Sunday, 20 December 2009

Mingling with Marie's Mental Mates at the Party for Panicky People.


Marie hosted a party on Saturday evening.  It was for her friends with anxiety issues, but she let me attend too (as long as I agreed to help with the catering).  Our guests all came from the South of England and 5 of them who had travelled about 2½ hours to get to us had booked overnight accommodation.  In total there were 11 of us present.

Sufferers were afflicted in various degrees with one or more of the following conditions - agoraphobia, arachnophobia,  gynophobia, haphephobia, monophobia, ocd, panthophobia, ptsd, social phobia and xenophobia.  A social anxiety sufferer took 90 minutes to pluck up enough courage to ring our doorbell.  Our ptsd guest didn't converse with anyone for almost 2 hours, and then talked incessantly.  A few of our invited guests, including our new next door neighbour, Drew, couldn't make it because their phobias were too strong on the night and one had a stomach upset.

Marie had what looked like the contents of a small supermarket delivered from the local Asda (UK's Walmart stores).  It was all snack food and cakes and the drinks were either alcoholic or sugar saturated.  There wasn't a healthy tidbit in sight.  As a result,  the food and drink were very popular!

Our guests mostly hadn't met each other before.  They were all keen to compare symptoms of their conditions as well as chatting about TV, movies, their children (who appeared to be either really sweet or real nuisances) and jobs - or lack of them.  Of course, no one had to hide their condition or put on a false front, so we had a very relaxed atmosphere.  Some of our guests were very pleased with themselves just for travelling so far or going somewhere with so many people.

Everyone seemed to have had a good time.  No one panicked!  The guests wanted Marie to have another party and the concensus was that some time around Easter would be good.

By the end of the evening, I realised that all our guests suffered from one common problem - poor self esteem.

Nobody got drunk enough to be annoying, the carpets and furniture hadn't been damaged and when all our guests had left, around 12.30 am,  we completely filled a bin bag with rubbish!  Blaze (our dog) got petted all evening and had some of the leftovers, so he had a good time too!

Marie's mental mates are a great bunch of people! 



9 comments:

Sarah♥ said...

I think my invitation got lost in the post...lol.

Glad you fab party, sounds like you all had a whole lot of fun :)

x

Nechtan said...

Hi Robert,

I can relate to a few of those things. The reluctance to ring the doorbell, not talking for the first two hours and then not being able to shut up thereafter are part of my makeup too. After the group apprehension settled people would have had a great time. I'm glad it went well for all.

Its an interesting note about low self esteem. That is very true I've found though I'm not sure if its a result of having anxiety problems or contributed to them in the first place. Maybe a bit if cycle involving both. Confidence I think is linked to people's ability to handle anxiety. Those with low confidence place too much importance on the symptoms, I feel in my case anyway. I just can't imagine someone brimming with confidence allowing anxiety problems to hold them bakc or at least allowing them to spiral to the point where they become a disorder.

All the best

Nechtan

alice said...

what a great idea robert. having a party, im so glad that it went well for you both too. and having blaze around, i bet that helped for some of the people to stroke, animals are a great calmer.

i hope you both have a wonderful christmas, keep warm.
xxx

rosiero said...

What a good idea to meet up. How did Marie get to know them in the first place?

Kit Courteney said...

What a fantastic idea and clearly a resounding success.

Best wishes to you, Marie and your lovely family :0)

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Robert said...

Sarah - if I'd thought that there was the slightest chance of you attending, I would not only have sent an invite - I would have sent a taxi too, lol!

Nechtan - thanks for giving me a new angle on the self confidence issue in panic/anxiety disorder. Something to think about.

alice - how insightful of you! Blaze did indeed prove invaluable as a conversation opener as well as a relaxing stroke-able pet. Every good party should have a canine present!

rosiero - Marie had met most of our guests previously through a couple of parties in other people's houses; and the local guests are known to us as anxiety disorder sufferers. Putting them all together worked better than anticipated.

KC - thanks for the kind wishes. Best wishes to you too!

Robert said...

Sarah - if I'd thought that there was the slightest chance of you attending, I would not only have sent an invite - I would have sent a taxi too, lol!

Nechtan - thanks for giving me a new angle on the self confidence issue in panic/anxiety disorder. Something to think about.

alice - how insightful of you! Blaze did indeed prove invaluable as a conversation opener as well as a relaxing stroke-able pet. Every good party should have a canine present!

rosiero - Marie had met most of our guests previously through a couple of parties in other people's houses; and the local guests are known to us as anxiety disorder sufferers. Putting them all together worked better than anticipated.

KC - thanks for the kind wishes. Best wishes to you too!

Phil said...

Hi!

I could relate to a lot of things on this blog!

Agoraphobia can be so hard. I just wanted to mention that there are free telephone support groups for agoraphobia.

These are so great because you don't have to leave the house in order to get help. I call into Social Anxiety Anonymous groups (completely free, they are a nonprofit) and they are really gentle and yet loaded with valuable information and I can listen to other people who have similar problems too.

There is info about these free telephone support groups for agoraphobia (along with other kinds of social anxiety) at http://www.healsocialanxiety.com

By the way, there are other organizations that provide similar telephone groups for OCD.

Good luck!