Today my anxiety is really high. I have been taking my medicine. I haven’t had to leave my house at all today. I have even tried listening to nature sounds for calming, but even they increased my anxiety…
I was invited to a potluck tomorrow afternoon. It is for some missionaries from church, and I do want to go – but it is a potluck, and for so many reasons, they terrify me.
The kitchen is clean, and I am about to start making a potato salad. No matter what I decided to bring, I would be uncomfortable. What if it doesn’t turn out well? What if they don’t like it? What if too many other people brought the same thing? I don’t want to talk about it, or be asked about it. My hope is that my husband will carry it in, and it will just blend in with what everyone else has brought. Panic.
When I go, I will have to remember to bring my own food as well. It isn’t really that it is hard to remember, but when my mind is already in panic mode, it is hard to think of anything. Food is hard when I am calm, and near impossible when I am anxious.
The reason I need to bring my own food is because I have allergies, and sensitivities, and some things I just can’t eat because of taste or texture. I have to be careful of cross contamination. I also don’t like asking what people have put in their food, and sometimes the ingredients are a surprise. To be polite, and to blend in, I will try eating what other people are eating – but sometimes, by the time I get into the line, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
If I am not prepared, I will end up hungry – and hungry is a very bad place for me to be. Food, and hunger, are the main causes of my public meltdowns. They often come on suddenly, and I have no control over them. That is not how I want to be seen, and if it happens, I know I will relive the shame for years to come. I have had a lot of experience in that area.
Then to go beyond the food, this is a social gathering. These are all people I like, and I want to be there, but they are very hard for me. I don’t know what to say. I can’t process sound well in crowds, and so holding conversations, or even responding to people is nearly impossible for me in such situations. Even when I can hear, and do know what I want to say, as so often happened throughout my childhood, the words frequently just won’t come out.
I want to go. I want to be with these people, but it would be nice sometimes if I could just be invisible. I don’t want to feel invisible, like people can see me, but ignore me. I want to be invisible – so I can be a part of the activity, but without the fear.
But when I go, I won’t be invisible. I will have to work around my food issues. I will have to try to talk to people. I will have to try not to look afraid.
So today, though I am home, and have nothing frightening to do, I am extremely anxious. If all goes well, I will enjoy tomorrows activity when it is over. There is too much pressure until then.