I’m not much for crowds, or groups for that matter. Give me a one on one and I’m good to go. Anymore then that and the anxiety erupts. It doesn’t matter what the group consists of, family, friends, or strangers. I play no favorites. Which makes this holiday season, and every holiday season, tense. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends. I even do well, once I am there. It is the beforehand that rattles my nerves. The preparation.
I skipped Kindergarten. No, I wasn’t smart and skipped a grade, I, literally, played hooky from kindergarten. This is how frightened I was of all those people. It started early. People in my family believe I hated school, but I loved school. I loved learning. What I didn’t like was all the people there. Keep in mind, any group over a handful, was more then enough for me. God forbid, attention should be drawn to me, or we would have to form groups. Any get together was difficult.
My mother, bare with me, told me that I went to bed during my own birthday party when I was a little girl. I believe I am the subject of that story and not my sister. Yep, pretty sure it was me. The rudeness of my actions would surprise my older self, but the need to get away doesn’t surprise me in the least.
I’m not sure why I have issue with people. It could be that I spent my first two years of my life around adults, a small group of people, who loved and took care of me. It could be that the two times I was attacked in my childhood, were by a group of people. Though that wouldn’t explain Kindergarten, since those happened after. If anything it probably just intensified my feeling that being in a group was not safe.
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy myself when I am with friends and family. Once I adapt, I do. Once the fear of judgment and whatever else it is that is causing that anxiety, dissipates, I am fine. You wouldn’t be able to tell that it took a lot out of me to just get there. Again, this has nothing to do with them. I realize it is all me. The people I surround myself with now do not hurt me. It’s all those negative messages in my head that get the better of me.
Weeks leading up to an event, I notice I get more and more agitated. I really try not to think of the gathering. I try to tell myself that all will be good, that these people are not out to hurt me. On a primal level I realize this, but somewhere in there are the old attacks. The meanness, or bullying, of past relationships. There is the fear that they won’t like me. That I am not good enough. By the night before, I am a wreck. I might be more teary. I might be stoic. No one but my husband realizes how nervous I am. I have a hard time falling asleep the night before an event. I’ve been known to stay up nearly all night, until my body can no longer take being awake. I try to shut up my mind, but it is going through the next days events and it is worried.
The morning of, I try to be present. I remind myself, again, that everything will be fine. That I will enjoy myself. That I will not want to leave. And, that will be true. Just tell my head that.