The build up of Saturday morning before a party consisted of an warm unpleasant feeling in my stomach, a heavy pressure on my chest when I inhaled and a tingling sensation in my legs, my arms, my fingers. I’d vomit multiple times before lunch had hit, making me weak and shaky. I’d be yelled at to eat something constantly- repeatedly. Pacing and pacing the house I try to contain the increased panic in my mind. Checking the time panic would fade with distraction from chores and cleaning and then increase with the thought of what might happen later that night.
Being at a party or generally being around people, I worried that they would laugh at me or that I’d be left alone or that someone might want to talk to me. All of which I learnt to calm myself with by a flood of negative insults towards myself. I breathe deeply reminding myself that nothing can happen if I don’t speak, I won’t be humiliated. I remind myself that people might not notice I’m there so I can be assured no one will look at me- so no one could laugh at me. I remind myself that if I stay out of the way, I won’t do anything wrong and I won’t have to feel scared, so there can’t be any expectations of me. I tell myself that I’m not pretty enough for a boy to like me or notice me, so no one would kiss me.
It was all this negativity that I fed myself, to hate myself, that calmed and rationalised me going anywhere with people my age or older.
I sit on my bed tapping my pressure points, reminding myself that its okay, that I’ll be okay- but only believing it because I had lost all hope that I was going to see friends, to meet new people, to meet boys, to have ‘fun’ and laugh and drink and dance…
I was focused solely on getting there, getting over getting there, being there, dealing with where to sit to not involve myself to, to how to stop myself from vomiting and how I was going to get through this and be okay.
It would always get worse when I had to get in the car with my mum. I would become an emotional bubble waiting to burst. I would get so violently angry, trying to hold in all of my anxieties for what my parents thought was a fun night. I’d feel faint from not eating for 24 hours, in hopes I wouldn’t then be able to vomit to settle my mind. My leg would shake in the car, constantly tapping on the floor, my body would heat up trying to make me vomit again and again. I’d put the air conditioner on full, with the radio off- I’d snap at noise and sensitivity towards repetition of sounds and anything related to the cause of my anxiety. The closer I got to my friends house, the closer I was to being sick. I’d clench my jaw shut with the driest throat, I could dry retch at any second. Getting to the destination I’d always feel like crying when I got out of the car, so in turn I gave anger and frustration instead. I feel sorry that my parents had to deal with that every weekend, the same routine, I was so on edge.
My friends always made everything better, I love them for accepting me and I tried so hard to learn from them, to cope with these situations. I seen how excited they were, how fun this would be, but I always slipped back into my mind, of what could happen and the questions of my anxiety. And for what could have been hours of me not saying a word out loud, felt like a few seconds inside my head. I would disconnect myself from others just to address the panic in my mind, to calm myself of the worries, the what if’s and the nerves that I had built inside of me.
I can recognise now that it was and is humiliation and rejection that I constantly feared. I became so fixated on trying to deal with the anxieties that I pushed people away.
The more insignificant I made myself feel, the more comfortable I felt around people. To me the more I convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of good things, the more I convinced myself that I was unattractive and fat and boring and a shit person, the more accepting I would be if anyone was to tell me that is what I was. I wanted to prepare myself for what people would or could think of me, so that I wouldn’t be humiliated or ashamed or embarrassed, I’d be okay with the thought of being seen as ugly and fat and sad and anything else ‘bad’.
Because everyday I persuaded myself that its only me, no one is looking at me. Its only me, no one will be interested in me. Its only me and I don’t need to let anyone in.