Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the home of English Rugby . . TWICKENHAM!!!!!!!!!
A day I have been looking forward to since the Lions tour ended, the return of the Aviva Premiership season!
A day that started with glorious sunshine and terrible traffic on the M25 (no surprise really!) and should have gone down in my memory as one of the most spectacularly brilliant days in recent history given that we put 9 tries on Northampton Saints!
However the memory I will take with me is not that of burning sunshine and fruity cider, or the superb scoring abilities our boys displayed but instead the memory of intense pain and electric anxiety . . . the memory of having to work so hard to keep a sensory overload at bay.
I love my club and I appreciate the work the staff at the club do but if I ever find out who decided to get a BRASS BAND to sit in the stands amongst the fans and play that damn 'stand up' tune after ever Sarries score there will be blood shed.
My pain, shock, anxiety on the day can never be eased and those who caused it will not be easily forgiven. My day came perilously close to being ruined and it was only my own internal strength and determination that kept me in my seat and not fleeing the stadium to curl up in a rocking ball somewhere.
What rubs salt into the raw wound is that not 24 hours before I had been speaking to people at supporters services after a cock up had been made with my tickets. In order to sit with the family I was taking with me to the LDH I was forced to move our entire seating allocation to the next block across.
At no point in this conversation (despite me mentioning at least once that I am autistic) was I told that the new seats I was being given were just three rows in front of where the brass band would be sat.
I doubt many non-autistic people will be able to but try to imagine the horror I went through on realising that the shock and intense pain I had just experienced the first time they leapt up to play would in fact be repeated every time we scored . . . .
I have never before wished for a game to have no further scoring happen
Unfortunately for my ears, heart rate, blood pressure and sensory reactions in general I didn't get my wish.
No, of course this would be the game we score NINE tries!
By the end of the game my head was simultaneously pounding and ringing non-stop, my heart feeling like I had run a marathon and my nerves twitching like I'd been electrocuted. I could barely keep myself from unleashing my pain and anger on the musicians, wanting so much to scream directly in their faces, wanting to strike them repeatedly round the head until they understood just what they had done to me.
I didn't, I sat on every impulse I had, held my tongue and arms still, swallowed down my words to sit in amongst the roiling bile and spasming muscles.
Most people know a meltdown isn't pleasant, most people know that anxiety attacks aren't a walk in the park to go through but I wonder just how few truly understand how damaging it is to contain a sensory overload reaction? It will take me days to recover fully, I'm still having random stomach cramps and pulsing headaches 30 hours later, I'll still be tired and struggling to fully focus tomorrow at work, but I'll push through because I have to.
I love the LDH at Twickenham, I love my Saracens but right now I don't *like* them very much at all.