We bought a piano. It’s a Yamaha Clavinova in Dark Rosewood and it’s gorgeous. I’ve practiced almost every day. I became obsessed with finding my old piano books and ended up in Nostalgiaworld. High school photos, yearbooks, and old journals.

I even found the first journal entry I wrote about my panic attacks:

I would like to ask myself a question: Am I normal? Actually, I don’t really know if I am or not because, for example: after being sick, whenever I go back to school, I get nervous and I don’t know why. The thing is, I shouldn’t be nervous but I still am.

I believe I was in junior high when I wrote that. I don’t think I ever wrote about it again until college, because the rest of the journal is filled with photos of River Phoenix and Michael J. Fox. Ah, celebrity crushes. But I digress…

I’ve been trying to get out more. I’ve been on my “less sugar” diet for about a month now and I really do feel better. I am even more alert. Lee and I have been doing things together and having a great time.

I’ve always wanted to go to a pub quiz. They’re sponsored by a company called Geeks Who Drink. My sister-in-law wanted to go as well, so I agreed to pick her up and be the designated driver. The quiz didn’t start until 8, but a coworker told me to get to the restaurant early in case a lot of people showed up. So the pick-up time of 7 was agreed upon.

I had been talking about this event since the weekend. I knew other people who went and it sounded like so much fun. I was excited.

I came home from work, ate a bowl of cereal to tide me over until we got to the restaurant, and then realized that I had no sleeping pills left. I went into panic mode.

Panic mode is not pretty. Panic mode is pretty gross, really. Panic mode affects my stomach and intestines. That’s about all the details I will go into.

I had a prescription to fill, but the regular pharmacy I go to was going to close any minute so Lee suggested I go to the CVS that’s open until 10 p.m. Lee said he’d even pick up the pills for me.

You would think that knowing this would make me calm. But now, on top of the panic mode, was the mode of “Oh great I feel like crap and now I’m going to this new event with my sister-in-law and what if I get sick in their bathroom or at the restaurant or I have to pull over on the side of the road maybe I should just ask if we could go back to my house and hang out with Lee and Lee could drive her home…” You get the gist.

At my sister-in-law’s house I took a generic Pepto and dicyclamine for my stomach, and a Clonezapam (anti-anxiety) to calm me down.

But my thoughts were still looping in my head. Even after we got to the restaurant, I thought about sabotaging the whole thing and asking Aimi if she would be OK with leaving.

Once the quiz started, I got into the spirit. I was still on edge, but concentrating on the task of answering the questions helped. I think that is why I love puzzle books so much. They give me something other than my panic to focus on.

We had a blast! Our team of two did really well. We were in second place until the last round, and then we ended up in fifth. Out of 15 teams. Not too shabby for our first quiz night!

You read that right. I’m doing it again. I’m not going to sabotage myself and miss out on something great.

But there’s a part of me that is frustrated and angry. Why do I have to go through all these emotional and physical trials by fire each time I want to or need to do something that is out of my comfort zone?

Lee and I are supposed to go to my 20th high school reunion in Houston next weekend and I’m already nervous. I’m trying the breathing exercises and positive visualization, but so far anticipatory anxiety is winning.

But I’m going, damn it. I want to see my friends and my husband’s family and enjoy myself. Even if I feel like it’s going to kill me.