I had a sociable eventful weekend. We’ve been enjoying an Indian summer here and I’m really glad to say I’ve been out and about and making the most of it.
Saturday instead of my usual local walk around my neighbourhood I drove a bit so I could walk through a different section of town. With summery weather, I headed to one of my favorite city parks and had a stroll there. Then stopped in a cafe that’s known for its croissants and had an Americano with a croissant with honey. They were all out of my favorite, the fig croissant.
This cafe is quite an arty place, with young hipsters grabbing a pastry or one of their fancy tiny cakes. Usually I read when alone in a cafe, but it was entertaining this time to just people watch, both in the cafe and out on the street. I felt energized just being among the young creative types. And there were a few oldsters around to keep me company as well.
Later I grabbed a bench in the park and made some progress on the mystery I’m currently reading – By the Time you Read This, by a Canadian, Giles Blunt. He has a flowing style and good characters. The detective is a policeman who has a bipolar wife who is a photographer. It’s an interesting light read.
In the evening I went along to my women’s movie group, which has just had a change of leadership and is now admitting men also. There were two of the male species along.
The movie was lovely – Cairo Time, actually also made in Canada and so little seen. It’s a quiet movie about an older woman (my age) who visits Cairo, planning to meet her husband. Her husband is delayed, so instead she is driven around the city by Tariq, her husband’s friend. You get such a lovely view of the city as they meander through it. Tariq and the wife fall for each other very gradually and lightly. Anyway, it’s nice to see a middle aged woman as the lead in a movie, who is having a good life.
We went for a discussion afterwards. I found the social aspect so difficult this time. I guess I was used to taking half a pill of my favorite medication, a beta blocker, and that used to make things so much easier for me. I managed to talk a bit during the discussion, but felt a lot of anxiety, not to say fear. The people were pleasant, and the whole thing was very low key, but I couldn’t relax. It was as if I was in some kind of danger and had to pretend everything was fine. I don’t think that makes a good impression on anyone.
Now that I no longer have a prescription, I’m trying to save the few pills I have left for emergencies such as flashbacks. I do not need the pills for when I’m with people I know, though I used to. So I have made progress. But for going out and chatting with strangers – I don’t know how to stop feeling afraid. I suspect repetition is not going to help by itself.
On Sunday I went for a 10 km walk with my walking group. Again I was horribly nervous about having no one to talk to. There’s nothing worse than doing a group activity where everyone else is chatting and being alone the whole time. Some time alone is fine. But I would feel like a loser being quiet the whole time.
Luckily a friend I know well was part of the group. Theoretically, we planned to walk with others to practice socializing. But I just wasn’t up to it, so we walked along together. Which made the whole expedition suddenly seem friendly and manageable.
After an hour or so, we got to chatting with a few other women on the walk, so got to socialize with new people as well.
The day was absolutely beautiful weather wise. I’m glad I was outside.
I was med free until the very end of the walk. Then because I was physically tired, my issues kind of kicked in, and I did take half a pill to see me through. Sigh.
I think it’s more beneficial for me to keep socializing, even if I need a bit of medication to do so, than to avoid groups altogether. I don’t see a way forward to being more relaxed right now without any meds. And quite honestly, I think most people with social anxiety do not go to these types of groups. So I’m going to give myself credit for the attempt, and count this as a successful weekend.
Today, Monday, I feel tired but, well, fulfilled. I didn’t hide from the world. That’s kind of satisfying.
Computer issues, so it takes forever to post a pic. I’ll be back to finding images for my posts soon I hope, once my computer is fixed.