So when you have anxiety like I do then you tend to develop coping mechanisms for certain social situations. These enable you to do things like everyone else but in ways that make you feel safe and in control. A deviation from this makes me feel extra nervous and edgy.
Coping mechanisms, of course, are shit.
There stop you being the regular person you want to be, they make you feel alienated from your friends and the usual humdrum social norms that they take for granted. And its in no way their fault that they don't take your problems into the equation. Cos you don't tell them. Cos you're so fucking ashamed of your weakness that it would be better just to find excuses or ways of avoiding things.
I'll give you a real life example of what I mean
Last weekend I has concert in the evening with friends. These are friends who regularly read this blog (I mean, who else would?!) so they know quite a lot about my 'quirks' and somehow that doesn't matter.
I had a sandwich at lunchtime and my usual 'operating procedure' would be that I wouldn't eat again until the gig was over. The reason is simple. When my panic attacks and anxiety build I feel queasy, faint and lightheaded, like I'm about to throw up. So faced with large crowds and being anywhere but at the edge of them the sensible option for my brain is to not eat beforehand - for hours if possible. This is despite never having thrown up while in high anxiety \ panic mode. Yep makes no sense.
So it came to around 6pm and my pals suggested getting something to eat before heading down to the venue.
Now normally I would have found some excuse to avoid this but really I couldn't. It had been such a great
n 'normal' day so far that I didn't want spoil anyone's evening by making them awkward or at worst hungry because of my problems. Yet I also wasn't going to sit there sipping water whilst they chowed down on burgers n the like! So against years of habit I decided to have something to eat before a gig. Was a bit nervous but boy was the burger good. And the onion rings - divine!
So I did the gig. We weren't that far into the crowd but it didn't really bother me. In fact i maybe felt better than I usually do. Yes - I can hear you cry - because you had a tum full of burger. Quite possibly yes. However it was the fact that I did it that was the important thing. My anxiety lost out to my trust in my pals, my need not to let them down and my belief in myself that I could cope. Small victories.
The drugs help me stand up but I need to drop the habits of half a lifetime and that's unsurprisingly a tall order.
Got to say my friends have been so kind to me over the past month or so and really bought me through the January\Feb blues that laid me low. Thank you. And be patient with me, The emphasis is on coping and I'm trying the best I can.