Fun story. I had a panic attack on our honeymoon.
We'd been living it up on the cruise boat for a couple of days, and the night before our first excursion — parasailing in Key West — I freaked out. I get anxious when I travel, especially when I don't know what to expect, or feel like I can't stop and take a time-out when I need one. So there I was in our room, sobbing because I didn't know how long I was going to be trapped on a little boat.
Of course, as soon as I was on said boat, and going up in the air, I was — mostly — fine.
Back in March, we started talking about our summer vacation — a road trip through the central U.S. with M's parents, stopping in St. Louis, Chicago and Madison, Wis., to visit some of his extended family and take in some sights.
When M mentioned this trip, I was simultaneous excited and completely freaked out. I had never been to any of those cities, and I wanted very much to cross a few more states off my Life List. But in the past, I haven't done that well with road trips. Or really, being in cars at all. I feel trapped when other people are driving. I feel embarrassed about having to ask whoever's driving to stop. I effectively avoided being a passenger for years by volunteering to drive anytime I would be expected to ride with others, and if I couldn't drive, I would try to get out of the trip altogether. (And yes, I did spend some time in therapy a few years ago, and it did help.)
But I didn't want to try to get out of this one. I was scared, but I didn't want my fear to control me. I wanted to be able to see our family. I wanted to meet some of Matt's family for the first time. I wanted to see and do new things, and I didn't want to miss out. I was sick of spending years avoiding, avoiding, avoiding.
I worked hard over the next few months to try to keep myself in check, especially in stressful situations. I made sure other people drove me everywhere, even if I didn't want them to, so I could practice keeping calm. The anxiety has not gone away, but when we finally got in the car to head out on our trip, I didn't feel the need to jump, screaming, from the moving vehicle. I'd call that progress.
I was not 100% okay during this road trip. In fact, there were a couple of moments when I was downright not okay. But I'm choosing to stay focused on the positive, and the fact that I remained relatively calm through most of a very, very long car trip. I did the best I could, and for now, that is good enough.
And with that, I'm ready to start recapping our trip. :)