So sorry for the lapse in communication lately! I've been sort of lurking (and I'm not sure I like that word, either - seems almost too 'creepy' to use on a site like this one) and have been doing more reading of than responding to but as always, my thoughts and well wishes have remained with you all. I just needed a little time to adjust to and process the downswing of last week, when I was dealing with the passing of yet another anniversary. Happy to say that sleeping has gotten better - I've only been 'startled' awake once this week. The night time insomnia, however, remains my greatest hurdle - and sadly, will probably be a permanent battle.
Anyway, this will be a small, yet significant update. I'll probably write more after my next support group meeting that is scheduled for next Tuesday. I like the idea of being able to go over some of the topics discussed in group after I've had adequate time to give them the thought they deserve.
I am, later tonight, going to be stepping outside of my comfort zone in a few different ways.
A group of us (yes, I said GROUP!) are planning to meet up at a bar (yep, a place that serves alcohol!) for a couple of drinks and then we will proceed over to a local 'horror night' event. The theme is Haunted Hotel - and it's apparently a yearly setup - to promote and further enhance the Halloween spirit as well as scare the shit out of anyone brave enough to venture inside. It's a walk-through type of thing, we'll encounter plenty of those things that go bump in the night, our fair share of (fake) blood and guts, frightening scenes, etc.
But this isn't what makes me nervous. I'm not easily spooked by grotesque displays. Those, I can handle and during Halloween, can be even be entertained or amused by.
So, what's my issue?
For starters, we will be a group. J and I have gotten close to the couple we bowl with on Friday nights - they are older than we are, but very young-at-heart and are a lot of fun to be around. We've done other things with them, but it's been limited to contained, easy-to-follow and well-lit situations. Bowling, for one...when one gets up to bowl, it's easy to have one-on-one conversations with the other. We did an Escape Room with them and had a lot of fun. We've had them over to watch football. We've gone to their house for a game night. They're awesome company and lots of laughs are usually had whenever they are around. They are TRULY good people.
J's boss, now also a friend of hers, will be joining us. I've met her exactly once - and this is the person J has been spending a lot of time with - both inside and outside of work. I still have my green-eyed monster lurking within (there's that word again!) but am currently trying to suppress it whenever she speaks of fun times with her friends - (times that don't involve lonely lil ol' me) - I trust J with every fiber of my being and we both (as well as all of those who have been reading my blogs) know that this expanding circle of hers is my separate issue to work on - especially since I have SUCH trouble expanding my own. Anyway, J's friend is also a fan of the spooky, macabre stuff. And so, we (more so J) felt it was appropriate to invite her along.
So it WILL be a small group, but still a group. And even these small group gatherings (and in the dark, to boot!) are uncomfortable for me. Doesn't matter if it's family or it's friends - I still stand to miss a GREAT deal when there is group chatter and cannot help but feel the simmering anxieties that are present for the duration. I will likely be laughing along whenever they all laugh in unison, even if I have no idea what they're giggling at. A small voice inside will (LIES!) tell me it's me and my complete obliviousness - not necessarily the truth, but still always the perceived idea.
So, first - we will be going to a bar (and this is also NOT my thing) for drinks and introductions (J's friend to our friends) beforehand. On the rare occasion that I throw back, it is usually done within the safe confines of my own home - I do not feel comfortable drinking anywhere else or around others. I'm sure it's because being around drunk people is an obvious trigger and usually brings me back to my 1996 incident, but have been told that I need to try to more frequently participate in things that I haven't had much success with in the past. It's the only way I'm going to build up to being comfortable in social settings. And this will strengthen my personal mission to build up to the eventual expansion of my own inner circle of trusted friends.
I'm a different person, now, than I was in 1996. I'm smarter. More responsible. I do trust J and our bowling friends - I don't think there will ultimately be any harm in my having a drink with them in good fun, but because I will not be at home where I feel most 'safe,' I am feeling like I'm back in high school and there's peer pressure - I don't want to be that 'wet blanket' and be the only one not drinking. J's friend, as well as the couple we bowl with - are all social drinkers. And going to the bar before the Haunted Hotel, was their idea - it certainly wouldn't be something I would suggest. J, a non-drinker like me, is even considering having one, only because she's not fond of the 'scary' stuff and will require the liquid courage.
And, so, I will probably end up giving in to the 'peer pressure' and have one drink with them - not because I'm comfortable with it, but because I know that despite old (although not unfounded) fears, I need to be able to keep an open mind and try new things. I will just ask the bartender to make it a mild one. I will make it a personal mission to stifle any and all discomfort and truly try to put aside my reservations long enough to enjoy the evening.
It all sounded like so much fun when it was proposed three weeks ago. Not sure what happened between then and now, but presently, I feel that I am sincerely trying to convince myself that I won't have a good time when I may surprise myself instead. Isn't that how it usually goes? You dread something and then once you give it a legit try, you find that it's not as bad as you thought it'd be?
Pray this is the case for me tonight, and that walking the fine line between what is comfortable and what isn't proves to be a positive experience rather than the negative one my brain is well-trained to expect.
Will be back in the middle of next week. Hope all is well with all of you!