• Michelle Partington

I am not my diagnosis.

I made the decision last night to attend the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club night to support Female in Comedy’s 16th birthday. I didn’t buy a ticket in case I didn’t make it but the organiser very kindly put me on the guest list. I have wasted so much money on previous events due to becoming too anxious and panicky. I am just glad I have some understanding people around me because I refuse to let this beat me. I would rather be uncomfortable and take the risk than be in-prisoned in my own home.

So I sat at the bus stop half an hour early, headphones on watching everyone coming in and out of the takeaways across the road from me. Another new friend messaged me on Facebook and then kept me company with her messages throughout the whole journey bless her, so very kind.

I became increasingly anxious as I left the bus because I had to find where I was going. I had looked at the map several times prior to the journey but it still didn’t stop me worrying. I finally arrived and was relieved to see a familiar face in Hazel. I was very kindly invited to join her and her guests and had a great view whilst being able to sit in a place where no one was behind me and I had easy access to exits. I settled down a bit more then but was alert to the fact I remained hyper vigilant throughout. The comediennes I was able to see before having to leave made me laugh quite a lot, which I guess was good for them being in the industry 🙂 I left quite early for my bus back because it was the last one and I didn’t want to miss it. It’s frustrating being so anxious because I could have had another half hour in the club. I got back home and I was buzzing because I had achieved my goal of going out and supporting the night – av it!!!!

This morning I was at my mums early because I needed to go into town to buy my personal Christmas cards and wrapping paper. We had to go really early to avoid busy crowds. On the way there my Mum said she had started planning escape routes every time we go out anywhere now bless her. I was in the card shop taking time to choose my personal cards when I was suddenly aware I was being crowded by other shoppers. I started to panic and I could feel myself tensing up. I really needed to pick up my cards today because it would only become busier the closer to Christmas it gets meaning there would be no way of buying them then. I managed to pick them all up but I was on the verge of running out! Whilst in the queue my headphones in situ, people just kept pushing past me. Rude shoppers barging past and busy shops would test people at the best of times, never mind someone with PTSD. As I was seconds away from either screaming or knocking someone out my mum came over and took over my place in the queue. I almost ran out of the shop as if I was having to source the last bit of fresh air before I took my last breath. I felt so smothered by it all.

I am so very angry with the system for reducing me to such a gibbering wreck. I used to be so outgoing but I am too guarded now. It’s horrible that I cannot enjoy even the simplest of tasks now. At least my purse will be much better for it but that’s the only thing! I gave absolutely everything for the service yet that counts for nothing now. I will NOT let it beat me though and if the service don’t support me to beat it then I will find my own way. I will not be defined by my illness!


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