In the last few years I have found myself suffering from mild anxiety in certain situations and, for me, celebrating New Year's Even in some robust, going-out, glitz and glam way is nothing more than an over-priced anticlimax (complete with a hangover). I'd venture to guess that along with the inevitable letdown of a hyped-up evening, there are a few things nervous people hate about New Year's Eve.
My dislike of what qualifies as "normal" New Year's Eve celebrations can be traced back to a particular stressful event, 11 years ago. The summer before, my hometown of London, England had fallen victim to a horrifying terrorist attack, known simply by its date (7/7). A reported 56 people were killed and over 700 were injured in coordinated attacks targeting buses and tube trains. In an echo of the aftermath following the attack on New York City on Sept. 11, people desperately tried to call their loved ones and scour media reports for details of exactly what had happened. We spent a tense afternoon locating all our friends and family and feeling terribly sad and vulnerable.
The New Year's Eve that followed that fateful summer day, I chose to see friends and travelled to London Bridge to watch the fireworks. As we exited the tube station, unbeknownst to me we were a little late to the proceedings and the midnight hour was quickly approaching. What actually happened was that one large exploding firework signaled the start of 2006, and excited party-goers realizing they were missing the start of the display, ran yelling through the narrow tunnels. But for me, still reeling from the summer's devastation, what I experienced was just an explosion, running, and screaming. For completely illogical (but understandable) reasons, I hid under the giant Christmas tree in the middle of the station, and had a panic attack.