As Dani and I started getting ready, I could feel the anxiety already starting to build. I went out to the kitchen and made sure that I had a few extra anxiety pills with me and took one to try to stop the anxiety before it got out of control. Soon after, we left for dinner.
Dinner was easy. It was close to home and in a family setting. As we got in the car to head to Mayfair, I started to get a little edgy. We go close to the park where it's held and there was nowhere to park. It was pretty packed. We ended up parking a few blocks away and walking in. When we got to the gate, I was in for a pleasant surprise - military admission was free all weekend. Well, holy shit. That was new. It instantly ratcheted down my anxiety a notch. It make me feel welcome in a place I was expecting none.
After that, things went fairly smoothly. I got progressively more anxious as the night wore on and had to stop to take my anxiety meds once while we were there. Towards the end of the night, I started to tune out: I pushed Caley's stroller a little faster than the rest of the group was walking and quietly disengaged myself from conversation. I had been ready to go for a while but I didn't want to ruin the night for Dani. She was having so much fun. Shortly thereafter, we all headed out.
Looking back, I couldn't tell you much of the conversations we had. I don't remember. I was too focused on the environment around me. I do remember making comments and smiling at the appropriate times. I guess it's a start. The important part is that the night didn't end up with me blowing up, freaking out, or ruining the night out for my wife.
We got back to the car, bade our friends a good night and left for home. When we got home, I went into lala land for a while, decompressing. I just keep on remembering that one thing: It didn't end in disaster.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.