I feel a tremendous amount of guilt sometimes when my PTSD effects how others might perceive ‘how I view them’, if that makes any sense to you. I don’t want anyone to dislike me, but on occasion, I may ruffle a few feathers because I need to take care of my own needs first. A lot of the time that means avoiding situations altogether, like parties. I know, who doesn’t like a party? ME! Especially if most of the party goers are strangers too.
There are people out there who don’t have PTSD/CPTSD that might actually hate parties more than me, but for entirely different reasons. I don’t mind small talk as other people do and I truly enjoy the idea that a party is bringing people together. It’s an occasion meant to be fun. And I like fun! FUN RULES!
So why did I avoid going to my client Claire’s grand opening party? History. It wasn’t history with her, but with another client’s grand opening from several years ago. Let’s call him RON. At Ron’ party, he invited many of his friends, as well as good clients from his first store. There was a magician there, a face painting clown for the kids, even a person on stilts. And all of them freaked me out.
It seems people at parties don’t know what personal space is and when you’re dealing with me, that’s a big no-no. I was scared shitless every time the guy on stilts came remotely close to me, and it was trigger city. The magician seemed to think the #metoo movement didn’t apply to him, with his wandering, no permission hands. And I don’t even want to think of the clown……ever. Besides that, many of the guests were also drinking, and when making small talk, they had no problem draping their arms around me like I was their old time best friend. I guess that’s flattering, but for me, well, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I beelined it for my car muttering to myself and looking a little off to many folks there.
I sat in my car, and I didn’t want to go back inside. I needed to say goodbye, but at the same time, I needed an excuse as to why I was leaving so early. Ron was a good client, and I didn’t want to offend him. And besides my own freaking out, now I’m feeling guilty that I’m going let him and the company I work for down. Then I went into full panic attack mode and began whacking my hands hard against my steering wheel. It was a scene, and thankfully I was the only voyeur…..or, so I thought.
It seems Ron went out for a smoke break and was hiding from his wife because he told her that he quit, so he saw me from his hidden vantage point. He looked quite concerned when he tapped on my window to check on me. At that point, my embarrassment level skyrocketed to another degree. I wanted to pop the key into the ignition and just speed off right there. However, Ron was pretty good about everything, and before he even asked me if I was okay, he told me that he gets lots of panic attacks too. Thank goodness he said that because anything else might have launched me into another planet’s orbit.
I explained everything as best I could, and Ron understood completely. He told me that he has social anxiety issues, but his wife convinced him that it was important to throw this party to show appreciation for everyone who’s supported him over the years. His smoke break was the fix he needed to get through the day.
RON! My newest brother in arms, kinda. And he reminded me that if I’m not comfortable doing something, then I shouldn’t do it all. Good people will understand if you just let them know, he said. And that’s why I really like Ron, and that’s why I sent Claire Banks the postcard below.
If you or a loved one is battling PTSD or CPTSD, please do get help if you’re not getting any right now. If you need to talk to anyone right away, our friends at Better Help are here for you by just CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.