Today I took Little Sprout on an excursion to the Como Zoo and Conservatory. We went, not because it was a beautiful day and I thought it would be fun (as true as that might be), but because I had reconnected with an old friend through Facebook who also has small children, and we had set a playdate. It was to be the first time we spent time together since the 9th grade.
I have talked and talked about my depression, my anxiety, and my hermit-like behaviors. What all that blather means in real-world talk is that leaving my home - my sanctuary - without the benefit of meds or the safety blanket of my husband or parents to meet up with someone who (regardless of any history we have together) is a virtual stranger.... well, it was terrifying. Not just a little scary, not something that made me just a little nervous... terrifying.
I was going to be in a strange place. I had to get there on my own. There were going to be all sorts of people there I didn't know. What if I said something stupid? What if she did? What if we didn't talk at all? What if I got lost? What if I didn't? What if Little Sprout threw fits? What if she did something more embarrassing than that? What if.... what if.... what if????
Yeah, I got that it sounds rather stupid. You really have to be inside my head to have it make sense, and sometimes even then it is baffling. That doesn't make it any less real, though.
So I got up this morning and had myself a nice little anxiety attack. I didn't know what to wear (since my uniform of sweatpants and a grubby T-shirt were out), I couldn't get Little Sprout to cooperate with things, I couldn't find the cooler I wanted for bringing our picnic stuff.... Oh, it was fun!
Then came the drive down there. We got started late, thanks to Little Sprout's constant worrying about her clothing and accessories (c'mon child! Noone cares which shoes you wear!) and general foot-dragging. Then I missed my turn on the way down there, causing us to be just a tad bit later.
I was not a happy camper by the time we pulled into the parking lot 15 minutes late. To start with, I hate being late. Really, really hate it. On top of that, I was flustered, I was scared, I was just all in all done with the whole thing.
Then the funniest thing happened.
I took a deep breath and walked into the visitor center. We met up with my old friend. The two 3 yr olds took off to look around, and the mothers chased after the kids.
And everything was okay.
I had fun. I really, really had fun! I didn't do anything terribly embarrassing, my friend was fun to talk to. We wandered around the zoo, looking at the animals. We wandered through the conservatory, looking at flowers. We talked. It felt.....normal. The girls got along great, and the baby even let me hold his hand (little littles usually don't like me much) while he walked along. We laughed, we got caught up, we generally enjoyed the day.
Today, I realised that I can get out and socialise. I discovered that I don't necessarily need my meds to overcome my issues. I finally figured out that I don't have to let my anxiety be a prison.
Most of all, I just enjoyed myself.