I’m not a control freak, I’m just anxious
Well who would have thought it, a week after saying I wans’t sure if I would ever put pen to paper again in a blogging sense I have found something I want to talk about. Why anxious people can’t just ‘go with the flow’ at social events.
The inspiration for this post came from how I spent my weekend. It has been a bank holiday in the UK and the weather has been suprisingly okay. The perfect scenario for a barbeque you might think, and indeed that is what the hubby and myself did. Not having one ourselves, but attending a surprise barbeque/birthday party. Organised by a friend of mine for her fella who is now in the 40’s club.
The invites had been sent out months ago. Everything looked like it had been carefully planed ( croquet on the lawn, Pimms refreshments, followed by food, entertainments and camping on the lawn). So despite my high levels of anxiety at the moment and not knowing anyone else other than my friend and her fella and the hubby I felt ok about going.
Why are plans important for anxious people?
People with anxiety worry. This may sound very obvious. But what people with little experience of anxiety may not realise is just how much we can find to worry about.
EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL.
You name it, we will be stressing about it. Will I do something wrong? Will I say the wrong thing? What will other people be doing? What will they think of me?…..
However its not all bad, we have coping mechanisms and the biggest one of these is to plan. If we can anticipate any potential problems then we can put strategies in place to deal with them. (If you ever get invited to an event organised by an anxious person you will be well looked after).
So you can begin to see why the when/where/how details are very important to the anxious person planning to attend a social event. And this birthday party had plans by the bucket load.
The Facebook event page for the party had listed everything. Overnight accommodation had been considered, pre-erected tents in the garden, and room in the house if the tents were full. Food had been organised, the barbeque, a curry and extra buffet food bought by guests. There was an hour by hour run down of what was happening and where in the garden. Honestly it was a thing of beauty and made my little anxious heart happy.
What went wrong?
I’m sure you have guessed by now that things didn’t go to plan on the weekend.
Or to be more precise I found out as the afternoon and evening went on that the beautifully laid out plans were not set in stone, but were flexible.
Why I hadn’t anticipated this is a suprise to me. My friends are awesome, but are somewhat bohemian. (He is a musician, she is a pagan witch) They are very much ‘go with the flow’ types.
The problems occured because the Facebook event page was run by my friend but the actual event was held at a friend of hers house/garden. This friend of my friend was not aware that they were suppose to be organising the BBQ or accomodation and as a consequence there were no extra tents for us to sleep in and the BBQ was forgotten because no one remebered to buy charcoal.
So, no food (unless you ate curry, I didn’t) and nowhere to sleep. This was not the evening I had mentally prepared for, and without those plans the anxiety hit big time.
It seamed like most of the other guests were more prepared than us and had made their own arrangements for food and sleep. So as well as thinking ‘Will we end up sleeping on the lawn’ and ‘How long is the evening/night going to be when I’m already hungry’ I was also thinking ‘what are the other guests going to be thinking about the idiots who didn’t bring a tent’. These may seam like silly things to worry about in the grand scheme of things, but when anxiety is biting it is easy to become fixated on these problems.
So how did it end up?
In the end we ended up going back to my friends house and sleeping in their spare room. My dinner consisted of slices of cheesecake and all their friends were really lovely, but by then I was miserable and just wanted to go home.
What is the purpose of this post?
As I read this post back, I can see that it comes aross as a bit whingy, but that was not my aim when I started writing it. What I wanted to highlight was how important it is for people like myself to know the When/Where/How details when they’re going out. We’re not being control freaks by wanting to know all the details. We’re not being awkward by not wanting to change things last minute. And we’re not being selfish or spoilt divas if we get upset when things are changed. We want to be able to enjoy your company and help you celebrate your special events but we need to do it in a way that enables us to feel secure and safe.
Scientific Fact* Anxious Dragons feed on blog comments. Please help keep this dragon well fed. Thank you Xxxx
*Possibly not true