Trust me, dating wasn’t a common thing for me during my GAD and Panic Disorder. Even though on the outside I looked somewhat confident and dressed the part, on the inside I was simply…a mess.
So, I’m going on this blind date that my tennis clients put together for me, and after trying to think of an excuse to get out of it for hours, I found myself on my way to the restaurant to meet my date. Things started really well because usually just in the first few minutes of meeting someone I am very upbeat and energetic which she must have interpreted as being fun and outgoing.
Alcohol VS Anxiety
We sat down and I could feel the blood rushing to my face in nervousness but since I had practiced hiding my true feelings for so long, I was holding it together pretty well and was able to keep the conversation going. The problem was it was dinner time, where I always felt pressured to have a drink, and therefore only a matter of time before my physical sensations of anxiety like shortness of breath and extreme dizziness would kick in, and I needed to decide between three choices that I had at the moment this happened:
Choice #1 was suck it up, have some alcoholic drinks that would trigger unbearable anxiety for the next few days and probably send me to the emergency room again.
Choice #2 was hang in there, take a few bathroom breaks to throw some water on my blushing face and start over.
Choice #3 was fake an emergency that I had to attend to right then and there and leave the restaurant.
What Choice Would You Have Made?
I think the most positive choice would be #2 because it would lead to a potential relationship or friendship that could last forever without the embarrassment of seeing me drunk (not a good scene because I get overly energetic and friendly followed by going to sleep in the nearest comfy place I could find).
The only thing I could blame going to the washroom that many times on would be all of the water I drank earlier that day at the gym (the gym part would also be a plus because it would be something she would be looking for in a guy, as she was extremely fit). I chose choice #1 because what alcohol does to someone who suffers from high levels of anxiety is it gives them temporary relief from all physical sensations (or at least we stop paying attention to them as much), and it replaces any negative and unproductive thoughts with happy and fearless ones. For the 40 or so minutes just after dinner we had a blast and I was unstoppable and drunk after just four beers.
From Superhero To Super Depressed And Anxious
I was the person I wanted to be every minute of every day, outgoing, confident, and fearless, superman had NOTHING on me during my mini vacation from anxiety! Thank you alcohol! Who would have thought that this scared little mouse could turn into a raging lion so quickly?
The problem was, a few hours later we were lounging on the sofas near the restaurant at another bar and my invincibility was starting to wear off. I was getting tired and sleepy. I was starting to realize that the next couple of days were going to be the most difficult days I could imagine, which led to the usual cycle of worry and fear which turned into physical sensations followed by confusion and more fear. See how the cycle just goes and goes? Even the anticipation of panic causes panic!
The conversation was now at a snail’s pace, and I could tell I was really starting to rub her the wrong way. The night that had started out so great with a nice meal and good conversation had turned into a complete train wreck in only a matter of hours. We said our goodbyes and I ended up having to go and sleep in the back seat of my car. Another valuable lesson was learned that night, don’t drink alcohol if you suffer from panic disorder because the temporary relief doesn’t compare to the following day or days for more severe cases like mine.
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