Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Social Phobia and Parties

Another party disaster.

My friend Jana had a house warming party at her place.

There were a few people I recognized. I thought I would be ok to talk and enjoy myself.

I deliberately came late thinking that I wouldn't be anxious about people looking at me when I came in the room if the party was already in full swing.

Coming in the door, Jana and her husband welcomed me and offered me a gin and tonic, showed me where the food was and said they were so happy to see me.

"How are things going with you? " Jana asked.

"Oh great!" I said smiling. "I love your new house!" I replied smiling.

"Thanks very much" said Jana "We are enjoying it"

"Yes it's such a nice neighborhood - you must be very happy here" (me)

Then as this conversation dwindled the doorbell rang again and Jana had to leave to greet new guests.

Anxiety Takes Over

I was suddenly alone and vulnerable - standing there clutching my drink.

Sipping, glancing around, sipping, glancing around, smile at no one in particular. Sip. Sip.

Deep inside I start to panic. I just got here. I have no one to talk to. I can't leave yet and this party is going to be going on for the rest of the evening.

Ideas flood my head:
  • I could suddenly leave saying I had just been struck with an intense migraine headache.
  • I could excuse myself saying that I had just gotten an emergency call on my cell that my elderly mother was in the hospital.
  • I could go to the washroom for a few minutes to check my hair and makeup and hope things will change when I come out.
  • I could go to the food table and try to mingle with anyone else who is there.

I decided on the last option. It was more "normal" and at least it bought me a little time.

I walk slowly to the food table with what I hope is a friendly, relaxed, casual, interesting and very friendly look on my face.

I take a plate, and chat with the person next to me "Wow doesn't this look good?" (me) "Yes she's such a good cook isn't she? (them)

Then I remember something I think people suggest you say at parties where you don't know anyone.

"And how do you know Jana?"

"I'm her sister" she replies.

"Oh wow , nice, very nice to meet you"

"Yes you too" She smiles kindly and excuses herself and moves away to carry food plates back to her husband.

I am alone again. My heart is racing, I feel like I might pass out, I need to calm down and relax. Social anxiety has it's ice cold grip on me.

The room seems to be filled with people laughing, singing, talking and having fun. They all seem to know each other.

A roar of laughter erupts across the room. These people were having a fun time they would be talking about for days.

Why can't I be like that?

I have issues with social anxiety.

Gotta get this cured.

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