As soon as my partner told me we were going out for a meal with friends on Saturday night, I tried to stay calm. This is a good thing. Something to look forward to. Something I have been longing for. It was no good, my worrying mind dominated my thoughts. Since lockdown lifted, I had only met up with my family, drank mostly soft drinks and had early nights. This situation was different. People I hardly knew and who hardly knew me. Now my mind was racing. What will I drink? Will I be able to have a night of ‘normal’ drinking? What will be asked about my job? How should I reply? Should I prepare to say it’ll be an early night? Oh, wow I’ve never felt like this before. I visited each thought and tried to answer sensibly with solid replies that couldn’t allow for judgement to be cast. After all that was my main fear. I want to enjoy the night and have them enjoy my company too. After much pondering and churning over every scenario about the worst ways my body could fail me, and that an early night was inevitable. I give my head a shake. I sat up straight and told my self what will be will be. I am unwell and if I start to crash out, they will see I am unwell and then the worst thing is I’ll go home and sleep. That is really not that bad. So, I continued the rest of the week with my new determined mindset… I will have a good time.
The night soon arrived. I had a shower the previous night to conserve energy, applied a thick layer of deodorant, a smattering of make-up, my partner straightened my hair (I know, amazing right?), squirted some nice perfume and I was done. I was donning a nice, summery, new to me top. It was £6.50 from a charity shop and hardly worn, I love a bargain! I looked good, well alive at least and off we went. We had pre drinks at a pub before going to the restaurant. I had 2 halves…go me! And everything was feeling very smooth. There was a couple of times I had gaps in my conversation (brain fog not giving me the correct words I needed) but I don’t think they noticed. At least no-one mentioned anything so to me they hadn’t noticed.
I did have a couple of heart sunken moments when we met another group of people in the pub. The conversation turned to missing holidays and what people’s plans were for the rest of the summer. I went quiet and just commented on the places they were talking about. It seemed to gloss over the fact we don’t have such plans. A holiday abroad even the new, and aptly named, ‘staycation’ is too expensive, too tiring to plan, too tiring to navigate an airport and there’s the umpteen rules to get my head around. I’d sleep the rest of the time after getting through all of that. Still, it wasn’t too long before we left.
Next up was the restaurant. I had already looked at and mulled over the menu options at home, so that speeded up the reading process. We all ordered and after having a couple of beers I felt brave so ordered a large red wine with my meal. I mean push…the…boat…out, I am going for it here! It was such a good evening. Great food, great company. I slurred a few times but just made a joke of it and blamed the drink. Actually, it probably was the drink, I hadn’t drunk in some time. I still had a 2nd glass though. I was so proud of myself.
We finally had another drink back in the first pub. I was loving life, I felt normal. There was no asking how I was feeling, no asking about a job I don’t have, no asking about my illness in general. It was and felt like a ‘normal’ evening. I had such a night off from being with myself, I relaxed and enjoyed hearing other’s stories.
So, the night went well after all with lots of joking and laughing. It really gave me some escapism and a proper feel-good boost. I did start to fade more towards the end and it was only 11:30pm, so I’m not sure how much more I could have coped with. I’m just glad I got through it and I really appreciate the good people in my life. I suffered in the next few days but it was worth it. Well, it may be a while now but I know I can relax and look forward to the next night out.
I’m still smiling writing this blog. It just goes to show how a few hours of a good time, brings a joy that can last 10 times more.