"Yesterday my friends threw me a surprise pre-birthday party, with balloons and everything. However, as soon as I saw them standing there waiting for me, all I could think about is running away. I felt uneasy for a while plus I am terrible with surprises. I am not a control freak, or anything, just the pure fact that I do not know what comes next triggers my anxiety. Oh boy, and believe me when I say in the last couple of days beforehand my anxiety was flourishing.
My friends were the sweetest, they were smiling and laughing, so I decided to go along with them, hoping that my tense muscles ease eventually, but sadly not, I could feel my anxiety levels rising second by second. By the time we got on the tram I felt like collapsing, so I started rambling (I found that it helps a bit).
Then we got to the café and it was the last straw for me. By this time I could hardly compose myself. I hoped they would not notice my shaking hands and constantly moving legs. All I wanted to do is screaming and running away. But I stayed; they were my friends after all who found time for me in their busy schedules.
As I was sitting there I found myself zoning out more and more. They were chatting cheerfully, but all I could think about is the warmth of my blanket and the safety of my bedroom. I felt horrible and ungrateful because I was unable to enjoy their efforts. I firmly believe that I have the best friends in the world (they even got me those lame balloons I was on about for ages, right?), they are by my side whatever happens, but I am not quite sure whether they fully get how deep I am now in the rabbit hole of anxiety. At the café I was putting off going to the toilet because I felt like my legs were jelly and I thought I could not be able to make it there. I finally went and just stood there for a while, composing myself and repeating helplessly “I can do this”.
The bus journey home felt like a lifetime and I could sense drifting away from my body more and more. I used all my strength to stay calm and not to start screaming at the top of my lungs. When we finally got off, I could see in the eyes of my friends that they could clearly sense that I was not okay. I was glad they did not want to accompany me home because at least they could not see my panic attack...
Somehow I gathered strength to walk home and I even managed to talk to my parents then ran upstairs to the safety of my room. I had a “cry-shower” (the one when you are sobbing so heavily that you could just hope that the sound of the shower would be louder than your actual tears and gasps for air) and as I entered my room I saw the balloons and the gifts. I instantly started trembling again, so I placed everything in an other room and went to bed, exhausted.
Today I woke up with an immense headache and my whole body was incredibly sore, panic attack hangover one could say (at least this is the term I use). I have been crying ever since because I feel myself guilty, blaming myself for not being able to enjoy the company of my friends as a normal human being. They made the best surprise for me, only with a bad timing. And again, I am wondering whether there will ever be a good timing for me…"

It's been a couple of days since I wrote this and now looking back at it I am actually proud of myself. I managed to leave the house, spend the afternoon with my friends and get home only with a minor panic attack. This is what I should concentrate on, in fact this is what all people struggling with social anxiety should focus on: all the little achievements. We may not be "okay" for a while, our recovery may be long, but hey, WE CAN DO THIS.