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.
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!