This is probably one of the hardest blog posts I’ll write, partly because I have very little energy today so even typing is a challenge, but also because of what it’s about.
On Friday evening we had our work Christmas Party.
This was a big challenge for me to go to anyway, lots of people, lots of alcohol, people dressed up looking really beautiful etc. When I was getting myself ready before heading off, I was in the toilets at my work, hands shaking doing my make up.
The entire ritual of getting dressed and ready for a night out still makes my mind go a million miles an hour, for lots of reasons really. Nights out hold some really painful, embarrassing and traumatic memories for me, so bit by bit I’m trying to challenge myself and go to these kind of events and be okay from start to finish.
But I gave myself a bit of a mental chat, breathed in and out, grounded myself and was okay. Ready to give this a solid go.
And for a huge portion of the night, I surprised myself with how well I was doing. I drank some drinks, and was actively going up to people and initiating conversations. The last thing people would have thought about me was that I had an anxiety disorder.
Then unfortunately it all went a bit down hill. I don’t remember all of it, but a really good friend who helped me the whole evening told me yesterday exactly what happened.
I came back from the toilet and walked through people and tripped and fell over a bit, people just came up to me to help me up, but presumably because so many people surrounded me so quick, my mind went “That’s it. You’ve ruined it. You look ridiculous now and everyone thinks it” and before I knew what was happening I was hyperventilating my body getting tenser and tenser, and was being taken outside.
It’s all a complete blur from then onwards. I remember being put into the recovery position and looking along the street where I was lying and hardly believing it was happening. Then I was being put into an ambulance.
An ambulance. The loudest and brightest of any possible get away vehicle.
I had my friend with me whilst we were going to A&E, but all I could keep thinking was just leave me. Just drop me off and leave me alone. I just want this to stop. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, my body had completely shut down on me, and my mind was racing telling me all the things I dreaded to hear every time I went out on a night out.
Look at yourself. People will just think you were doing it for attention. You got taken away from a work party in an ambulance. You’re that girl.
I got to A&E and was put into a room on a bed, and was having an anxiety attack the longest I’ve ever experienced one. Someone had called my fiance and told him to get to the hospital. And then when he walked in I felt even more shame than I had before.
How could you do this to him?
Eventually when my body had calmed down, we got a cab back to our flat. I had a bath, and got into bed.
But I couldn’t stop crying. I just wanted to disappear.
The next day I woke up and felt awful, but I had to get my car from where I’d left it the night before. So I got up, showered, put on make up [god knows why] and got myself on a train back to where I needed to go.
The train was rammed. People talking about their nights out, going to football, Christmas plans. And I felt myself get the shakes and sweat and I knew I had to make a dart to the toilet before I threw up in front of a train full of people. When you’ve just had a huge anxiety attack and been taken away in an ambulance, the last thing you ever want to do is be in a public place the next day and bring attention to yourself.
I think I’ve met my attention quota for a long time.
I got off the train and walked to my car. Going over things again and again in my head.
I went to see my friend who helped me the night before. I just cried a lot, and said to her how humiliated I felt, and that I was having really dark thoughts when I got home because I just wanted it to stop.
I don’t want to feel like this anymore. The most frustrating thing is it’s not even that I have a complete lack of awareness as to why I have these thoughts and feelings. I know the root causes of all of them. Who it was that made me end up like this and what situations I’ve been in that have caused these reactions. I know all of that. And yet I still can’t get through one night.
And if I had just done it for one more hour. If I had just sat in a corner quietly, then gone home I’d have done it. I was so close.
I rang my best friend today to speak to him about it and as always he was wise and listened to me.
He said “all that happened Abby is that you tripped. That’s it. Good metaphor really, as you physically tripped, but you also tripped mentally. You had a slip up.”
I did have a slip up. I was smashing it, then I slipped up.
So now I need to work on processing that and not punishing myself for it and trying to see the positives from it. Right now that’s really hard, because I still feel those really negative emotions.
I’m still having dark thoughts today because I keep thinking how much easier it would be for those closest to me if they didn’t have to deal with this anymore.
I just need to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again.
After all…all I did was trip.