Monday, November 19, 2012

Irrational Freak Show

I freaked out yesterday.

I have been visiting my best friend in her home since we were in 8th grade.  I know her.  I know her family.  I know her house.  It's all very familiar.  And safe.  She's added a husband and some sweet little boys to the mix since then, but I know them.  They are familiar.  They are safe.

Familiarity and safety have no place, however, in the irrational world of panic attacks.

Ten seconds after pulling out of my driveway, I knew it was going to be bad.  My heart sank into my stomach, and I started to sweat.  And I was scared.  Fuckscared.  Walking thru her front door might has well have been walking straight into the devil's living room, for all the fear I felt.

The house was full of people.  Loud people.  Friendly and boisterous people.  People who are special to my friend, and who I want very much to think well of me.

I felt immediately trapped, and uneasy.  Paranoid.

What do you mean,
"pass the coleslaw"?!
I get quiet.  I get fold-y.  Trying to pull myself inside of my outer shell, and disappear within.  The conversations and the noises swirling around me, sinking me deeper and deeper into a pit of fear and embarrassment. 

Because it is embarrassing.  I don't want to be a wall-flowery person.  I want to be a social butterfly-y person.  I want to flit around the room hugging everyone, telling hilarious stories, and charming the pants off of everyone I meet.  I want to giggle and enjoy such great company.  Not shrink into a chair, all socially awkward and nervous.

We stayed as long as I was able.
I miss my friend.  And I hate that I was only able to manage a few hours with her, because my brain is a fuck.  I hate that I am constantly robbed of what should be fun, memory-making experiences, because I can't control the constant misfires inside of my body.

I have lovely friends, and an incredibly tolerant and supportive husband, who are able to remind me that this feeling isn't real.  Beautiful people, who call me sweet, comforting pet names, and assure me that I'm going to be alright.  This is tremendous, and valuable.  I have been on the other end of the spectrum, either with no one to comfort me, or with someone being angry with me, and choosing to belittle me over my uncontrollable panic.  So I realize how lucky I am to be so surrounded in love.

But in the depths of violent anxiety, no one loves me.  Everyone who is unfortunate enough to be near me is disgusted by me.  I am alone.  And nothing will ever be right again, ever ever.
There are boogie men everywhere, and all of them are after me.  What a freak show.

I have to believe that there is something in my brain that can be rewired, redirected, or just plain fixed, that will make this stop.  Something that simply needs to be straightened, or tightened.
Although I suppose it's possible that my brain is simply an asshole, looking to amuse himself at my expense.
Fuck you, brain.

Oh, you wish to have a peaceful afternoon with your friends?
Let me sing you the song of my people...


  1. I suffer from social anxiety too, and have for as long as I can remember. I have a vivid memory of visiting the city with my family during school holidays when I was about 8 (I grew up in the Australian desert), and walking through a carpark toward a supermarket and nervously telling my dad "I don't want to do this - all the people!.." He didn't know what to do with me! lol And things haven't changed. I hope you find some peace one day xx Katie

  2. Aww, that sounds scary! Mine started when I was a teenager. Luckily, Mr. Husband is super understanding and supportive, and most of my friends know what kind of weirdo I am, so it's easier for me to navigate thru it than I'm sure it is for some.
    Thanks for commenting!