Let’s take a break, should we?
I have suffered from anxiety my entire life, when I was a child it was deemed as me being dramatic or odd but as an adult it manifested into something bigger. I got to a point where I was scared to drive, I couldn’t handle a change in my routine, and I started having daily panic attacks over minor things. It was scary, but I reached out for help. I met with my doctor and established a relationship with a therapist. Things got better but I still have this little anxiety monster inside of me that, a few times a week,I let out to play. Then I decided he needed a vacation, and so did I. So, I met with my therapist and we decided to take a break from anxiety and do something crazy!!
I applied for a life changing scholarship, I knew this scholarship required me to travel alone, meet new people, and step way out of my comfort zone. But I applied. Applying was a brief break from my anxiety monster and I figured that was the end of it. Fast forward weeks later and an unfamiliar number calls me, and I chalk it up to a robot caller and ignore it. I then realize I have an unread text from this same number. It was a brief message explaining who she was and that I needed to return her call. I sank in my chair and looked over at my trainee and said, “Either I won a scholarship, or they are super nice and calling all the people who lost.”
I called her back and all I can remember of the short conversation was that I won, and I kept informing her I had never flown. Classy, so classy on my part, but I was nervous! I called my boss and verified I could take time off and let her know I won. I called my parents and boyfriend and finally called my point of contact back and let her know I could go and would love to! Then the anxiety monster showed up and filled my head with doubt and uncertainties. I cried. Oh, did I cry. I cried tears of happiness, but I also cried because this was life changing and was I ready for this?
Did I deserve this? Was I really the best choice?
I decided to meet with my therapist again and lay out a game plan for how this was going to go. During the session we wrote down every one of my fears(I’m an addict for lists) and then at the end of the session we broke those down to categories and I realized all my fears could be broken down into three categories so really at the end of the day I had three fears.
Fighting my anxiety during the trip.
Suddenly it seemed easy. If I could get past these three fears, I could successfully manage my trip.
I decided to tackle traveling alone and flying first, and I met with my doctor. I explained to her the situation and my fears of an anxiety attack mid-flight. We decided the best course of action would be to take a medication before the plane took off that would calm my nerves more than my daily medications would.
I tackled two fears!!!
Next was the biggest of them all. Fighting my anxiety monster. I’m a huge fan of self-talk, so I decided to have a little self-talk and talk to my anxiety and inform him we were taking a break. I scheduled my flight, packed my bags, planned my trip, and researched DC. Slowly I felt my anxiety drifting away I was probably the most informed person on DC without stepping foot on the ground yet.
Fast forward to the day of the trip. My incredible boss offered to drive me to airport, and I took my medication and sat in the terminal waiting to fly. I was a nervous wreck and began shaking, I was worried I wouldn’t be allowed on the plane in my condition, so I decided a visit to the bathroom and Starbucks was in the cards. I washed my face and with it I washed my anxiety away and pulled myself together while enjoying a cold brew. I then boarded the plane and sat back. Soon we took off and I felt at peace I smiled to myself. I had done it. I had conquered two fears already!! I made it on the plane and was traveling alone. My flight to DC was an hour and fifteen minutes and I basked in every second. I’m not sure my face ever left the window.
I finally landed in DC and I did a little dance in the airport, Ya girl made it!!!! Stay tuned for the next blog on my wonderful week in DC!