I am a literal fainting goat, or that time I saw Pet Sematary twice.

I need you to picture this as my facial expression when all of this went down.
Image origin

And for today’s installment of ‘Charlotte is an anxious mess’ we have the time I missed the end of a movie because of my own brain. Recently, Lauren and I went on a date to see the most romantic release of the month – Pet Sematary. I thought it was pretty good, haven’t read the book yet so my opinion is based purely on the fact that I’ve watched it twice.

Yes, twice.

Now I didn’t see it twice because I loved it that much, I saw it twice because the first time we went to see it I almost passed out about twenty minutes from the end. I was just sat there, contentedly eating vegetarian gummy snakes and watching as all hell broke loose on the screen, when suddenly my vision was limited to a very small circle and my brain was flailing about in my head going ‘OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING DOWN, WE’RE GONNA DIE, LIE DOWN, TAKE A NAP, SOMETHING IS HAPPENING AND IT IS NOT. GOOD.’. So I turned to Lauren, as well as one who is very dizzy and cannot see very well can turn, and told her I didn’t feel very good, and would like to leave.

At least, I think I did. For all I know I could have just stared at her and mumbled, my recollection isn’t all that clear. Long story short I ended up sitting on the floor holding a bunch of ice in a paper towel to cool myself down watched closely by a very worried Lauren and an underpaid cinema employee. I have no idea what made my body mutiny against me and attempt to shut down, and in hindsight it’s vaguely amusing that I looked like the person who wimped out of the Stephen King movie, but at the time it was terrifying. Of course, I’m stubborn so I insisted we go back to see the end the following week.

I was petrified it would happen again.

Bear in mind this was almost a week later, I hadn’t had so much as a headrush in that time and had no reason whatsoever to fear going into the cinema I visit on a weekly basis (we go see a lot of movies with friends and on dates). But anxiety makes about as much sense as a chocolate saucepan, so there I was sat somewhere I literally go all the time, freaking out that I was going to faint. We were sat in the coffee shop attached to it, we weren’t even in the screen yet. I had spent the entire day doing literally everything I could to counteract whatever it was that made me feel faint. I ate plenty, drank plenty, kept my sugar levels up, avoided too much caffeine, wore thinner clothes in case I got too hot and took a scarf in case I got too cold. We booked aisle seats so that if I needed to leave I could do so without pissing off the people in between myself and the exit.

Unsurprisingly, I was fine, and required no medical assistance as I polished off a bag of skittles and a slushie and watched a family in Maine move into the new house from hell for a few hours, then went home and ate noodles.

Anxiety is this weird flaw in my existence that can make things I find enjoyable or comforting into something to be afraid of in an instant. If I feel awful wearing a particular item of clothing, no matter how cosy, I’m less likely to wear it again. If I don’t feel great after eating a particular food, even if I eat it all the time, it must be that food and I won’t eat it for ages. I fully realise that it’s probably all bullshit and yet I am too afraid to argue with myself because feeling faint, or sick, or just not right can be scary. I reckon that’s why I like horror – it limits the fear to a controlled environment and period of time, and I know it’s going to happen.

Unless, of course, I do the goat thing while watching it. That was less controlled. Maybe I just overheated, who knows, but I was fine and Lauren got me a slushie when we went back so there’s always a plus side.

I made myself go back partially because I wanted to see the end, but also because avoidance tactics can only take you so far. I get anxious a lot, if I avoided everything that had ever made  me anxious I’d never leave my house. Hell, if I avoided doing anything that made me anxious I’d never have spoken to Lauren, because speaking to the pretty lady was a terrifying prospect at the time and now I’m marrying her. Leaving comfort zones can be great.

Don’t get me wrong I won’t be challenging every anxiety-inducing activity and suddenly becoming a spider training skydiver but hey, baby steps.

I hope, at least, that the trauma of my cinema visit has been a mildly interesting story for you all. Please tell me I am not alone in the ‘stupid avoidance tactics’ club?

As always, I hope you’re all having a great day!

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