but on rare occasion when I will have a visit or a meal with someone.
    Just yesterday I had a session with my ‘Energy Therapist’ and one of the things that came up in her assessment is my ‘fears’ of making commitments and plans etc. of many years.
    As you said, ‘my body is unpredictable’. Ditto! My body changes by the hour most days.
    I have a couple of friends who have been trying to get me to go to lunch for months but I just can’t commit :(. I don’t travel anywhere. My world has become quite small.
    We live and learn and I guess life with Lupus is mostly about accepting and adapting.
    I guess ‘it is what it is’ huh?! We are not alone. Big hugs to you. Rocky

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Hi Rocky, we definitely live, learn and adapt accordingly. I wonder if you can ask the folks inviting you to lunch if you can pull them together on short notice. If you wake up and feel up to it, gather them up and go have lunch. One of the things that I am fortunate with is the fact that many of my friends are entrepreneurs and their schedules are really flexible so sometimes I can make plans the same day. If its long term, forget it lol I def cannot commit. I also agree with your therapist, we do get caught up in fear because most of us don’t want to be seen as flaky or unreliable. I hope you can find ways to get out and enjoy some time with friends but I know, its not easy but for quality of life, we must overcome those fears and try. Sending you good vibes.

  5. Chris says:

    Hello again;
    I am so grateful for the posts you share. Your commitment to this blog has meant so much to me and I am guessing many others. Thanks for all you do and share. I am sending you positive thought and Lupus love.

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