Two days ago, I walked into town on my own to go to the hair salon. It’s taken me these past two days to get over it.
My partner’s children are staying with us for two weeks, over the summer holidays and for the first time in seven years are not up at the crack of dawn playing on their handheld game consoles. So when I asked my partner if he minded me getting my hair done, he said of course he didn’t, and I could go there by myself, couldn’t I, as it was an early appointment, and the kids would likely not be up yet.?
Of course I could, couldn’t I.? I spent the rest of the day before the appointment worrying about it. It’s not like I haven’t walked into town before on my own, I have, but always to meet him, knowing he’ll either be waiting for me, or will be there within 5 minutes of me getting to our arranged meeting place. This time I was going somewhere alone, and he wouldn’t be waiting for me, or be arriving there soon afterwards. I would be on my own. I got very anxious about it. I don’t like being around a lot of people, I feel suffocated, and struggle to breathe, I get claustrophobic and jittery, and feel trapped. I don’t like the feeling of being alone around people I don’t know, and while I know the stylist at the salon, she is still an unpredictable presence, and that worries me.
I barely slept the night before, worrying about having to be alone, and was up just after 6.30 a.m. three hours before I had to be there. I know the route, I know the neighbourhood, but it didn’t stop me feeling anxious. Leaving home to go into town was difficult, because I was alone, and walking down towards the town centre, I made sure I knew where the people around me were, and made sure to keep distance between them and me. Not that I think they’ll do anything, I just didn’t like their proximity.
I got to the salon, and waited a few minutes for her to finish with a previous client, and then sat and had my hair washed, and styled. Everything was fine. She was chatty, and funny, and as friendly as she always was, she made coffee, and I felt safe and happy there. I walked back home, perfectly fine, and feeling a little better about having gone out alone, but was mentally exhausted. I couldn’t function properly because I could think of nothing but being alone in town, and I got very upset about it. It’s taken me two days of being around the house, of doing normal everyday things with my partner, and the children, and trying not to think about it, to get past it.