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The Time I Went to a Party and Forgot I Had Anxiety

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Loud music, large crowds, drunken friends. Parties are usually something I fear.

Anxiety overrules my need for fun. It releases a whirlwind of all the negative possibilities that could occur, draining away any excitement I may possibly have. Discomfort consumes me, and when I feel uncomfortable, I become a wallflower.

I sit quietly, and I observe.

I watch as the girl who has had one drink too many, stumbles across the heaving room. I see friends laughing and gossiping. I see the guy across the hallway playing a practical joke on his puzzled friend. I see everyone around me enjoying themselves, without a care in the world.

I sit quietly, and I observe.

I can’t move, because if I move, the cloud I have perfectly positioned at a safe distance away, will rain over me. I can’t move, because if I move, the tide will ride in quickly, and I will drown in all the worries I have. I can’t move, because if I move, I will have to run, and run, and run… until I return to my safety net, where I am far away from panic and fear.

In the past, I have had to carefully judge situations to certify I’ll be protected. When I’d walk into a room, I would check for clear exits, and for a secure place I could escape to. I was constantly at unease. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be like that anymore.

I went to a party.

I went to a party, and I was the girl laughing and gossiping with her friends. I wasn’t the one observing. Instead, I was immersed in the energy and dynamics that lifted us all. The preceding thoughts I usually obtain to prepare myself for what I had always considered to be an inevitable “fight or flight” conclusion, never occurred. I didn’t need to reserve a safe place, because I felt safe at the party.

For once, I forgot I had anxiety.

It was only the next day, when a friend conveyed how proud of me she was, that I realized, I went to a party. And I had been OK. Years of anxiety, and the impossible became possible. Perhaps, I am not always the wallflower I thought I was.

I realized I am capable. I am strong enough to put aside my anxieties, and allow people to see me how I really am.

I know I am not defined by my anxiety.

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Thinkstock photo via criene.

Originally published: May 17, 2017
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