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There are things I do in order to adjust to my illness. My husband goes along with these adjustments to accommodate me and make me as comfortable as possible in every setting. I don’t know what other couples have to deal with but I imagine they make concessions for one another too. Schizophrenia is complicated and never far from our life, but most of the time we don’t notice it threatening or knocking at the door – we have grown so accustomed to trying to keep it silent by altering our lives.

Last night we met up with our regular group of friends (there are eight of us in the group). We met up at a bar in a part of the city that makes me uncomfortable. It is possible to find free parking around the bar if you are willing to circle a few blocks out. It is summer right now, so it stays light much longer, but when we meet at this bar in the winter time, it is always dark when we leave.

I don’t like walking through certain neighborhoods even during the day, but walking them at night terrifies me. My husband really loves these outings with our friends, and it is definitely good for me to socialize with people besides my husband. So, we make an effort to go, and the way we handle parking is something my husband and I agreed upon over three years ago when we first started meeting up there. We pay for parking in the lot right next to the bar.

My husband and I are usually very frugal and don’t spend extra money on anything, but in order for me not to be overcome by anxiety, we pay the eight dollars. Our friends always tease us about paying for parking but we know it is well worth it for me to enjoy our time with our friends and not spend the whole night focused on the fear of walking to the car when we leave.

Eight dollars is very little to pay for peace of mind.

We are meeting with the same group of friends for brunch tomorrow, and then one of our friends is performing in the park later in the day, and we plan to go and watch her play her guitar and sing.

I have spent the whole week in the house. I have barely stepped outside, and the only person I have talked to face to face is my husband. The strange thing is, I don’t mind this social isolation at all. Tonight before going to the bar, I wanted to back out of our plans, but my husband was insistent. It was one of our friend’s birthdays last week, and another one of our friends just completed graduate school.

I have such a good time when we all get together, but getting me there is the hard part.

With the happy hour last night, and the brunch today, I consider the weekend to be fully packed. I may go into shock from laughing and talking so much (I tend to talk a lot when we all get together, or at least I think I do. I definitely laugh a lot).

Sunday, my husband and I plan to have cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, red onions and slices of tomatoes on toasted bagels for breakfast. We will also buy cream for our coffee as a special treat (we normally use milk).  This is the breakfast we always have when we are celebrating something special with my husband’s family. We have been doing it for seventeen years. It is the first time my husband and I will prepare this meal for just the two of us without having relatives over or being at a relative’s house.

For someone who has social anxiety and who socially isolates seeing friends three times in one weekend is reason to celebrate.

Heck, being alive is worth celebrating, and so is having a spare eight bucks to pay for parking.

We don’t need to wait for the relatives, we can have our own party for any reason we want to.

Here’s to you celebrating this weekend – have a great time!