Anxiety Attack At A Bar
My social media might have made it look like I had a fun weekend, which I did. Besides one part of my Saturday night/Sunday morning. All thanks to Anxiety. My husband, my ESA, and I went to visit our very good friend in Ohio. I have been looking forward to this weekend for a month because we always have a good time together. Which we did. Other than an hour of my night.
I wish I could say I haven't had an anxiety attack in about three months before this, but I have them about once every two weeks. However, this was the first anxiety attack in three months that I have had in public. My other ones have been in my home with my husband and Emotional Support Animal. This anxiety attack started at a bar with about 100 people in it at about 1:00 AM. Not the best place or timing.
We were at this bar meeting up with my husbands college friends that we haven't seen in almost a year. I was excited to meet up with them even though I was feeling kind of off before we got there. I wasn't sure why because I had no reason to feel upset. It wasn't until we got into the bar that I realized what I was feeling before was, in fact, anxiety. For some reason my anxiety sky rocketed walking into the bar while we were pushing through crowds of people to get to our friends.
I normally don't have anxiety while at bars so I was a little confused why I was feeling this way. I usually enjoy going to bars with friends and don't have social anxiety while drinking with friends. My husband was on the other side of the room and I did not feel comfortable walking over to him to tell him how I was feeling. So, I went to the bathroom hoping to just sit there and calm down. However, there was only two stalls and about ten other girls waiting in line. More Anxiety.
So, I went back downstairs to our group and asked our friend to step outside with me. It was starting to snow outside. I told him I was having a lot of anxiety and just needed to step outside for a bit. So, he started to scream crazy things at people walking by to try to make me feel better. It worked after awhile. So, we went back inside. Anxiety hit again. Harder. I went to the bathroom this time trying not to cry. I texted my best friend asking for help because I didn't know what to do. Her first reply was, "What are five things you see around you?" THIS.
This is the best response I could have gotten. This is one of the many reasons why she is my best friend. She was 300 miles away, but she was still able to help me more than anyone who was standing right next to me could have. Sure, it didn't instantly stop my anxiety attack, but it did make me feel less alone. She kept on texting me and told me to go find my husband and tell him. So I texted him while sitting next to him. This was also perfect timing because the people we were talking with wanted to leave. So, I waved bye and headed out the doors of the bar.
Freedom, I thought. I assumed that my husband and friend were walking right behind me, so I just continued to walk without looking back. I walked with my head down texting my best friend. Apparently they weren't right behind me that whole entire time. They told me they were screaming my name and had to run after me. I honestly was not aware of my surroundings at all. So, my friend asked me what I was doing on my phone and I told him I was texting my best friend. He kept on asking me more questions.
The only words I could physically get out of my mouth were, "I can't talk." That's a big indicator that I am having an anxiety attack. It feels like my throat is closing up and I can't breath or talk. At that point I realized I was having an anxiety attack and started to have anxiety about having anxiety. The next thing I remember is that I'm on the ground, crying into my coat, on steps outside of a bar, hyperventilating, feeling embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed, and every similar adjective you could think of. My husband was able to get me off of the ground after some time. I'm not aware of how long I was on the ground because anxiety doesn't keep track of time accurately.
My husband then held on to me, guiding me back to the apartment. I put my hat over my eyes and told him that I was closing my eyes. I didn't want to look up at the people around me. I didn't want people to notice me. Apparently my sobs were louder than I thought and I started to hear comments from strangers about how drunk I was. I wasn't. This made me angry, but my anxiety didn't allow me to defend myself. I wish I could have looked them in the eye to tell them that I was currently having an anxiety attack and they were making it worse. But, I couldn't.
I couldn't. I physically couldn't talk, walk, or do anything. I felt so useless. Pathetic. Disappointed. Vulnerable. Embarrassed. Did I say pathetic already? After what felt like an hour, we finally made it back to the apartment. Things started to settle down for me even though I was still worried that I had scared our friend. So, my husband said something that was the perfect thing to say in this situation. He said, "So, she had an anxiety attack and they bring out the emotional side in her. You didn't do anything wrong, I didn't do anything wrong, she didn't do anything wrong. This happens and it's okay."
I am so glad he said something first because I had no idea what to say. I actually didn't want to say anything because I was so exhausted from my anxiety attack. I also found out afterwards that my mascara was all over my face. I looked and felt like I had just gotten into a fight. I wasn't sure if I had lost or won, but I was sure that I was embarrassed and confused. Even though anxiety attacks don't feel like a fairy-tale; they do have a 'happy' ending. Because it ends. It does end.
I wrote this blog post the morning after this happened...meaning yesterday. This post makes me feel very vulnerable because it is still fresh. However, I have learned that writing out my hard times helps me move forward and not worry about them so much. I highly recommend that you find something that helps you cope with your hard times, so you can move forward instead of being stuck in your past.