This past weekend I had to go to two wedding showers on the same day and thought I was going to have a panic attack, but I didn’t.
In an effort to step up my dickish wedding game, I agreed to go to two wedding showers [Siya note: What the PHUCK is a wedding shower? I thought that was a bridal shower. For women.][Ben note: 1.) Siya, what the actual fuck? How did you get into my diary? 2.) It’s the same thing, only it’s all-inclusive, but not like resorts are all-inclusive, instead like how unisex bathrooms are all-inclusive.] on the same day, for the same couple. It’s important to mention that I’m really happy for the couple and excited to share in their love and blah blah blah, this isn’t about them. It’s about me. THOUGH… indulge me on one important tangent on the groom-to-be who I’ve known for many years: THIS DUDE PUTS SALT ON SOUR PATCH KIDS. I don’t care who you are, that’s weird as shit.
For most of my adult life I’ve had severe social anxiety which often results in crippling panic attacks. This can make going to things like wedding showers a huge fucking ordeal for me. Never had a panic attack before? 1.) Fuck you, you lucky bastard. 2.) Let me describe one for you.
A panic attack is basically like a fine dining experience with a chef’s special menu, only everything being served is pain. Picture it like such:
“Welcome sir, we’re glad you’ve chosen to drown in your own oxygen and racing thoughts dine with us today. We’re going to start you off with a mild bought of paranoia and hyperventilation. You’ll particularly enjoy the feeling of impending doom that’s going to wash over you now.”
“Oh excellent, will this be accompanied by a side of cold sweats?”
“Of course, sir. Uncontrollable sweat is standard with all of our meals. After your first course, we’ll pump the hyperventilation up to a choking sensation and sprinkle in a dash of elevated heart rate. You should feel particularly close to death in this moment.”
“How quaint! Is it safe to assume I’ll be mistaking this moment for a heart attack?”
“Most definitely, sir. Your entire left side of your body will go numb for half an hour, and you won’t be able to move your hands. For dessert, we’ll finish you off with healthy rain of your own tears and the unshakable thought that your entire life is one big meaningless failure.”
It’s the absolute fucking worst. I’ve tried a myriad of different treatments for panic attacks, all with different degrees of success. In no particular order, here are my favorite failures:
1.) I spent half a decade stoned off my ass. AND IT WORKED. But it had the downside of making me an actual idiot. Like so, so dumb you guys. Sure, I was able to go out in public and live a surface-level normal life, but GOD DAMN WAS I DUMB. I was so dumb I got a D- in a community college level math class because I was too stoned to remember to do the take-home half of the final exam. THAT’S NOT A GOOD LOOK.
2.) I’ve spent months at a time locked in my room without going out in public. THAT ALSO WORKED. No panic attacks! But I also alienated every friend, family member, and loved one I had. So I mean, mixed bag there. If you’re cool with not having a single person in your life, then fuck it, why not?
3.) Meds. I’m not going to talk too much shit about meds because meds are really important for some people and it’s dope that we have ways to help people that can’t work it out on their own. Meds have helped me get over humps, but meds also numb the shit out of me. I don’t feel enough when I’m on them, so that’s not my thing. But by all means, if it’s yours, you do you. I JUST NEED TO BE ABLE TO CRY WHEN I WATCH THE NOTEBOOK, YOU GUYS. Fuck.
So yeah, I tried all of that shit. They worked until they failed me. They all had side effects that I couldn’t deal with. That’s sort of how this goes. You treat anxiety like college sexuality, experimenting until you find that super depraved, weird shit that really gets you off.
So what really gets me off? Narcissism. Oh good god, yes, narcissism. I mean sure, healthy eating and exercise, too. But that shit’s boring and you can read about it a gabillion other places online. Narcissism though? That’s all me. Because I’m a fucking genius. I’m the smartest fucker in every single room I’ve ever graced in my entire life. The corpse of Albert Einstein is all like, “Damn Ben, you’re dope.” At least that’s what I tell myself over and over and over whenever I go out in public. And it’s definitely what I told myself when I spent hours in a crowded room of strangers twice on the same day this past weekend. And it worked. Because it’s really not hard to be narcissistic when the dude whose wedding shower you’re going to is a dude WHO PUTS FUCKING SALT ON SOUR PATCH KIDS.
Did I still spend a large chunk of time awkwardly staring at my phone? You fucking bet! Did I spitfire a few panic-lie answers to standard questions about my life? Abso-fucking-lutely. But did I break down into terrible sweats, lose feeling in my left arm, struggle to catch my breath, and have to dip the fuck out of there? NOPE! FUCKING VICTORY DUDE.
Small steps with anxiety are huge steps. If you’re one of the countless people in the past I’ve talked to in public that have found me distant, or detached, or awkward, well I’m sorry. That wasn’t really me. That was anxiety punching me in the dick. That being said, if you’re one of the countless people I’ve recently talked to in public that have found me to be a bit of dick. Well, that was me. And it’s really your fault for not being on my level.
So yeah, I went to two wedding showers on the same day and thought I was going to have a panic attack. But I didn’t.