THE DAY MY ANXIETY TURNED INTO A PTSD LIKE EXPERIANCE
My Mother’s Day started quite like any I suppose. I woke up and relaxed.
I looked around the messy house, thought to myself, the obsession to clean will have to wait. Waiting, however short lived, I must admit, was a troubling concept.
As I doted around the house watching TV and folding laundry, my husband woke up. Upon entering the front room he asked what I wanted him to make for brunch. It was really sweet. He’s really not a morning person.
My daughter called me, then I called my mom. The day was off to a beautiful start. A short time later Breezy and Shayne brought me flowers. There were three bouquets. One of lilies, carnations and these pretty colorful flowers. I just can’t recall the name.
Like a good hoarder, I pulled out four of my many vases I’ve collected from holidays past. I immediately chose three small vases and one shaped as a swan. Each vase given by her or my husband. Separately with a beautiful memory attached.
She proceeded to create three bouquets and placed one simple pink flower in the swan.
All of this was so sweet. Previously we’d decided to postpone Mother’s Day until the following Sunday. Floating holidays. A skill our family has perfected over the years. This time, for my son-in-law who had a car show in Dallas the night before.
It was worth it. After all, he did win first place in his category.
Knowing we’d all be tired, I called off Mother’s Day before the hours of driving even got started. The very idea of spending 10 hours in the car was enough to make me wish the day wouldn’t come at all.
Regardless of floating the holiday, my family was there with smiles on their faces and appreciation in their hearts. While the kids were over, we decided to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Admittedly, it wasn’t my first choice. But little Groot is just too cute. I was willing just to see his cute face and signature catch phrase,
I am Groot.”
Seriously. I had to know if he blew everyone up for cripes sake!
Mother’s Day was seemingly back on. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us at the time, trauma was about to creep in.
We arrived at the theatre much too early (irrational fear of being late) as I normally do. With time to spare, we got a drink and cheesy fries and waited to go in. We sat in the lobby chattering about little things. The next car show. Breezy’s vehicle. Family. Future plans.
By the time the nachos and fries were gone, I was glad we went. Thankful for a family that makes me get out. Even when I’d rather stay in the comfort of my own home.
A Turn for the Worst
Time to go in.
We found our seats and proceeded to get comfy. Me, with a blanket and coat. I’m always SO cold.
Just before the movie started, a couple with a toddler (maybe 3) sat next to me. At this time I feel it necessary to include two points of interest. First and foremost, this theatre has assigned seating. Secondly, the entire theatre was packed.
As soon as the movie started (perhaps it’s when it started to annoy me) the woman continues a full conversation with the kid.
It’s all I hear.
As I start becoming anxious I shift in my seat, heaved a deep breath and told myself this is a public place. By now, the child in standing on the seat.
Child moves to dad. Back to mom. Stands on the floor. Back up with mom. Bounces on the end of the foot rest (recliner seats).
Any attempt at concentration has totally eluded me.
All of this is so distracting I barely understand the movie is playing.
All the while the mother is talking to the child. Not one time did she indicate to the child to quiet down. Doesn’t she realize other people were trying to watch? Has she no social awareness at all?
I shift again. Sigh again. Look to my husband with the face of someone about to lose it.
All the while I’m trying like hell to convince myself it’s just a child. Reassure myself I could make it through the movie. Tell myself my time with my family was more important than her lack of respect for others.
At this point my husband, who previously offered to say something, leaned forward and asked the man to try and keep the child quiet.
No response from either of them.
The lady then grabs the kid and pulls him into the chair with her, only for the kid to start arching his back and crying.
Thanks lady. That’s better.
Gives him to dad. Same thing.
The child is still crying and neither make any effort to even take the child to the theatre entrance where the kid can play in the hall.
Unable to calm the child and clearly unwilling to leave the theatre, the child is let loose.
Upon receiving his most recent freedom, he was back on the floor. This time hanging on the rail. No one seemed to care he could fall.
No one but me.
The child bounces again on the mom’s foot rest. Up and down. Up and down. Apparently they were oblivious to the noise and seeming to not care. Our request falling upon deaf ears.
I shift again. Agitated to my very core. Anxiety hitting a level I don’t even recognize.
Again, a deep sigh. I try like hell to calm my growing anxiety.
From Bad to Worse
The child starts jumping up and down. His feet banging loud each time.
Again, the parents ignore it.
Kid jumps. And jumps. Looks back, the jumps more.
I sigh. I can’t shake the feeling I’m about to lose my cool. My blood is boiling.
I tried. Really I did. I fought like hell to not ruin our outing. To keep cool, at any cost. But the child’s feet. The banging was tormenting me. I didn’t hear a child’s feet. The sound I heard was far worse. It was like someone banged a symbol next to my ear.
The need to cover my ears was mounting and mounting. The sound becoming louder and louder. Just as I feel I’m about to lose my shit and punch this lady, I stand up.
The Straw that Breaks the Camel’s back
As I stand up I keep saying, I’m done. Over and over. Then I looked at my husband and said,
I’m going to get my money back.”
He just looked at me. I don’t know if he was afraid for me or himself. Hell has no furry like the person who scorns his wife.
It’s ironic though.
Seemingly in unison as I lost it, and not quietly, she stood up to take the kid out. What are the chances?
I yelled at her to move out of my way. She stood there. I yelled again. My husband later told me her husband told her to move. I was completely unaware.
She just stood there blocking the aisle. I yelled again as I moved down the aisle past her.
By this time I feel I’m having a heart attack. My heart beating out of my chest. As I walked out of the theatre I nearly skipped down the stairs. I couldn’t get out fast enough. The need to get away was too much.
I drowned as a child. Seeing that water come over my face before I went down is exactly how I felt. The world was closing in and I had to escape.
Leaving the Theatre
The theatre staff was great. They understood and agreed. By the time I lost it, we were over 45 minutes into the movie. I promise you, at no time was the child ever silent.
Just as I got a manager to go into the theatre with me, the lady finally came out with the kid. I guess she didn’t want to miss anything.
At that point I told the manager I cannot go back in. I can’t go back and sit next to them. Thus far, I didn’t even know what was going on in the movie.
I requested a refund and he immediately agreed. He must have sensed the desperation in my voice and the traumatic look on my face.
He took me to the front and turned me over to another manager who would in fact refund our money. Just as we approached the box office, my husband, daughter and son-in-law came down. All who indicated the child drove them crazy and they could NOT sit through the remainder of the movie. Even Breezy. Four seats away.
That is the beauty of family. They’re willing to make concessions if they believe it makes mom happy.
The manager apologized to me, but I apologized to her. I let her know I lost it. That I couldn’t bare to go back inside.
Despite the infuriated feeling I had, it was only toward the couple. The manager did nothing. She couldn’t have known.
Upon receiving a refund we stepped outside at talked about the situation for about 15 minutes.
While I fought like hell to not have the situation end as it did, the battle was lost. The only victory – I left before I did something truly stupid.
Despite any one of my family members overreacting at one point or another, any of them are welcome to tell me if I did so. Life is about learning from mistakes. But they assured me this was justified.
As I told the manager we would, we went back. Yesterday to be exact. During the first half of the movie there were intermittent parts I remember. Others I didn’t. Only in seeing the moving again did I realize how little I managed to take in.
Long after I thought I was seeing a portion of the movie for the first time, my husband said,
This is where we left.”
I was shocked.
Had I really seen that much of the movie and not remembered? Was it possible I was that distracted?
I’m inclined to believe so. After all, just re-watching the movie brought back intermittent memories of the first attempt.
The second time around, there was talking. Intermittent talking. Usually when Groot did something with his cute little self.
They laughed. I laughed. Some of the comments equally as cute and illustrative as the movie. I left smiling.
I didn’t know the move would be a tear jerker, but I loved it just the same. Ron and I sat to the very end of the credits in hopes I would see little Groot do another dance.
He didn’t. While I’m not going to spoil it for you, it was worth waiting.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH TRAUMATIC EVENTS? IN WHAT WAY HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO OVERCOME ANXIETY?