The whole family was flying to Oregon. Every summer we would drive out there in the wagon , but this time was different. We were flying. We must have come into some money or something. I don’t remember. What I do remember is this……I was totally scared. I thought about it and worried about it, from the moment they announced we would be flying. I thought for sure that the plane would crash. It had been waiting there for the Hadrabas to get out of their wagon and into the plane. No matter how many times my mom told me that “only the good die young”. This never seemed to comfort me. I was called a “goody two shoes” and “worry wart”. This is an awful combination in this particular situation.
Despite my complaints, we did get on the plane. I was wearing a jean zip up jumper and boots (it is good to wear closed shoes without laces and comfortable clothing). My dad and I were at the end of the line. By the time we boarded the plane, I was dizzy, not well at all. I felt like my heart was beating in my throat. It was beating so hard that it was going to pump itself right out of my mouth. I was hysterical as we sat down. The rest of the family who had never flown either was starting to get worked up right along with me. My mom told me later that the thought crossed her mind that maybe I knew something she didn’t…..that maybe I was having an intuitive feeling. For a moment, even she felt, maybe we should all get off the plane. As it turned out, my dad and I got off the plane alone. We flew the next day.
It was almost as if the label I was given in my family became a self fulfilling prophecy. I did suffer from awful anxiety attacks all throughout my twenties. Occasionally now, I may feel panic but I can usually keep it from escalating. It has been many years since I raced myself to the ER needlessly. I used to. I must admit I have even called 911 a couple of times. Then one time, I convinced my mom I had toxic shock syndrome. By the way, I don’t research symptoms anymore. I used to refer to the medical encyclopedias, the desk reference and now I don’t. The internet was an issue for a while, but I abstain from that too now. I stay away from googling-heart palpitations or brain tumor and so on. However, back then I was convinced, and I even had her convinced, I had toxic shock. I remember when the ER doctor pulled the curtain and said “what I think you have is anxiety disorder and depression” The rest of that story is another story for another day. I haven’t been to the ER in quite some.
Today I went in for my yearly “exam” at the doctor, you know the kind. I go to an awesome clinic here in Saint Paul. They deal with your “whole health” rather than just “related” issues. Anyway, I went in and she thoroughly checked me out. She is great. I usually mention the vague, yet bothersome symptoms that concern me. I don’t want to not check these things out, to just not say anything about them, but usually, they turn out to be “nothing”. No matter how real they may feel to me, it’s something minor or all chalked up to stress, anxiety, and depression. What’s new? When someone tells you that something you’ve been worrying about is nothing to worry about, it is both a relief and confusing. How many times have we heard, Stress Kills? Don’t worry about the worry. I stress about the stress, and it brings me more stress. I worry that I am going to cause something. I know thoughts have energy, so I then freak out about what I am thinking. It is a vicious circle.
I have learned some ways I can jump off the crazy train….the train of thought that seems to keep going and going and the gate never goes up. I am improving and it is a choice and a discipline. The things I practice begin with acceptance. Acceptance and breathing make a world of difference. My doctor tells me I am complicated. I kinda like that rather than any other thing I have been called. She says I am a mix of things. That’s cool. I can accept that. I can breathe. I Honor My Truth!