Last night was my first Christmas party in my new department. Once I'd gotten over the dilemma of what to wear, I was actually looking forward to it - a rare opportunity to get dressed up, an even rarer opportunity for a night out in a nice hotel, and a chance to get to know my colleagues better.
But. Yesterday afternoon my mood went from positive and cheery to paranoid and low, in the space of about half an hour. And it stayed that way. I still wanted to go - I had bought new shoes that needed wearing!! - so I came home, got myself all dolled up and drove in. Parked the car, turned off the engine...................nothing. Couldn't do it. I had spent the entire journey in trying to persuade myself that I would be fine. I would go in, plaster a smile on my face till it became a real one and enjoy myself.
Anyway, that's not what happened. Instead, I sat in the car debating with myself for a good fifteen minutes, watching various people arrive and getting progressively more upset. At that stage it was a foregone conclusion. The warpaint was streaking and I was in no fit state to talk to anyone. So, I left. I didn't want to go home as I knew the kids would be up and didn't want to have to work my way around that (as it turns out, a very wise move. D had had a complete meltdown and I think my arriving home in a heap shortly after telling them I'd be out for the night would have tipped him over the edge altogether). So I drove down to Salthill and looked at the sea for a while. Once I'd calmed down enough to be able to see the road clearly (always helpful), I turned the car round and came home. Via the chinese for an inordinate amount of comfort food.
|You get the analogy, right?|
I could drive myself cracked over this. I could analyse every thought I had, and berate myself for not being able to go out and just enjoy myself. I could get tied up in knots of paranoia about what people think. I'm going to try really, really hard not to do that. I made a decision based on the circumstances, and at the time, it was the right one. Far, far from ideal, but the right one nonetheless. Moving on.