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So it's no secret that I have well um... i guess you could call it "social anxiety" issues. As a kid it was easy to say "oh.. she's shy". But as an adult who still makes her spouse call for pizza because she's afraid of picking up the phone 98% of the time.. it's harder to brush it aside as something that's nothing.. if that makes sense.

it's also no secret that I experience one humdinger of a case of post-partum depression. I could create an entire blog just about that.. and I tend not to delve into it much anymore because I've honestly made such serious gains emotionally over the last year that I got a new start at life.

This morning I went to something called the MOTS (Mother of Twins Sale). Basically it's a semi-annual gathering where somewhere between 60-75 (75 this year) mothers of twins gather items that they'd like to sell and the group rents space in a local high school that's open to members of the MOT group and also to the public. It's like a garage sale gone wild.. I managed to fill a black trash bag with a few dozen clothing items and about a dozen new toys for ben and I spent just about $50.. can't complain at all about that!

A friend of mine, Barb Luciano, came over to my house this morning to pick me up and we drove over together. When we arrived.. we saw our good friend, Sally (a MOT) and another friend of mine, Snickollet (another MOT).. they were both "working the show". We hit the sale like two women on a mission.. we each had a "plan of attack"... mine was to hit the big items and then the toys and then the books/dvds and then brave the crowd around the Boys 2T-3T clothing table. Along the way, I snagged a big bag of baby boy socks for a friend of mine who is on bedrest.

When I reached the point where I couldn't lift my bag anymore.. I decided to check out and drop my loot in the car and then go back in for one final sweep while Barb was finishing up. I went through Snickollet's line and we joked around and made plans for another Mariachi night.. yay!

As I was walking to my car.. I realized that last year's April MOTS was the first one that I had attended. It was also the first major outing that I had following my go-round with PPD (Post-Partum Dep.). I was just released from the partial psychiatric day program a few weeks earlier.. and had immediately gone back to work. The thought of being in a room filled with so many people, let alone visiting with people that I've been friends with for years.. was enough to really push me to my limit. I remember taking an extra anti-anxiety pill with me "just in case" and I made back-up plans with a few of my friends if I needed to "escape". We practically had code words and stuff in place. My friends were incredibly supportive and they all "got it" and really held me up. Getting to and through the simple "yard sale" was something that was like climbing Mount Everest for someone who had been through the wringer like I had been. I remember how proud I felt of myself. I remember how touch-and-go it was at times. I remember not having a "plan of attack".. my only plan was to go in and walk around.. if I saw something that I wanted to get for Ben, I had cash.. but I had no "list" and nothing that i "needed". I ended up spending about $20 and got a few clothes items and rattles. I remember having to take a step back a few time and practice my breathing exercises to keep a potential panic attack at bay. I remember the relief of walking out of the school with my friends and how it felt so good to be outside and not closed in with all of those people and all of the noise. I remember watching my friends talk and compare their "finds" and I believe that I took part in the conversation a little bit. I remember going home and being SO exhausted from the effort that the event took.

It's only been a year. Sometimes I think that I haven't made much progress with the social fears.. but then I note that I caught up with three people that I consider to be true friends today.. and then made small talk with a number of strangers that were at the sale.. and still managed to come home and get Shiela and the baby and head out to Barb and Paul's house for a little visit/playdate.

Am I tired now.. well of course. Sipping a mudslide "float" doesn't hurt.. *laff*

Do I still have panic attacks when I'm in public places... well yes. Can I usually stop them mid-stream before I get to feeling really badly.. yes. Do I find it humorous sometimes when all of the hairs on my arms stand up randomly while walking through Target doing some shopping? hell yeah. It's so dumb.. but recognizing that I have a touch of agoraphobia and learning to continue living my life and to seriously find my social life not only existing.. but being something that I enjoy.. it's huge.

Ok.. I've rambled enough now. I'm uploading pics to flickr now so I will have some really funny pics of Ben and his buddy Anna posted by tomorrow...


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