Even the simplest everyday interactions or decisions can send me into full blown crisis. Panic, dread and major depressive outbursts are the result of me making a decision that involves others, like choosing dinner.
I have only been interacting with my boyfriend, my doctors, insurance reps (UGH) and everyone else (bus drivers, cashiers) were by consequence only and required no engaged interaction. This has been going on for 6 months. I have isolated myself. This is not only unhealthy but is counteractive to my progress through social anxiety and major depression. As per my last blog post I am done hiding. As much of a struggle as I find it to go out into the world and have worldly connections and relationships I MUST if I am to regain a healthy and fulfilled life. My first quest is to visit my Papa and my Sister who live a few hours away. I am staying with them now, in fact. Intense.
I was sitting on the back deck enjoying a bit of sun, crocheting and tweeting when my father very casually came out and asked if I still like Chinese food. Which I do, very much. Great! We chat briefly. As he goes to step inside he says he's thinking of going out to the restaurant together for the buffet meal. Unable to retract my interest (at that moment) everything inside me dies at once while I squeak out an "ok" as he goes back inside.
Now, I have been to this buffet before. Its great food. Friends family owns the place, always fresh and good food. So whats the problem?
Depression & Social Anxiety ATTACK!
Problem #1 Sitting at a table with other people being forced into possible conversation for upwards of 40 minutes. I cannot sit still that long. I at this point in my recovery hold conversations lasting 5 minutes and feel like Ive conquered quite a beast. 40 minutes in a restaurant with all those people surrounding my family all sitting staring at each other for convo with all the clinking and noises.... sensory overload! ..... YIKES! I know the likelihood of a panic attack ruining the meal was minimal. Especially with the Ativan I carry so close like a shield and armour. Regardless, I could not shake impending FEELINGS of being trapped, and doomed to be forced through awkward conversation and interactions. I don't know where my authentic self is but once she's back from fucking me over we'll go out in a crowd. Right now the prospect sends me into fits of tears. More on the tears later.
Problem #2 Seeing people from my past, old friends I have pushed away, while at this restaurant was a distinct possibility. Especially since I know the owners and I'm in a pretty small town. I am not ready to talk about "whats up with you". That question invariably sends me into a wailing panic of tear shed, guilt, shame and disgust. I realize I could have dismissed any running into old pals by saying I was with my family, retreating to our table but this would not stop the tears (I have tears even thinking about it). I'm not really into crying in restaurants and ruining my families meal time. Even if I did somehow manage to avoid "friendly" convo and avoid tears, the extreme tension I felt from just THINKING out the possibility and my possible exit routes was enough to spur vomit and diarrhea..
Problem #3 Vomit and Diarrhea do no blend well in restaurants
Problem #4 I could not stop crying long enough to get ready to go out. I just needed to change and wash up but the closer I came to doing something to get myself ready the most hostile the tears became. *SIGH*
Depression & Anxiety RETREAT!
I remained on the deck a bit longer trying desperately to "get a grip" when my baby sister and her boyfriend came out to join me. She mentions going out for supper. I blatantly say, I don't want to go, can you tell dad. She says she will, calling me a party pooper. She must of noticed the tension on my face and the glistening tips of tears brimming my eyes because she immediately apologized and went to tell dad. Eventually she came back to tell her boyfriend to leave me alone and get off the deck.
Sometimes I think my baby sister is my big sister.
She asked me why I didn't want to go and I shrugged as the lump ion the throat was too big to squeeze any words around. She asked me what was wrong and then tears took their opportunity to show face streaming relentlessly. Sobbing and trying to breathe with whimpering gasps I started to laugh. If I knew what was wrong Id fix it in a hurry. I'm depressed and have a lot of anxiety I told her. I don't know why I'm like this I realize my emotional reaction is greater than the situation warrants. I said I was sorry. She said she understood and gave me a hug. I'm an awfully lucky person.
Getting Past the Problem
Collecting my cool on the deck was going well until my Papa came out to ask if I was okay. Tears streaming down my face, my typically self assured loud voice squeaked a yes. He said he hated seeing me like this and wished he could help. I told him he was helping and that this would pass. It always does. I believe that. These episodes come, they conquer, they leave but each time I have one of these fits I become stronger. I don't let them take *ALL* my self worth anymore. I face them proudly saying okay, you're sad? Be sad. And so I was.
My Papa is not a big talker nor is he really all that emotionally available. He's learning how as he gets older and he's getting real good at it. In the end a 3 minute convo with him lifted my spirits enough that I started feeling like me again. He says he'll bring me back food and if I want to come for the drive I don't even have to get out of the car. But it might be good for me he says in his "I really think you should" voice.
I sat on the deck for at least a couple hours crocheting, writing, crying, tweeting while this was all going on. Papa got ready to go, called in out order and asked again:
"C'mon out for the drive. You never know. You might see something that changes your life."
Mooping & broody I reply "Okay, lets go change my life".
His response was priceless. " I didn't say it was likely I just said it was possible."
He might not realize in what measure but going out with him for the drive did in fact change my life, even if only slightly, for the better.
Lets Get Real
If I am completely honest with you all (more importantly myself) I was having some pretty intense flashbacks from some tulmultuous experiences with my mother. I love my mom but she took psychiological abuse to a whole new level . The things she led me to believe or feel are just insane now that I *know* better. As a child many of these trauamatic experiences I have no memory of and when the memories come back they come in sweeping fists of fury and emotion. This house is filled with haunted memories of my childhood/teenage years and yes, one of those forgotten memories is of all of us going out to "celebrate" at this chinese buffet place. I won't go into all the details of that experience here today but know I am dedicated to finding the route causes of my emotive instability. I WILL GET BETTER. This simply cannot be sustained, this depression and extreme anxiety. I will get better godamnit, if I have to re-live every shitty experience I have ever had I will get better. I have the best support I could ask for. I love my Papa and sisters more than ANY words could ever even begin to describe. I am a very lucky fortunate mess. Yes I am.