I had a panic attack at my cousin’s wedding.

It’s been a couple of months since my last post.

But I thought it was important to share what happened on the day of my cousin’s wedding.

My last post talked about how I felt so out of place and felt like I didn’t belong in my family, when I was at the rehearsal dinner.

So naturally, I already had a lot of anxiety on the day of my cousin’s wedding.

I barely had sleep the night before and it added to the anxiety I already had. I could feel the anxiety of the day before the day even began.

I felt fine that morning, despite the lack of sleep. We spent the morning in the penthouse where all the women got their hair and make-up ready. I spent the majority of that time on my phone, which helped my anxiety. And after getting my make-up done and getting ready for the wedding. I thought I was going to be fine.

I did not know where to go, where to sit or stand before the ceremony. I felt so strange not having anyone to interact with….and my anxiety grew. I finally just sat where most of my relatives were and thought I would be okay.

I cried when the doors opened and I saw my beautiful cousin walk down the aisle. That moment really hit me. I felt a sudden rush of memories, from the time we were little to the present time, flashed before my eyes. I was really close to her when we were younger and like with everyone else, we got distant as we grew older.

Once the ceremony ended and the cocktail hour started. That’s when the anxiety kicked in. I didn’t know where to go. I felt my heart beating quickly and I started to feel so confused. Because I had no where to go and I had no where to escape.

I was guided to go outside to take photos with the family and the bride.

One moment that struck me was the girl cousins were all gathered and they called me in. And I thought it was for everyone & no one else came up with me. And I thought I made a mistake because I wasn’t a bridesmaid. I walked out and they were saying no I’m part of the picture.

It was a nice gesture to include me as part of a photo. But looking at the pictures now and seeing how I’m the only one that doesn’t have the same dress hurts. What hurts even more is looking at my smile in that photo. I was hurting so much, but I had to try so hard to fake that smile.

Once we were done, we took our seats for dinner. I was in the back and close to the bathrooms. I sat with my cousins, my cousins kids and my brother. So again, I thought I was fine.

But throughout dinner, everyone at my table would leave for various reasons. To help with the DJ, to take photo booth photos, to get a drink, to go outside and the two little girls were just running around. I would look around and see all the girl cousins at the photo booth together & that they all sat next to each other too. A majority of that dinner, I sat by myself in the corner. And that set my anxiety into high gear.

I didn’t know where to go. I could feel a panic attack coming. And I didn’t know what to do. I figured that it was best to go to the bathroom. And as soon as I closed that stall door, I started crying, hyperventilating and having a panic attack.

If I could, I would have stayed in that bathroom all night. It was the only place that felt safe.

I kept on going back and forth from my table to the bathroom to cry or continue my panic attack. Or the seats outside the bathroom, which didn’t feel too safe because everyone was coming in and out of there.

Towards the end of the night before the dancing began, I become overstimulated as well as having a panic attack. If I was at the table, I would cover my ears and close my eyes. If not, I was in the bathroom crying or sitting in the seats outside the bathroom covering my ears.

I couldn’t leave the venue on my own or even to step outside. We were in the heart of downtown and on a Friday night, it probably wasn’t safe for me to go outside on my own.

My mom could sense that I was very uncomfortable and asked if I wanted to go back to the hotel (which was 2 blocks down). I said yes, hoping my dad would come too. But he stayed. My anxiety increased as my mom and I, walked two blocks in downtown. I was trying to speed walk/run to the hotel but couldn’t leave my mom behind.

Once we got to the hotel and got safely back to our hotel room, I felt like I was able to breathe again. Along with some donuts we had in our room, I felt a lot better.

I felt so uncomfortable in a wedding where half the guests were my family.

I prepared myself for weeks in therapy for that day.

But no matter how much I prepared, it wasn’t enough to help my anxiety or help with my panic attack.

Ever since that day, I always think about my future wedding. And how I won’t have any bridesmaids or maid of honors, and it breaks my heart. All my friendships and relationships with cousins diminished. And if they aren’t there for me for my tough mental days (or at least talk to me), then why would I have them as part of my “special” day??

I had to completely take myself out of my comfort zone for that wedding. If it wasn’t family, I wouldn’t have gone to that wedding.

I always have to sacrifice my mental health, my comfort level for my family. Going to family events when I feel uncomfortable.

I wish they would go out of their comfort zones for me. Ask me how I’m truly feeling, asking about mental health. If I have a panic attack, just being present. Or just including me in things as their family because they WANT TO AND NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO.

-Mel

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