Thanks to this post, I want to write a blog post about my anxiety issues. On the other hand, I really don’t want to write a blog post about my anxiety issues. So, instead, I’m going to write a story about a party that may have involved quite a bit of anxiety. So there.
Yesterday, we hosted a graduation party for my brother-in-law. It wasn’t a large deal, maybe twenty or thirty people over. Some of Nikki’s and the graduate’s family, some of his friends, some of our friends who are also his friends. There was good food, good company, nerdery, and crazy children. No big deal.
I’d spent the morning, since the time I woke up, cleaning. I focused on the kitchen, but putting stuff where it goes can sometimes branch out to other bits of cleaning. I helped Nikki out when she needed help with what she was cleaning. My brother-in-law picked up one of the tasks that was on my list, and did a great job on getting the deck and outside furniture ready.
I had taken my medication, so my baseline anxiety level was improved. By the end of the cleaning, and before anyone showed up, I was exhausted. The kids were excited, and therefore insane. Maybe I spent too many spoons too early. In any case, when people started to arrive, I was able to keep myself calm, but I was changing rooms whenever too many people entered, and eying the exits of wherever I was (even though it was my own home, and I damn well knew where I could go if I needed). By the time food was served, I ducked out of the back deck, headed around the house, and ate on the front porch swing, alone.
I had felt the gradual build-up of that familiar suffocating panic, recognized it for what it was, and knew that Bad Things were imminent. I removed myself from the environment, and recharged as I wolfed down far too many delicious carbohydrates.
I’m feeling twitchy just remembering it.
I rejoined the party afterward, and I was able to enjoy myself, more or less. My brother-in-law had a graduation party, I didn’t have any meltdowns, and everyone seemed to leave happy and full. It was a successful gathering, without a doubt.
A gathering of people to celebrate a high school graduation seems like it should be such a small, easy thing. As far as I know, it is for most people. I’m at a loss to explain why it’s so difficult for me, why it seems to get worse as I get older, or why my brain is broken in this particular way. I keep coming back to a set of lyrics from Soul Coughing:
I don’t mind the worry following me like a dinosaur
I don’t fear I am descending into the molten core
So far, I have not found the science
But the numbers keep on circling me