I just dashed out of Beer Friday and raced home in fear. A good 15min drive home and my heart’s still pounding in my chest. I can feel my stomach churn and ache from the knots. I have an urge to cry, scream or panic.
I was fine. I was standing with two women I have years of established friendship with. Two women who have shared some of their darkest secrets with me. I told them how I had
talked myself into coming forced myself to come out and I was glad I did. I had loved seeing the people I have forged this eleven year friendship with. I was questioning myself as to why I ever have to force myself to see my friends…..
And suddenly there were too many people. About 3hrs had passed and maybe 25 to 30 people were milling around chatting away. There was good music with a great beat playing. Two tables filled with food and a kitchen overflowing with beverages of every kind. I could name about 3/4 of the people in attendance. I felt myself begin to question what I had to talk about and the next thing I knew my heart was pounding so loud I could barely follow the conversation. I took a few deep breaths. It seemed to help. I changed groups and engaged in conversation. My heart started pounding again only this time is was accompanied by waves of anxiety. The kind of waves that make me feel like I must be going fucking insane. There is no rhyme or reason. There is nothing for me to fear. Yet I feel my stomach turn over and a wave rises from my gut to my face. It’s a hot physical wave of anxiety dripping with fear.
I walked away. I sat down on a semi-secluded couch and took a few deep breaths. I could hear distinct voices of people I know and love. Yet I was so overcome with embarrassment I could not bring myself to ask for help. I thought of at least two women at the party whom I knew I could pull aside and ask for help and they would not judge me. I could not do it. I grabbed my keys, smiled and even gave a few hugs. I felt myself calm down knowing I was leaving. But in my van I sat with my heart pounding and fought off tears.
The waves continued as I drove home. I searched for a reason. What is triggering me? Nothing….. I’ve got no answer other than I have fucking PTSD and ever since the last trigger I have been unable to shut the social anxiety part off. There is no reason other than the crowd gets too big and I go from zero to heart pounding physically very uncomfortable symptoms. I’m still having the waves. I’ve been home long enough to say hello to the dogs, change into my nightie and sit down to type. I am still getting waves of physical anxiety and heart palpitations. I feel annoying and stupid.
I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I have a small crowd limit now. I have an urge to cry and feel sorry for myself. I wont allow it. I would rather sit here all night and take deep breaths then I would break down and cry over this shit any more. I didn’t fucking deserve to be abused. it’s not my fault I have the fucking PTSD and yet I am humiliated and embarrassed that it can still do this.
And yet I still have my clarity. I know exactly what it is. I know what the anxiety is from. I know that the tapes of my childhood got triggered and a social situation turns them on and WHAM hello social anxiety waves. They are stronger than they were eleven years ago when I first pushed past them to join this community. I didn’t know what it was back then. I just thought I was weird and a chicken shit. Again, thus the creation of “the bitch.” Now I recognize what is happening and try to take myself down. If I can not, I leave. It sucks but the alternative is worse. Get drunk and possibly make an ass of myself because I am so caught up my social anxiety that it causes me to show off or get cocky. I don’t want to be the cocky bitch any more. I feel lost and sometimes panicked without her. So today, my clarity allows me to leave and do what I need to do for me. Like last weekend when I choose to go back to the hotel. Tonight I choose to come home. And that is OK. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me coming home and I dont need to beat myself or feel about it today. That is a huge difference for me.
I find myself thinking “well I guess I better keep investing in my friendships privately and get used to not going to the big events.” And I am OK with that too. Camping is different. I have my space that I can isolate in when needed and recharge.
I don’t require me to stay and fake it any more.