Archives for category: anxiety

I’m always learning things about myself. Sometimes I feel as though I am learning the same thing over and over and other times I learn things that are new and surprising!

One thing I learned a long time ago is that I never feel comfortable in groups of girls. I’ve never been the type of person that had a whole bunch of girlfriends. One or two was always just right for me.

As I get older I have to face these gaggles of girls occasionally and I thought I was getting better at it.

When I was getting married I had a Bridal Shower and a Bachelorette and all was well. There were girls and I was fine and even enjoyed myself! By some miracle I even managed to throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law and invited a jillion strangers and was totally cool’ish about it all!

Progress, right?

I thought so, but then, last Sunday happened. A joyful happy occasion that turned into a nightmare. Ugh!

My friend Gena is having a baby! Best news ever! I am amazingly, gushingly happy for her and her husband and I can’t wait to meet their baby!

She had her Baby Shower last Sunday and I was invited. I was nervous about going right from the start because when I throw a Shower it’s in my house or a backyard and when she does it it’s in a nice restaurant or a Hall somewhere and there are real plates and silverware and shit. She’s totally fancier than me! 🙂 Not a bad thing. Just a thing.

So of course, this Shower is in a restaurant and it’s not right near my house so I’ll have to drive there and this place will be full of women I don’t know. It’s a measure of my love for her that I even agreed to go. 😀

The day comes and I’m nervous about going and about what to wear. I am a jeans and t-shirt girl all the way. I never wear makeup. I don’t know how to do my hair. These things have never appealed to me and I’m normally fine with it. I become aware of this lack when occasions like this arise, however. I text Gena and ask if I should wear a dress … I really don’t want to because I only have two that fit and I used those up for her Bridal Shower and Wedding all those years ago. She says there will be people in jeans so I relax a bit.

Things started to go wrong on the way there. I got lost. New thing I learned about myself: I can have a map on my phone and step-by-step directions and still get lost! What the eff, me?

I called Eric from the car because I was starting to freak out. I’d been driving in circles and realized I needed help. Eric is better than OnStar.

I was telling him that I was lost and I started to get a little weepy. I pulled over and we figured out what I’d done wrong.

First mistake: I used the map thingy that opens when I click on an address and not the proper GPS that speaks to me and tells me where to go!

Second mistake: I got off the highway an exit early even though I swear the map thingy directions told me to. Never using the non-talking one again!

Eric set me right and I found my way there. I was 1/2 an hour late and I hate, hate, HATE being late. I’m always early. I think it’s a control thing. I can get the lay of the land before the shit goes down and then I feel safe.

I walk in and the place is just full of women. I put my gift down and Gena’s sister-in-law greets me warmly and even asks someone if they saved a seat for me. She was awesome. 🙂

I think I might be okay with this. Maybe. Kinda. I find Gena and I say hi and rub her belly … I totally do that all the time, even before she was pregnant. 🙂

Everyone is already eating so I find a seat and I ask a lady if it’s taken and she’s like, “No, but you need to get a place setting because I took that one.”  I look down and it’s just a bare spot. I sit down and the woman on my right doesn’t even look at me and the woman on my left is on her phone or something. I feel utterly alone and out of place. And everyone is dressed nicely. God dammit!

To be fair, these women don’t know me and I didn’t sit down and greet them all like, “Hi!! I’m Jenny! How do you know Gena? Want to drink some wine and talk about shoes or whatever girls do at things like this?” I just sat down, clutching my bag and didn’t say anything.

Then, it happened. I lost my shit.

I knew I was going to cry. I had that pit of the stomach, bleak feeling and I knew it was over.

I texted Eric because I thought it might help.

BB1

Right after I sent it I got up and went to the bathroom because I knew that tears would happen. I felt that shaky feeling coming on.

Before Eric could even reply I sent this:

BB2

I was in a bathroom stall, bawling my eyes out and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t handle all those people. I felt like a total failure. Who loses their shit because they’re in a room of people? Normal people do this all the time!!

Eric texted for me to call him but I couldn’t. So he called me.

He spent time on the phone with me, calming me down. Telling me to try to get control of my breathing. I stood in the stall with my back against the cool partition, feeling like an asshole and trying to breathe.

Eric is amazing. He told me I didn’t have to go back to the party. He helped me get enough control of myself to stop crying and to breathe regularly. He suggested I find Gena, tell her I couldn’t stay and then come home.

I saw myself in the mirror and knew that wasn’t happening.  I left the bathroom and pretty much ran for the door. I texted Gena that I had to go and I was sorry.

I felt like a total failure. I drove home crying and feeling ashamed and stupid. I kept thinking if I’d done something differently this wouldn’t have happened. If I’d left earlier, worn a dress, hadn’t gotten lost, hadn’t gone by myself …

I am not sure why this happened. There’s still a part of me that thinks I don’t have panic attacks. It was just a bad day.

Gena and I texted about it after and she was amazing. She knows I’m nuts. She’s a little nuts too. 😉 That’s why we get along even though she’s fancy. 😀

Eric took care of me for the rest of the day. He let me watch The Force Awakens and eat popcorn. He told me not to beat myself up and that this stuff just happens. He was surprised I even made it to the restaurant after getting lost, so I guess that’s a plus right? I made it farther than expected. Victory?

I still feel embarrassed about it but writing helps. I feel as though I’m putting this out into the world for others to grab on to if they need it.

If anyone reads this and goes through the same thing, just know that you’re not alone! There’s a tribe of misfits out in the world that does stupid shit like falling to bits at the sight of a room full of women. 😉

I lost that day, but I think next time I’ll be better prepared. I’ll already have the popcorn bought and the DVD cued up so when I stay home I’ll be entertained. 😉

I’ve been thinking about anxiety lately. More specifically, how it relates to me.

Before I started exorcising my depression demons it was so overwhelming that I never gave a thought to the part that anxiety played in the whole deal. Even now, I’m just starting to explore that side of my … okay, let’s take a short detour here: I didn’t know what words to use there and writing “mental illness” felt wrong. I was trying to think of any words other than those for two reasons:

1. I don’t want people to think that’s all I am and that they should feel bad for me.

2. I feel as though by saying “mental illness” that it weakens me. But eff that! Eff it all!! Let’s do this right, and be proud and own it! Here we go…

Before I started exorcising my depression demons, it was so overwhelming that I never gave a thought to the part that anxiety played in the whole deal. Even now, I’m just starting to explore that side of my mental illness (eff you world!). I would tell people that I don’t go out a lot because of social anxiety, but I was always being sort of half serious. The weird part is, I think I’m right.

It’s not crippling anxiety and I think that’s why I never truly acknowledged it. I have a sort of “stage fright anxiety”. If I have to go out and do something I get all wound up thinking about it and I get grumpy. But once I’m there I’m usually fine. Usually. There are always exceptions.

I’m not good with changing plans either. I need to mentally prepare for what I’m doing and if it changes I freak out slightly. Just slightly. Normally that means I end up being rude to someone. I would guess that someone is usually Eric. Poor Eric. He’s a Saint!

Last weekend my mom reminded me that when I was a kid I would always get sick if there was an exciting event coming up. I figured it was just bad luck. It’s hard to think of little kid me having anxiety! Sometimes I want to go back in time and give kid me a hug and tell her it gets better. She was so lonely and confused. But that’s another story!

Look at Kid Me. She's so cute!

Look at Kid Me. She’s so cute!

I don’t have crazy panic attacks where I have to curl up in a ball and hide, but I recently recalled an episode I had years ago, which I will call my “non-panic panic attack”.

I was at work, changing lives, and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I used my puffer, but it didn’t help and I started to freak out a bit. I went into the bathroom and called my boyfriend, who told me to breathe. Not helpful. This was not Eric. I feel I should make that clear. Eric is a Saint.

I ended up going to a walk-in clinic near my work. By the time I got in to see a doctor I was okay. The appointment went something like this:

Doctor: It sounds like you had a panic attack.

Me: No. I don’t have those.

Doctor: Sometimes they occur when you’re worrying about something, or you’re feeling stressed.

Me: I’m not stressed about anything.

Doctor: Sometimes you don’t realize you are until you have a panic attack.

Me: Nope.

Doctor: I’ll prescribe you these pills that will help you calm down. They might make you drowsy.

Me: But I don’t have panic attacks.

Doctor: Take this prescription and get out.

I went home and took a pill and had a nice nap on the couch. I never actually thought it was a panic attack. Perhaps it was. It wasn’t debilitating, but it did freak me out. I never went to my regular doctor to discuss it. I probably should have.

When I review my life with this in mind there are other instances I can think of where the same thing happened. So many revelations lately! Depression and anxiety! Who’s the luckiest girl in the world?

There seriously needs to be a font that indicates sarcasm. Maybe I’ll invent one.

By the way … today I’m winning!