Abrupt Departure

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Today I did something I’ve never done before. I left a social event before it was over. Right in the middle of a conversation amongst friends, I had to excuse myself and leave. It was so weird and not me. I’m still processing the whole situation and the feelings of it.

Here’s the quick back story.

A few weeks ago, one of my dearest friends decided to host a brunch at her house for the first week of September (today, actually). She invited a few friends all of whom I know. I marked it on my calendar and was looking forward to going.

Even if socializing isn’t really my thing, I force myself to do it every so often. This prevents me from becoming too isolated and down on myself. Sometimes I like these social events, and other times not so much. This was an event I liked.

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created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © serbogachuk at www.stock.adobe.com
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When I woke up this morning, I was excited about brunch with my friends. Friends, food, and sharing some laughs was just what I needed during all this hurricane prepping. I even got some flowers and arranged them in a cute little vase to take with me. After arranging the flowers, I got dressed to go. Through all of this I was fine. No anxiety, dread, or flicker of doubt about today.

As I started walking towards the table to grab my phone, car keys, and vase of beautifully arranged flowers done by yours truly, panic swept over me. I don’t know why or where it came from. All of a sudden, everything shifted leaving me nearly paralyzed with an irrational fear of being surrounded by other people. It was ridiculous. Why was this happening?

I swallowed the fear and willed my legs to walk out the front door and to the car. After I got in the car, I did some breathing exercises to calm me down. When I arrived at my friend’s house, I took a few more deep breaths and sucked up some courage to get me through the next hour. Just one hour and then I can leave. One hour. I got this. *clap hands together* Let’s do it.

The first 15 minutes or so was fine. Three of my really good friends were there, another lady I’m somewhat familiar with, and only one lady I didn’t know too well. I was cruising along just fine – my nerves were shaking for some unknown reason, but I was coping by keeping an eye on the clock. A way to focus on how much longer to push through.

The entire time I was talking and making conversation, I was thinking, “What is WRONG with me?! Why am I so nervous? Snap out of it! These ladies are your friends. Calm down. Just 30 minutes to go….29 minutes…” It was so awkward for me. I wondered if the other ladies could tell I was acting weird. It didn’t matter. I couldn’t think about that. It made it worse for me.

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By the time 10:45 came around, I was ready to jump out of my skin. I was beyond making conversation. I couldn’t even hear the conversations around me. It faded away to a low hum in my mind. All I could focus on was the time on the stove. Why did I even chose the seat directly in front of the clock? I couldn’t stop staring at the time. It drove me nuts.

Before the walls could close entirely and suffocate me in the process, I got up and announced it was time for me to go. I didn’t give a reason. Just stood up, expressed my gratitude of inviting and having me over, then politely left. Feeling a little light-headed, I hurried to my car. It wasn’t until I got in the car and shut the door that I realized I was holding my breath. Releasing it followed by a few deep breaths made me feel a little better.

As I drove away, I was baffled by what had just happened. I’m still baffled by it an hour later. All the symptoms hit me all at once, but shaking it off isn’t happening as quick or easy.

This is the part of being me that is the most frustrating. I’m bopping along in life just fine, then something unexpected hits me and throws me completely off. It’s annoying, unpredictable, and frustrating. Especially when I don’t know how to properly handle it.

I’m sure if my awkward behavior was noticeable to my friends they would say something to me. At least, I hope they would. Who knows? Maybe they didn’t notice anything unusual about me. I’m pretty abnormal, say off the wall things, and act sporadic at times, so it’s possible.

Or maybe they did notice a change and don’t know how to approach me about it. Should I say something? Not an apology or anything because I didn’t do anything wrong really. Well, I did leave rather early and abruptly, so I could apologize and offer up a bit of the truth of why I left. I’m usually pretty open and honest about my random happenings, but this came out of nowhere, so I’m a little embarrassed by it. Addressing it in some way will help with that. But for now, I’m coping with writing about it.

Update:

I did talk to one of my dear friends that attended the brunch. She didn’t notice anything other than I was a little less talkative than normal. Other than that, everything seemed to be normal Brandi.

So it seems I was the only one that knew something was up. This is how a majority of my symptoms are – nothing to show on the outside, but everything to feel on the inside. I guess this is one of those rare moments I’m glad my anxiety and awkward feelings cannot be seen by others. But if they could have, what would they look like? Hmmmm….

Brandi Clevinger

A place where I talk about everything and sugar coat nothing.

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