Sunday, June 07, 2009

Paranoia and Social Anxiety

Last night I went with my boyfriend to his house to celebrate a friend's birthday. I felt anxious about going beforehand, but have wanted to get to know his friends more so really felt it was important I go.

The party was taking place in the garden. When we arrived there was an incredible local bluegrass band playing. Instantaneously I loved their music. I really wanted to experience their songs fully. However, as I stepped onto the deck and was introduced to a few people I had this intense sense of panic and fear. I wanted so badly to leave, get out of there, disappear.

I stayed. I continued to panic. no one talked to me and I was to scared to talk to anyone. In fact I felt too frightened to even moved lest someone was watching me. I felt like if I move everyone would look at me. When they looked at me they would think bad things about me.

The more I experienced these thoughts the more socially awkward I became. The more socially awkward I became, the more anxious I became. After about 1/2 an hour of this I went into my boyfriend's room too calm down and get myself together. As I stepped into the room and shut the door tears began to well up in my eyes and I began to sob.

I cannot manage these feelings. I was feeling like everyone was waiting for me to do something bad. I felt as though the second I moved or talked or tried to participate I was going to do something intensely embarrassing or stupid.

I managed to go back to the party and sit on the garden wall, alone on the outside edge of the garden; an outsider looking in. I listened quietly to the band and tried to remain as innocuous, as invisible, as possible. I do not understand feeling like this given earlier in my life I loved parties, meeting new people, and experiencing new things.

My boyfriend came and sat next to me. He seemed to feel the social anxiety too. He invited me upstairs to the upper deck, away from the people, but still technically, at the party, albeit from a distance. I became so intensely relieved I began to cry again. He understood, and said he felt the same way.

He asked if I wanted to leave. I did not really want to, because I understand how I need to face these fears to get over them. I said as much. He told me he could not stay any longer and needed to get out of there as he was intensely anxious.

Secretly I was relieved he wanted to go. We came home and took my dog for a late night walk. Quietly, alone together on a warm spring night; only the darkness surrounding us...that was relaxing and fun.


Polar Bear said...

That must have been so hard for you to attend the party with so many people around. Im glad your boyfriend was so understanding and caring. You certianly deserve someone lik ehim.

Aqua said...

Thanks Polar Bear. Yes he is so sweet to me. and I so appreciate it.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

I do not understand feeling like this given earlier in my life I loved parties, meeting new people, and experiencing new things.

Oh boy here you go again reading my mind. I feel this way too. I was the party animal and social butterfly back when I wasn't disabled from my illness. I can't tell if what I was then was really me or the illness and that is highly confusing.

I'm glad that your bf was so helpful--thank goodness for him. You guys seem to lean well upon each other.

Anonymous said...

I get afraid going places too. Even leaving the house is difficult. It's so bad I even throw up when I have to go out. I understand exactly what you're going through.