A letter from the girl with anxiety to the tradesman who never showed up

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Following on from a previous post about anxiety being a symptom of chronic pain, I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone once again. In this blog post I write a letter to the tradesman who never turned up for an appointment and explain some of my thoughts and how it affected me because of my anxiety.

Tomorrow is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018. Although the focus is stress, anxiety can easily be confused with stress, or anxiety can lead to stress. I wanted to take this opportunity to do my bit to raise awareness of how I am affected by different mental health issues.

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Dear Mr Tradesman

I know you are a busy man and you don’t necessarily need my custom to keep in business so this letter probably won?t mean much to you, but I?m writing it anyway.

You don?t know me, and you don?t understand my individual situation. I can bet that what I?m like, and all your other customers are like, as a person, probably doesn?t even cross your mind. Ever. I get you have a practical and methodical way of thinking, you wouldn?t do the type of work you do if you didn?t. But a little empathy towards your customers when you don?t turn up for an appointment isn?t a big ask. And I?ll tell you why…

I have anxiety. You don?t need to know the details but it is exasperated by my chronic pain. Again you don?t need to know the details, but managing daily life with one of these disabilities (yes, mental health conditions are considered a disability), is tough enough, but both is challenging. So for me to build up the courage to invite you to my home to do a quote for some work, was the first in a long line of tasks outside my comfort zone. It sounds silly, right? Even to me it does.

As well as being anxious on the day, I seem to build up lots of thoughts and worries beforehand. With an event like a tradesman coming round, these tend to be along the lines of what if I forget what to say, what if I don?t understand what you?re saying, what if I don?t ask the right questions, what if I forget to ask the questions I?m supposed to ask, what if it?s a wasted trip and I have to go through it all again.

I hate answering the door at the best of times. I generally ignore the doorbell unless I know who it is or I am expecting a parcel to be delivered. Where this fear comes from I don?t really know, but it is there, and is another thing that adds to my anxiety. You also hear frightening stories of tradesmen entering houses and getting up to all sorts of illegal things (catastrophizing is also a thing with anxiety), so to invite a stranger, who I?ve never met before, who I know nothing about, is quite a big deal. I?m sounding quite pathetic now aren?t I?!

On the day you were meant to turn up I was pretty much clock watching all day. The appointment was in my calendar and on my Apple Watch so I had a constant reminder that you were calling by later that day. You see, my memory is pretty rubbish too. This is likely to be caused by my anxiety or ?pain fog?, or it could just be me; I could just have a rubbish memory, who knows.

I am also one of these (annoying) people who likes to be half an hour early rather than 5 minutes late. So when you said you were coming round between 16:00 and 16:30, I was ready by 15:30. Because I?m always early, it?s like I half expect others to be the same. 90% of the time this is never the case, but again my anxiety was on high alert (it?s the only way I can explain it) and I was anxiously awaiting the doorbell going.

And while waiting, I was on edge. With every noise and car door outside, I thought it was you arriving, so the nerves and butterflies [and adrenaline], kicked in.

When I get nervous I always seem to need the loo a lot more. Because I have to think ahead (because of my chronic pain) I did go to the loo ready; the last thing I wanted was the distraction of needing the loo whilst trying to concentrate on and remember what you were saying. But in the time waiting for you I must have gone another three times. In fact, I?m still waiting so I?ve lost count.

Oh and another thing, I?d unlocked my side gate ready for your arrival. I know you?re a busy man so I wanted things to be ready for you, and for me not to cause any delays and time at my house longer than necessary. Because you didn?t turn up, my dogs wanted to go out (yes, they had been outside in good time before you were due to turn up) and thankfully I remembered the gate was unlocked. You don?t want to know the thoughts that go through my head if I were to leave the gate unlocked. I think, in the whole time I was waiting for you before I realised you weren?t coming (when it was dark – you see, I still had some hope) my dogs went out another two times. And each time I thankfully remembered to lock the gate.

Some of the above thoughts and worries aren?t always big, they can sometimes pop in to my head for a few seconds. Nonetheless, they are there, and they seem to stay in my subconscious (or whatever the technical term is) and the combination of all these thoughts can be overwhelming and mentally draining. ?Because of my anxiety, part of me is relieved you didn?t show up, but I was more annoyed in the end.

I think deep down I half expected you to let me down, as this whole not turning up business seems to be a common trait amongst tradesmen. And to be quite honest and frank with you, and forgive my language, but it really pisses me off. In my line of work, if we just didn?t turn up for an appointment, or a meeting, it wouldn?t be acceptable. So why is it acceptable in your line of business? It doesn?t take much to communicate and send a quick message to let someone know you?re no longer able to make it. Especially as that was how we were communicating when we set up the appointment.

See now I?m thinking, are you ok? Did something happen that meant you couldn?t turn up? Did you have an emergency that didn?t allow you to send a quick text? See, the catastrophizing is real.

If I?m wrong with all of the above, then I am sorry. It’s not your fault that I react in this way, and how are you to know. This is me, and this is what my anxiety does. It takes over. But please please please can you think about letting people know if you can no longer attend an appointment.

And now I?m worried what you think of me…

Until next time, when I go through all this again, all the best.


PS I know you?re ok because I can see you?ve read my follow up messages

Thanks for reading



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34 thoughts on “A letter from the girl with anxiety to the tradesman who never showed up

  1. Zoe says:


    I deal with anxiety too but I feel that you have to look outside your own perspective. Maybe the tradesman was having a bad day? Maybe he even has anxieties of his own? Maybe he doesn?t like to face letting you know because he doesn?t like letting people down and practices avoidance?

    I think it?s great to write about personal feelings and experiences but a lot of the time, all that we, experiencing anxiety types need to do is realise when we are being insular and only thinking selfishly of ourselves.

    • Alice says:

      Thanks for your comment Zoe. You raise seem good points and I do agree with you. Unfortunately my brain doesn’t really do rational thinking like this when I’m really anxious – I really wish it did. I do understand things happen and there is always a reason for why people don’t always show up as planned – life gets in the way at times. Maybe he didn’t want to let me down, but he made me more anxious and frustrated that he didn’t contact me at all. A little customer service goes a long way, especially in his line of work. Hindsight is a brilliant thing, and we just need to learn and much as we can from these experiences πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa Orchard says:

    Well written post, Alice. I’m sorry this guy didn’t show up. I know things happen, but a phone call to reschedule would’ve the professional thing to do. Communication is so important in our world and it really is easy to do. He’ll definitely be losing customers.

    • Alice says:

      He’s certainly lost me as a customer πŸ™‚ And yes, I agree, there’s no excuse for not communicating these days.

  3. Shailaja says:

    Oh dear Alice! I’m so sorry you had to go through this. As someone who understands anxiety this is a very real situation. I’m. In awe of how you’ve written it all down and with such clarity too. I so hope the salesman reads this and makes good on his next appointment. Big hugs.

  4. Debbie says:

    Alice this is a great honest post. Even though I don?t suffer from anxiety I can totally relate to your way of 5hiknong and I feel for you. To be worried about the tradesman also shows your caring nature and concern for him, regardless of his letting you down. I think it?s so wrong that many tradesman just don?t communicate and don?t r3lisr what effect this has on many of us. Well written!

  5. Lowen Puckey says:

    You’ve expressed yourself so well – I think anxiety, like depression, is just so hard for people who haven’t experienced it to understand. Lowen @ livingpositivelywithdisability.com

  6. Nicola J Ogston says:

    Great letter honey. I hate waiting on people whether it?s trademans or deliveri s. I get so on edge. I think it stems from my anxieties but also waiting to be picked up by my father at weekends. Standing at the window watching and waiting for him. I?m sorry the tradesman didn?t even bother to get in touch to say he wouldn?t make it. Some people are so inconsiderate and rude
    N x

    • Alice says:

      Hi Nicola. It?s horrible isn?t it. I?m glad it?s not just me but also sad that lots of people feel the same. Every time it happens it must bring back so many memories for you. Some people just don?t care do they x

  7. Clarice says:

    It’s tough for others especially tradesmen to think from other person’s perspective. They have their own time zones. Even though I don’t suffer from anxiety, these people can give me an attack anytime!

    • Alice says:

      I think they frustrate a lot of people. Love your comment about their own time zones – so true!

  8. Gill Hubbert says:

    I identify with so much that you have said. I have a mild anxiety disorder. I hate answering the front door, having tradespeople around (always late or never show). I even hate making phone calls! I always seem to be on edge! Thank you for writing about this. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. Gill xx

    • Alice says:

      You?re welcome. I?m pleased you could relate to it and it helps you not to feel alone, but at the same time I?m sorry to suffer the same things as me – it?s not easy is it x

    • Alice says:

      Thank you so much Lorna. I?m glad you understand too – but also sorry that you understand, if that makes sense x

  9. Simon Farnell says:

    Hi Alice, I just saw this tagged in someone’s tweet. Tradesmen are an annoying breed even when you don’t have anxiety and I have rarely ever called one out and prefer to do things myself. But when you have to call one and deal with the anxiety I can see that it took guts to do what you did and it does show that generally these trades can be very uncaring.
    I hope you find one better ?

    • Alice says:

      Thank you Simon ? I haven?t used this tradesman, thankfully. I didn?t want to go through that again. I had a really good plumber do some work the other week – totally different to the guy I wrote about , and it made such a difference. If not they were all like him!

  10. Ritu says:

    Thank you for sharing this insight into anxiety. It’s not easy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so to read something like this… Really opens the eyes.

    • Alice says:

      I?m glad you think so ? It was easy to write but really tough to hit publish. So glad I?ve done it though ?

  11. Fiona Maclean says:

    Empathising. The builders who are supposed to be doing a quote for me are just outside my window – and have been for 20 minutes. I’m waiting! And getting more nervous!

  12. Jill says:

    Beautifully written and so honest. Thanks for sharing this. JIll PS I am chronically early for everything too – annoys me sometimes !!

    • Alice says:

      Thanks Jill – that?s fab feedback. I?m glad I?m not the only mega early bird – I must waste so much of my life being so early. Handy to little blog bits of work while I wait though ha ha x

  13. Lucy says:

    This is a great insight into anxiety. I think this post is really enlightening. It is also useful for me as I am currently writing a draft novel about someone who is plagued by anxiety. Do you do any beta reading? When its finished I will be looking for reviewers to see whether things like my take on anxiety is correct and whether its realistic. Let me know whether you would be interested in helping me out? Also if you ever fancy guest blogging you are most welcome on BlondeWriteMore πŸ™‚

    • Alice says:

      Hi Lucy. Thank you for your comment and feedback about my post. I don?t normally read novels but I?d happily make an exception and review yours to give you my thoughts on the anxiety side of things. Thank you for asking ? And I would love to do a guest blog post sometime. Let me know what sort of thing you are after and I?ll get something written ? Feel free to drop me an email using my email address in the contact section of my blog x

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