Panic Disorder Equals Social Suckage

I was awake til nearly 4 a.m. I couldn’t get comfortable. The clock was ticking and I knew soon, it would be time to get up and take my daughter to her Sunday School program. Tick, tock. The more I told myself I needed to sleep, the more the anxiety built. So I tried the no pressure approach, telling myself it was just one more night, no big deal, go to sleep, relax…
Epic fail.
So when the alarm did go off…My get up and go was…um, gone.
But, my determination was strong and so we got dressed and went.

The first bolt of panic hit when I saw the packed parking lot. Breathing was no longer automatic, I had to remind myself to do it.
Entering an unfamiliar place set off the next round of panic.
Realizing I was in a church for the first time in nearly twenty years…Third bolt of panic.
But, hey, my self deprecating humor was in tact, because as I stepped inside, I thought (really) “Hey, nothing’s blown up or burst into flames.”
Found a seat. K, the lady who has been so kind to us, find us immediately and introduced me to my “buddy” who would walk me through the regime. Nice nice lady, but very very serious about her religion. Ya know, tearing up and almost sobbing during a prayer.
My comfort level was um, non existent. I don’t agree with church teachings, I just don’t. So in additional to discomfort, I was also feeling guilty because it felt like me having my own opinion was somehow an affront to those who have faith.
My child was squirming, climbing, yapping, complaining.
My buddy commented how inquisitive Spook is. Well, that’s a positive spin for asking “why’ every two seconds.
I would have been more at ease facing Pinhead, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface than a crowd of people who have beliefs I don’t share.
It’s not a spoiled brat thing.
I just felt like such a fake for being in this place, with these kind people, and their solid faith and not sharing it.
But I kept reminding myself, as my stomach churned, my breath escaped me, and I broke out in nervous hives…This is for my daughter.
It was embarrassing and funny at the same time when the kids did their bit. She was wearing these big angel wings, up on stage, bopping around, waving, blowing kisses, hamming it up. The little girl next to her kept wadding up the skirt of her dress, pulling it up to show undies.
Much as I was amused, the panic was creeping in. And I just wanted to fade into the woodwork.So of course, my darling daughter stands up there, points at me, and yells, “Mommy!”
Humorous. Good for mommy ego. Mortifying for panic disorder.

After the kids’ did their thing, there was a break for people to get refreshments and socialize.
And that was when I hit my fight or flight moment. I didn’t feel comfortable with the hymns and standing and yet, I allowed my buddy to guide me and made an effort to participate.
I even managed without a freak out when my kid started acting out noisily.
But people in masses gathering for cake and coffee and yapping…I tried, I tried so hard. I had juice, took a xanax, smiled forcibly…
But it was my breaking point, I couldn’t do another ninety minutes. I felt like I was smothering.
Thankfully, K had warned my buddy about my panic issues and there was no drama about me being disrespectful by leaving early. It’s really lovely when people can respect your disabilities without judging you.
I did feel bad, though, for not being stronger. But considering I did two major public events in less than six days…I also felt like I had been successful.

After that the day was mercifully less tense. Dad took Spook off my hands for a couple of hours. I ran errands, stopped by the shop, actually didn’t want to stab R with a hot soldering iron. (Honestly, it’s mind boggling how imbalanced hormones taint your emotions and views, it’s like being possessed.I still don’t like the way men act like it’s a woman’s fault, we didn’t ask for this crap.)
Came home. Dad decided to keep Spook overnight, which is really cool because I think I am due a break, especially in light of getting so little rest last night. I am going to vegetate and do very little. I may feel slothful for it, but I’ve EARNED it. I have spent all week doing for my daughter and I am not holding a grudge for it, I am supposed to do for her. My conditions just make it a triple difficult task.
And it drains me.
So rest is good.

Drained as I may be…I feel good. I went, I semi conquered, but I made the effort even at my own discomfort. I am TRYING. Honestly trying, not just deluding myself with lies by saying I am trying when deep down, no effort is being put forth.
I am putting forth effort.
It comes with a price, but I am rising above my own limitations. Maybe in a limited way, but I am evolving.

Which brings me to one final conclusion for this post and this day and maybe, this holiday season.
There ARE kind people out there, people who will help and support you and understand or at least try to do so.
I am grateful that they have wandered into my (our) lives.
Very grateful.
It is, however, not their responsibility to make me happy and carry the burden of my (our) needs.
I need to make my own way, with the support offered. Even if it terrifies me and I am clueless as to which direction to go.
I am trying. Sooo very hard.
I am even applying for a part time job this week. Not that I believe I have a chance because my work history is so (bipolar) spotted and my stability is always an issue…
But it’s working with cats and I know without a doubt if they’d give me a chance, I could so do a good job.
Cats are my therapy. Earning money as well would just be icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, my checkered past of flakiness is always the hurdle I never make it over.
I am gonna try, though.

When all is said and done…All any of us can do is try.
Success is not signified by money or possessions or even achieving your goal.
Success is having the courage to take a chance, make the effort, and if it doesn’t turn out…
You dust yourself off, get back up, and try it all over again.

Life can suck. I hate being bipolar, I hate panic disorder, I hate the fact my mother decided not to buy me anything for Christmas yet had the money and thought to spring for a pair of boots for a pothead guy not even related to us.
Yet, when all is said and done…
My daughter and I have what we need.
And maybe part of it was because kind people helped us, for which we owe a deep debt of gratitude.
There’s much to be thankful for, even in a world replete with darkness and misery.
It is that reality I cling to.


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