I could say I was forced into this since my mom was the one that offered to do it for my relatives. It turned out to be more of a 'gathering' of family members in the end.
I was stressing over the event about a week before and a couple days ago as I was cleaning the home for it - the anxiety sunk in deeper that it was happening the next day(yesterday). I had been debating about being a hermit as usual and just stay in my room for the majority of it.
Yesterday in the morning I woke up so early since I was so anxious that I wanted time to 'panic' which never really happened; now that I think about it more. The event wasn't until 1pm and I stressed so much about when people were going to arrive, waiting for the doorbell to ring. I was the only one around to help my mom prepare everything for it and so I had been in that stressed state of mind the entire time prior to it starting. We had to make a quick trip out to the store to get a few more food items. I went with her since I really get anxious with answering the door and I didn't feel comfortable being 'the entertainer' when people arrived. I let my brother do that since he WAS hibernating in the spare room.
Just as we're stepping into the car, my uncle shows up and I informed my mom that he was here. Anyway, she told him to just make himself comfy and that my brother was there. So, that was a close call with what my anxiety was about(My Uncle and I don't talk at all so it would have been really awkward lol)
So, anyway, the point of me posting this is because after we got back and more people showed up, my anxiety started getting more intense since I'm not good with the whole family gatherings. I had to stay in the kitchen to help my mom prepare like a dozen healthy snacks which lessened my anxiety somewhat. Being in the kitchen away from the crowd was a little escape and then I told my mom that I may need to go upstairs because my anxiety was getting bad again(as we finished up the food dishes). However there was a breakthrough I had when one of my aunt's came into the kitchen to talk to my mom for a short time. There is an Aunt I have who was supposed to come but decided not to at the last minute because she had to deal with her horses. Although I know(and a few others including my mom) full well that she didn't want to come due to anxiety. This Aunt A of mine who didn't attend likes to use her horses as an excuse to not go to certain things. I was a bit sad she didn't come.
The reason why I am mentioning her is because Aunt K and my mom had brought it up in conversation and I decided to chime in on the subject and let it be known how anxious I was. They weren't talking badly of her but I know what's like to not feel able to tell anyone about it. I said "My anxiety is really bad right now to the point I want to hide upstairs but here I am. Downstairs trying to be social despite wanting to flee." My aunt told me flat out that she said she was proud of me for just being there amongst everyone." My mom then suggested I could wrap our gifts(last minute people we are haha) and that I could go upstairs to do that away from everybody. I had to tell both my mom and my aunt that I was actually afraid to go upstairs since I was afraid I may not come back down afterwards LOL!
And I wasn't expecting this but my Aunt K offered to help me out by coming upstairs with me to search for gift wrapping supplies and we came back down with both gifts half-wrapped(couldn't find any tissue paper to cover them in the bags). It was like another little escape for me, all I needed was like 5 minutes away from everyone to calm down. After that I pretty much stayed down there with everybody the rest of the time.
I never held my cousin's baby but I was able to talk to my cousin's wife about her former Cockatiel as well. She had to rehome her bird last summer and wanted me to take her Cockatiel. So I was able to give her an update and then she got to see the bird a bit later on before everyone left.
It lasted for like 6 1/2hrs...
I was so exhausted mentally that I actually felt quite ill after it was over and everyone went home again, I had to go to bed early and sleep to feel better lol