I need to blog a journal entry. An experience.
I have been to a few Halloween parties in my life but this one scared me the most. A friend from work threw a Halloween party. I worked several nights in a row before the party but still wanted to go. There were a lot of families, neighbors. The host was the only person there I knew. We let the little one Nora swing and eat. We sat by a backyard fire enjoying a bowl of chili and a beer. I began to notice I was people watching. I introduced my self to a couple to my left but had little to talk about. After we all had a bite, we played with Nora at a cookie decorating, then pumpkin coloring. The whole time I continued to feel isolated, quiet and in my own head. Kids were running everywhere, more people had shown up. I knew no one except the host and she was very busy entertaining. I began to feel worse. I wanted to hide. I could not stop thoughts in my head. I tried to calm down and take deep breaths. I tried to track my feelings to find the cause of my anxiety.
It is an awful feeling to know you are experiencing social anxiety, feel your emotions getting away from you and feel powerless against the tide. I hovered a few feet from my body.
I did not want to be around people. The chaotic sounds of the playing kids shook my concentration. I still people watched but felt afraid to look directly at anyone. It was getting dark. I had asked Lauren casually a few times if she was ready to go home. I knew we had been there long enough that our leaving would not be considered rude. Besides, I have become skilled at leaving gatherings unnoticed. This night I didn’t feel my presence noticed much less my absence. After a few requests I made my urgent need to leave for home more apparent.
Finally we left. We got in the car, and drove out of the neighborhood toward our home. While I felt nearly instantly better, the secondary feelings set in. I felt a complex dilemmas, guilt for pulling my family from an otherwise fun party, guilt for letting my issues affect my young daughter and wife, fear because I felt so unable to control my emotions and thoughts, confusion over all that I had just felt. My issues were out of order, no organization, too much to process. I just drove home with my family feeling mostly sad.
It has been difficult working overnights at my job. Emergency room nursing is never easy but these past months, I’ve felt the worst since my career started. My body hurts for sleep confusion, my mind hurts from the constant adjustment. I can’t always think clearly. I am moody. I am often bored or anxious. There is no more middle. I feel good sometimes or I feel bad. There seems no middle. Scary