I have mostly got my anxiety under control these days, but there are certain situations where it comes rushing back to temporarily take over my brain. Planning a night out with friends is one of these situations.
A night out is very rare these days. Mostly because the nature of my business means that I work most weekends, and also because I absolutely f***ing hate hangovers now that I’m a mum. To be fair I never really liked them anyway, but at least in the past I could go to bed with my sick bucket and lock myself in until the next day. Now I’m up at 5.30am trying to fill the the void before CBeebies starts to take over my parenting responsibilities while trying not to vomit.
On the odd occasion that I do venture out, I have found that my anxiety likes to butt in the moment plans are made and a date is set. It’s not too bad if the date in question is quite soon, as I only have to endure the anxious thoughts for a short time.
However, when plans are made months in advance, this is where things start to get tricky. For example, my friends and I have booked tickets to the Parklife festival in Manchester for June. The tickets were purchased in December so I’ve had 6 whole months of going through every possible scenario that could happen to either myself, Molly or John while I’m away. I should be excited about it and planning what to wear, but instead I’m wondering if there are any trains running at 3am just in case I need to get back home in an emergency.
While I do tend to obsess quite a bit before the event, I always enjoy it when I’m there (obviously the alcohol helps), and I realise just how much I needed a break, even if it’s just for a few hours.
I’ve come to accept the fact that I will probably go through these anxious stages forever, it’s just the way my brain works. At least now I don’t get that awful red blotchy rash all over my chest like I used to, luckily I’m a lot more calmer these days. So here’s the various thoughts that go through my head when planning a night out:
The date is set
(Normal brain) – Yay, I’m going out to an actual pub with adults, and there’s alcohol!
(Anxiety) – How can I get out of it?
Oh god, I hardly drink anymore, what if I can’t handle the alcohol, throw up and embarrass myself?
What if Molly is ill in the night and I have to deal with her when I’m pissed?
What am I going to wear? I haven’t bought anything new in about 5 years!
What if I haven’t got anything to talk about and make myself look a right knob?
I can’t really stay out too late, how can I make sure I’m home at a decent time without looking like a lightweight?
The week of the event
(Normal brain) – Not long now until I get those much needed few hours to myself, can’t wait!
(Anxiety) – I don’t think I should go, something terrible might happen.
I bet Molly will come down with some dreadful virus this week so I’ll feel too guilty leaving her (*checks Molly’s temperature every day*)
I’m absolutely dreading the hangover, maybe I should just stay home.
Or maybe I’ll go and not drink, I could be the designated driver? That way my mates won’t think I’m a complete loser as they won’t have to pay for taxis!
I don’t really need a break, I chose to become a mum so I have to be there for her 24 hours a day.
Alcohol and toddlers don’t mix, what if she sees me when I’m pissed? I might scar her for life.
(*has an entire week of shit sleep going through every thought above a million times*)
The day arrives
(Normal brain) – Yes, the day has finally come! I’ll be out of that door faster than Usain Bolt!
(Anxiety) – It’s not too late to cancel just in case something bad happens.
I’d better check Molly’s temperature one more time just in case she is coming down with something.
What if John forgets to turn the baby monitor on and she gets sick and chokes on her own vomit?
What if John has an accident and Molly wakes up and she’s crying but he can’t get to her?
I’d better make sure I eat something before I go or I’ll get drunk too quickly.
What shall I drink? Maybe I should stay away from wine (*goes through list of drinks in my head and plans what to order for the entire night*)
What the f**k am I going to wear??? (*changes outfit 122,645 times*)
Shall I wait inside or outside for the taxi? Oh god it’s here early, what if I’ve forgotten my keys, money or phone? (*checks contents of bag 125 times*) Aaaaaaaarghh!
The night out
(*Has a fabulous time, brilliant conversation, enjoys the alcohol without being sick and absolutely nothing bad happens at all. Plans next night out*)