For years I’ve carefully avoided large ‘social’ and private occasions.
Whilst it’s easy for me to give lectures, talk to individuals or couples, and marshal crowds (security working), the thought of a small party, especially within a small area, has always been a worry for me.
It never was, I was a party animal once, but after my ‘homecoming’, making small talk with many new faces didn’t exactly work for me. Hell new faces didn’t work, and I found myself ultra sensitive about personal space, me talking about me, and definitely anything from my ‘history’.
It was different when I was on the job (doing whatever) regarding personal space.
Only there I was in control.
So, socially, I get all the symptoms of a panic attack and then angry.
After that all it takes is the wrong comment, or to be more accurately me to ‘perceive’ that it was the wrong comment and what social graces I have leave with me ‘stage left’.
Then last night SWMBO manages to get me to go to a small neighbourhood do. It was ‘advertised’ as a small gathering of friends to celebrate the Queens Sapphire Jubilee. Straight forward enough, a group of old farts (I mean that nicely), reminiscing about Great Britain’s downfall, getting drunk, and toasting The Queen.
That don’t sound too bad as our circle of friends isn’t exactly large.
Err, there were 40 of us in a small, REALLY SMALL house.
Standing room only? More like sardines crammed in a tin.
And I knew about half a dozen of them. Oh sh’t.
From smiles to panic in seconds.
The walls started to close in around me and even worse there was nowhere to put my back against (aka the wall flower syndrome).
Then a chair opened up!
Blow protocol, I basically threw myself into it as it was tucked back against a wall.
Problem was I had a sign over my head and it read “Come talk to me!”
That’s what it felt like anyway.
Really nice people, trying to get to know me, 1001 questions. Argh!
SWMBO was distracted by others so couldn’t save me.
Yep, big bad Paul needed his Mrs. to intervene.
Boo hoo what a baby.
I never was one for group therapy though.
It made me angry and for everyone’s safety, I just stopped going.
It never made me feel good anyway,
Especially when the God squad started pushing their self ‘forgiveness’ thing.
I wonder, how many others did the same?
Not so much gave up on ‘help’, just sorted themselves out without the shrinks?
Anyway, the reason for writing this.
After years of “OK”, admittedly with the occasional tilt, it took a simple social occasion to re-awaken old fears.
It’s not a rare phenomenon for something minor to trigger a response, and if you’ve got a friend who once was affected, it’s kinda nice for others that know (and I think some will understand what I’m saying), to help recognise the signs and just be there.
After that? Well I’m now wondering what’s next?
SWMBO on reading this will now ‘click’ onto why I got ‘difficult’ today.
Nothing was directed at her deliberately, but when I unwind from stress, it usually just floods out. Deal with whatever, collapse later, It’s always been my way.
So now it’s going to be what I do regarding my physical fitness.
Push the boundaries until it hurts. Thus I’ll know my limits.
One thing is certain.
At the risk of being regarded as a miserable sod, party time is over for now.
That is until I find out my new limits.