This is one of those things that I don’t like sharing. I don’t want to let people into my world because I don’t want them to judge me or look at me differently. I don’t want to appear weak, because I am not weak. I don’t want to appear crazy, because I am not crazy. I simply sometimes have panic attacks.
I don’t know how it happens and I cannot tell you why some things set it off and others don’t. Sometimes it’s the most seemingly simple things that can trigger it. And yet, at other times the most stressful situations somehow give me strength. Anxiety is a sly fox.
The other night as I jumped on my computer to order tickets to Disney World for our upcoming road trip to Florida, it hit me. Maybe it was because I had waited too long to order the tickets. Maybe it was because I secretly was scared to order them in the first place. You know how it is to travel with kids, you never really know if it is going to happen until the last minute. Someone could get sick, things happen. I tried to hurry through the pages of questions because it was already bed time for my kids and I was feeling very rushed. The questions started to fuzz together. Which park do you want to visit? Do you want to add a park hopper option? Who is this ticket assigned to?
When I finally finished getting all of the information entered, I went back over it to check and make sure all of my choices and answers were correct. My mind was starting to thump. I started getting that deep down feeling like something was wrong. I hate that feeling. It makes my chest feel heavy and my breathing starts to get thicker. That feeling is a trigger warning, an alarm in my head going off telling me that I better start to prepare myself. An attack is coming.
Wait, the Magic Kingdom IS in Florida right? I started doubting my every move and those I’ve already made. I opened up a new tab on my browser and started to research the Magic Kingdom through Google. Ok, I had the right one. I jumped back over to the ticket ordering page. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was, but I just had the feeling like something was wrong. Did I purchase tickets for the right age group and assign them correctly? I continued to browse through my answers, sometimes looking at the same answers more than once.
Why can’t I focus?!? I need to finish this!! Everything around my started to swirl. I felt like I was a mouse on a wheel, running in circles but not actually going anywhere.
I took a break to research the measles outbreak at Disney and then researched “How many cases of measles in Florida are there in 2015” and then to “What is measles”. Trust me on this one, don’t Google “What is measles”. Nightmares.
Maybe we shouldn’t go. I still hadn’t pushed the purchase tickets button and truthfully, I don’t think I could anymore. My body felt paralyzed and numb, I just didn’t feel like I could make a decision. I couldn’t think! I asked my husband to come and help me because for some reason “I wasn’t feeling well.”
He pushed the button. The screen jumped back to the beginning.
Wait, I already did this! Did it purchase the tickets? he asked me. I don’t know. I didn’t want to purchase the tickets twice. Since I didn’t get a confirmation, someone in their right mind would say that the tickets hadn’t purchased. But I wasn’t in my right mind. I felt defeated.
I began to get upset with my husband. Why did you leave this up to me? Why do I have to take care of everything? My husband simply looked back at me with wide eyes and responded, I didn’t know ordering tickets was going to be this hard for you.
Well, you know what, I didn’t either. I got up and left the room. My husband sat down at my computer and re-entered all of the information to finish purchasing the tickets while I laid in bed cuddling my kids as they watched a movie. I felt sick to my stomach. My head felt jumbled and I could feel my body pulsing. WHY did this little task become so hard for me? It really wasn’t that big of a deal, why was I making it one? Maybe it was the long road trip ahead of us or the seconds I had on coffee that day? I don’t know, but I wish it would stop. I absolutely love traveling, I love the feeling of freedom that I get from the open road and seeing new places. I love sharing the world with my children and I don’t want my stupid anxiety attacks to ever scare them away from being adventurous. I do my best to keep it to myself and not to let my kids see me panic. Sometimes I succeed.
The next morning I woke up excited about our trip to Disney and less worried about contracting the measles during our vacation. One thing I have learned about my anxiety attacks over the years is that they are like a roller coaster. Even though sometimes the anxiety peaks, it has no other place than to eventually go down.
I refuse to let anxiety stand in the way of me following my dreams.
I refuse to let it ever stop me.
I will continue to see the anxiety in my life for what it is. . a ride.