Birthday Party & Anxiety (or lack thereof)

I am right now winding down from one of the most incredible nights of my life. I had a birthday party today that was unbelievable! Just two weeks ago I couldn't do this. But then, two weeks ago my anxiety was anything but under control! Today was truly a test of my anxiety medication, and I am amazed to be able to say that my anxiety was just about non-existent all day! I was even talking to people about it in amazement.
Just to recap I am on these drugs:
Buspar (Anxiety)
Depakote (Mood Stabilizer)
Risperdal (Anxiety and Paranoia)
Cogentin (Side Effect Prevention)
Normally today I would have been completely overwhelmed for these reasons:
Birthday party today (Dinner and Karaoke afterwards - I planned everything)
Leaving for NY in less than a week to see family who have not seen me in 3 years, before my transition. Translation: The last time they saw me I looked like a man.
Immediately after getting back I have a big meditation course I am doing over the weekend, so that weekend is taken up. Meditation is great, but then I don't have any time over the weekend to do my job.
Right after the course my fall semester classes start, so I lose a lot of my free time since I am taking 5 classes and a lab (probably going to drop the most difficult one after 2-3 weeks - but still).
The immediate following weekend I have a big TLC course that I have to spend considerable time the previous week preparing for - and I have very very little time to prepare because of the other course and my classes. (This is my job)
So yeah, normally I should be feeling totally overwhelmed and scared, but instead I was feeling pretty cool about things. With the birthday party all I did to prepare was decide the date, location, etc. and send out an invitation to essentially everyone I know then call the restaurant this morning to let them know I had a party coming and around how many to expect. Speaking of which, to make things worse some 20-25 people responded to the invitation saying they were coming to my birthday party! WHOA! I had NO idea what to expect or do and normally I would have been totally freaking out over it. Instead I just relaxed and did, basically, nothing. I just allowed it to come and prepared myself for a nice night (did my nails, hair, makeup, etc.).
Meanwhile I had yet another medical followup appointment due to my time in the psych ward. All I got from that though was more work to do - calling one place to reschedule and another to make yet another appointment. Ugh!
Then suddenly it was time for my party. At this point, I would normally have been losing my mind worrying. Instead I was kinda excited and nervous. What a change! My boyfriend picked me up and we went to Outback Steakhouse (the restaurant I picked). We got there fairly early and people weren't showing up so I was getting nervous that even though some 20-25 people said they were coming and the restaurant was preparing a long row of tables for us that only a small group would arrive. Soon enough however that proved wrong, before long there was at least 15 people, then at least more arrived. I got some gifts, I got several cards, and the whole time I was just rolling with the punches and enjoying myself, totally not worrying about anything and just having fun.
Then it came time to order. Now I have issues surrounding money. When it comes to steak I always have ordered the sirloin because its the cheapest. This time however, my Dad told me to get anything I want and its on him, no matter how expensive. My Dad has said this before recently (thanks to my new step-mother I think) however I would still order something that is relatively inexpensive, doing my best not to go above 15 dollars at MOST! This time I gave it some thought and decided to take him up on it. For the first time in my life I ordered Prime Rib - Not just any Prime Rib but a 16oz Prime Rib! To make it even better I first ordered a Bloomin Onion as an appetizer! I would normally NEVER allow myself to knowingly spend so much of my father's money! But there I was! The Prime Rib was just over 20 bucks and I was able to allow myself to order it! It was amazingly delicious too!
Then my parents and boyfriend brought out a birthday cake for me (omg) and I cut the first piece, then my parents cut the rest for everyone (I have no idea how many were there at this point - a lot!). What an amazing night so far. I was just so incredibly happy. There were moments where all I could do was sit there smiling to myself while looking at everyone who had come for ME, laughing and talking amongst each other. I am surrounded by a lot of love.
I have a picture I want to show, but before I can I need to do a bit of explaining first... See, I am a Pastafarian. I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), may sauce be upon him. I preach his word and share his noodles with all who would hear and eat, and my Step-mother has been there for a lot of it, especially when it was on facebook. She has decided to give me a colander for my birthday for me to use as a hat, and to make it better she decorated it with bits of ribbon and a FSM emblem. Now this isn't a new colander, I'm actually glad to now have it in my posession. It is my childhood colander that I have seen in the kitchen over and over again even as a small child. Its quite beat up, and I don't think its seen any use in a long time at my Dad's house. I will make good use of it, although likely more as headwear than for cooking spaghetti. I don't want to cook in my hat, after all. I have other colanders for that.

It is a bit blurry and dark, but its still a nice pic. I'm in the middle wearing the colander (obviously), then from left to right is my Dad, Mom, and Boyfriend.
Then after the dinner was over, several people started heading over to the Karaoke place while others said goodbye and left. I was one of the last to leave with my boyfriend, saying goodbye to everyone who was leaving. We even gave the remainder of the cake to the restaurant staff for them to enjoy before leaving. Then we headed over to the karaoke place to have more fun until midnight - it was around 8:30 at this point. I was shocked when I arrived that the karaoke place was PACKED (normally there isn't much of a big crowd) and very little of my party had arrived yet! (everyone was given the easy - but longer directions, and my boyfriend knew the quick way there). Then people started filtering in, including several people who couldn't make it to the dinner. To make it even better there were a bunch of regulars there who know me because I go there infrequently with my boyfriend, who is at karaoke almost every single week. So they joined in with the festivities! God knows how many people were there celebrating my birthday. My boyfriend sang a love song to me over karaoke, then the KJ (Karaoke Jockey) had him lead the whole place in singing happy birthday to me (this would be the second time, the first being with the cake at Outback). Later he sang another love song to me. I love him so much <3
Now one thing is for sure, the anxiety meds do not make me fearless, anything but. I still didn't sing anything. I normally don't. I have a great deal of anxiety about singing or doing anything in front of a crowd of people, and I did not want to test the waters THAT much! Interestingly enough I had a very different reaction than usual to a lot of attention being on me. Normally, say for example when people would clap for me if I had a year in recovery, or anything else that would have people giving me a lot of attention even if it is just for a moment, I would kinda get very shy and would sorta clap along with everyone else and kinda try to blend in. I guess there was a kind of intense nervousness that I never really was aware of. Both times people sang Happy Birthday to me I just... enjoyed it. I was there, I didn't try to hide. I was kinda uneasy but I felt fine with the attention. Maybe singing in front of people wouldn't be so bad after all... Nevertheless, the idea of singing anything in front of a crowd still scares me considerably.
Another thing I noticed during this time.... I am afraid of having too much fun. The last time I cycled was at this very same karaoke place two weeks ago - 7/23 (I talked about it in this journal entry). I am scared that if I have too much fun I will get locked into 'having lots of fun' for a period of time before crashing into a miserable depression for a few hours. Now this did not happen the whole night, no cycling or anything. This I am very grateful for. So I haven't had an episode in two weeks, and this night, despite a fear of having one I still had tons of fun, enjoying myself fully. Perhaps the Depakote is working? Very exciting!
Then the night was over. My boyfriend brought me home and dropped me off with a goodnight kiss. I spent some time with my Mom and brother (who came to karaoke) before I started writing out this journal entry. Whew what a night! I feel so good about everything. I am so glad I am on these meds, I know that without them tonight would not have gone nearly as well as it has for me. The whole thing was a raging success! I've never done a birthday party, always way too much anxiety about even starting it! I've always been far too afraid about how I would handle things and what would happen and what would I do to prepare, etc. But I didn't sweat the small stuff with this.
What an incredible night.
I feel fantastic, and at this point I can only thank the meds (cue the song!)
With that, I bid everyone reading this a good night! (for me any way, by the time you are reading this... Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening)



What a fabulous journal this is. And what a fabulous birthday celebration!

I think I relate to how hard this must have been for you to plan it and carry it out. I\'m 43 and I\'ve only had one party in my life. It was fun, but it was during a full blown mania. When I become overly social. I\'ve never had the friends or confidence to do it again.

It must have been gratifying when you had such a turnout - both at the dinner and at karaoke.

What a relief your new med cocktail is working. Mine has been tweaked recently too, and I\'ve seen improvement. I share your joy!

You are a great writer. With all the things you have in your future, I hope you continue with this website. I don\'t know how you juggle everything, but keep up the good work! Best wishes, Julia

PS: I LOVE the new hat. The pic you posted is hilarious.

What a wonderful story! I am SOO glad you had a great time. And I love the flying spaghetti monster. That comes from Family Guy doesn\'t it?