Sunday, February 6, 2011

Agoraphobia has set in.

I sat shaking.

I had told my Trust List friends I'd be there at 7:00.  I started trembling with fear at 6:00, terrified of a group of people I don't know, and distressed that people might sincerely ask me, "How are you doing?"

I shuddered with a battle in my head (i'm not going.  i've gotta go.  i'm not going.  i've gotta go.) until 6:45, when the obligation to my Trust List friends kicked in.

If it wasn't for them being there for me when I needed them, I wouldn't have felt the pull to keep my word and show up.

I dressed faster than lightning in what little clothing I have due to the sewage flood.  When there's not much to choose from, it's easy.

I pulled on my only pair of jeans with a 'heave-ho", allowing my muffin-top to fall with certainty over the sides (they're a little tight after 2 months of being idle), found a fresh t-shirt that is clearly meant for warm summer weather, then sniffed and pulled on one of my 2 sweatshirts (it really needs cleaning, but damn! it's not as bad as the other one!).

I didn't bother doing my make-up, as that would make me later still!  Besides, I just didn't feel like drawing attention to myself by being the fancy one.  It wasn't a peacock tail spreading night, that's for sure!

It was now 7:00 and I live on the other end of the city from where the gathering was.

As I drove, my stomach complained odorously with displeasure of being forced to go somewhere it didn't want to.  There were also hints to say that if I didn't tread lightly, I could expect the next level of trouble.

The moment I stopped my car in that well lit spot of the parking lot, the panic attack set in.  I grabbed my belongings tightly and marched toward the taproom anyway. 

I'm here!  I might as well go in!

Walking to the lounge, I texted my dear sick Papi, "I'm not doing very well.  I'm having a panic attack."

I grasped the door handle of the building, and closed my eyes in hopes that I'd get to sit before I actually fainted.  Passing out in this neighborhood is asking to be robbed and/or physically attacked.

I found the table and sat eagerly in the seat beside 2 of my Trust List friends, just as the feeling of a black out became absolute.  I was grateful for the dark bar, because they couldn't see tears that were welling up.  I could just pretend I was ok.

I was far from 'ok'.

I was having trouble breathing from the panic attack, and felt I was on the verge of becoming unconscious.  I've never actually keeled over from these attacks, but it seriously feels so damn close each and every time when I lose all feeling of my face, hands and legs.

This feeling of euphoria was something I used to chase when I was a using addict.  It's not welcomed anymore, but it pompously displayed it's presence for the full hour and a half I suffered through.

During my first few minutes of trying to calm myself and catch my breath, it came.

The birthday girl wanted find out how I was doing.  "Really, how are you?  How is the transition coming along?"

I meekly said, "I can't talk about 'it' right now.  Not here.  But happy birthday!  This is my first outing in a group since it all happened."

She gave me the knowing nod, eyes staring with intention of support through non-verbal words, lips pierced tightly, then said lovingly, "I'm honored that you could be here."

The tears welled up again.

This was an awful hour and a half of pretending I'm 'normal' like everyone else chirping happily at that table.  I was in survival mode.

When 2 of my Trust List friends had to leave, I didn't want to be rude and make it seem like the birthday girl's clan were abandoning her, so I decided I would stay seated for a few minutes. 

nope, not gonna happen

I jumped up while the chaos of leaving was upon the room and gave my goodbye hugs.

It was more like a desperate hug that said, "Please hold me!  Don't let go!  Cradle me like the mother I wish I had."  I fell tiny and weak in their arms.

My friends obliged.  They held me and told me I did well.

That was as good as I could do.  I did my best.

It exhausted me.  I felt I'd been up for 48 hours straight; numb and speechless.

I slept very well last night.

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