Hiding Anxiety with a Silly Hat


Friday morning, I never thought my day would end here.  Here is a room full of people in silly fake paper crowns and light up swords.  I had been fine ten seconds ago.

But now, the sound rose from separate conversations to a constant pulsating – a roller coaster of noise that was just growing and growing to a heightened peak.  Thrumming in my ears and pushing against my skin – covering me in a blanket of noise.

My legs felt stiff and my feet were slowly sinking into the ground.  I didn’t see this coming, but I should have.  I tried to just be still.  Not move or even breathe. Almost like trying to create silence within myself, fighting the drowning sound of people around me.

I looked over at my husband and felt utterly stupid.  How could I have been fine just moments before, and now this? I was unable to distinguish my own self from the chaos of the crowd, just another drop of water in a raging sea.

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Finally, I breathe.  I look around and focus. My husband’s silly hat. The drink in my hand.  The peeling paint on the ceiling.  The smell of horses. The feel of my necklace in my skin.

Another breath.

And I imagine myself as separate from the crowd. A protective bubble.

Shit.  Do I know that guy? No. Suddenly I’m surrounded my familiar faces that I cannot all together place.  All hateful, all dangerous.  People who want to hurt me. People who have hurt me before.

I can’t make out their features closely enough. Everyone just looks like another variations of the faces that I see in my nightmares.

The noise fights back in and now I just want the ground the swallow me up.  I want to leave.  I need to escape.  I can’t tell husband because he won’t understand and it will either make him feel worse or he won’t react and I’ll feel even more alone.  Shit.

We can go in the doors.  I don’t want to go.  But it’s another way to get out of this room.  It’s an escape.

And I’m out.  Sit.  Focus. Eat.  And calm down.  I can do this.

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