It was my sisters 30th birthday, she went away for a week but had a big old gathering when she returned to celebrate with our very large extended family.
I was really sad that I missed her actual birthday the day before, but was struggling with some pains and wasn’t sure I could make it. Eventually I decided I’d make the effort even if we had to leave again after half an hour because, how could I miss such an important occasion in her life.
I was super nervous about going to an actual event in a pub with live music because one: it’s been so long not being around large groups of people and the world opening back up is scary, two: a large number of family members would be there that I’d not seen since pre-pandemic, and three: I am almost always worried they don’t like me, or that they think I don’t like them.
Why do I think that? Well, because I have always suffered with depression and anxiety, there have been lots of occasions I haven’t attended over the years, before the pandemic kinda blew all that up. Christenings, birthdays, weddings.. many others I’m sure. Most of my immediate family do attend the majority of these events so from the outside looking in it could feel like I don’t care or that I just don’t want to be there but the truth is I have always struggled with social gatherings, it doesn’t matter if it’s family and friends.. your brain doesn’t care.
That’s one of the reasons we’re having a smaller wedding, me and my partner both suffer with social anxiety, but while he has a relatively small family, both my parents come from big families so the numbers are ridiculous.
I’ve had events before where I haven’t invited absolutely everyone, but I still invited people when I didn’t really want to because ‘that’s what you do’. Me not inviting people to my wedding has caused some upset but I wanted to stick firm because surely on my wedding day, my mental health, as well as my partners, should be the priority over other people’s hurt feelings? And not inviting certain people, doesn’t neccesarily mean we don’t want them there, we wanted a small wedding, we have a budget, neither of us want any drama or people that get a little too carried away with the celebratory drinks.. but even if we invited everyone that we did want to, it would be too big and too expensive for us.
I can’t go around individually explaining to people that they are not invited due to budgetary reasons or that we never hear from them, because they get too drunk, or because they cause arguments on nights out sometimes, even if it’s true it’s not nice to hear. They are still family, but I’m just trying to protect myself, my partner, and our day.
Now imagine all that going through your head and I thought for sure someone was going to say something about the wedding and I didn’t know how to handle it.
I was dressed and ready to go, we picked up my brother and my youngest sister.. and off we went.
Arriving at the pub I was flooded with anxiety, I could see so many people inside, not a mask in sight. I know we don’t have to wear them now, but I’m still not fond of the idea of walking through a crowd without one.
We were directed to the function room and there was my family, my sister looking beautiful in a new dress for her birthday, cousins and aunts and uncles I’d not seen in so long.. and everyone was smiling and laughing.
I was still nervous but seeing everyone together laughing and chatting and being so happy to see each other again, it felt really good.
The wedding was mentioned a couple times throughout the night but more in a wow it’s so soon how exciting kind of way, mostly people were just happy to see each other, and the one person who hasn’t been invited that did start asking something was very quickly distracted by someone else, totally by accident but I did breathe a sigh of relief!
I’m so happy that I went to the party, and I ended up having a great time. There’s something about spending time with people you love that reinvigorates you.. take that anxiety!
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