Wow! What a year in the books for me, and hopefully for you as well. It’s crazy to think that 2017 is coming to an end. And 2018 is getting ready to pounce on us. It feels like the year just started, and now, it’s over faster than Christmas break when you are a kid. This year had a lot of firsts for me, and I did things in 2017 that I never thought I would.
It’s been two years since I started my journey of healing my life, and changing everything. I never thought where I am today would be where I would end up. When I started this journey I was alone. Sure, I had a small selection of close friends, but it was just me. This was a journey I had to take. This was something I had to do for myself. I needed to do it. I set out to change my life. I set out to go beyond my anxiety. I set out to go beyond my depression. I set out to live my life and be more than an anxious/depressed person. I was not living up to my potential. I was not living at all. I was existing. I was going through the motions. Day in. Day out. Repeat.
Wow! Let me just start off there. 12 weeks. That is 3 whole months of going out once a week. That is incredible in itself. It may not seem like it to most people, but to someone that struggled with going out it is a huge achievement. I spent my whole life avoiding going out, or finding reasons to not go out. It is something to see myself hit goals like this. It really is opening up so many doors for me.
This week I did not have anything planned to go, or anywhere in particular to go to. On top of that it was a rainy day, and was looking to rain all day. I could have just stopped right there, but I am not looking to quit now, I want to see this journey out to its end. I deserve that in life.
So I decided to do some shopping, and headed off to the Amish Market, that was 35 minutes away. Hoping to get some fruit. My mom used to love going to one of these places when I was a kid. That was were I first discovered sour path kids. A favorite of mine, even until I was full adult. I still had them quite often, until I got healthy and gave up all that junk food last summer. Wow! That was about a year ago. I’ve been so busy with my new life that time just blew right on by. They also made a delicious rotisserie chicken, that my mom used to get, and ice cream. They may not be in to all that technology, and have an iPod, but man, can they make some delicious food. Truthfully we could also do with a little less technology. We are becoming so detached from conversation with one on one people, that we now go out to dinner with someone, and stare out our smart phones instead. But you there reading this blog on your smart phone, you’re OK with me. Since I don’t eat junk food I was going to get some fruit instead. Sadly the fruit they did have, is not fruit I am allowed to eat as there is a cross allergy to it. So I walked around a little bit instead. Avoiding the huge candy section. Not even to look at it. I did not see any buggys getting hitched, or butter being churned, or even barns being raised.
After some time in there, I decided to just stretch myself out a bit, and just drive. I had no where to go, and nowhere else to be. So I just got in my car and drove for a few hours. This way, and that way. Enjoying the drive, the scenery, and the buildings I passed. Then I went to the super market to get myself some fruit that I can eat, and enjoyed three months of going out. Next month will be another huge milestone for me, as I take another vacation and go down to Virginia for the week to visit the Smithsonian. I have always wanted to go there, but was always too afraid before. Now I can go there and actually enjoy myself. I am completely stoked and excited for that one. This year is going to be action packed, and have me doing all types of stuff, things I never even dreamed of. Who knows maybe I will even meet someone and have a travel buddy to enjoy life and travel and adventure with. Anything is possible.
It was a lovely day. Next week in the USA is Memorial day, so it’s a four day weekend for me. Maybe I will go to the Aquarium, I always love it there, and have not been to this one in years. Maybe since I was a kid in elementary school. It’s also the release of the new X-Men movie. So plenty to do and see.
My crazy adventures of going out continue. I say crazy because I never in my life ever thought this would EVER be possible. Yet, here I am. Next week will be two months of doing this. Straight. That in itself is a milestone for me. I did not have any place in particular to go to this week. So I just randomly picked some place. To think such a notion to be spontaneous like that would have in the past made me ill to my stomach. Just to think about it. Yet today, I was able to do it. And it was fun.
Today I chose Ocean City, NJ, as my spot to visit. It was an extra thirty minute drive to avoid tolls. I did not mind. I actually enjoyed the drive. I know. I can’t believe I am typing it. It was a relaxing and peaceful drive there. It was nice and scenic taking the back roads. The weather was nice for the most part. Once I got close to the beach it was pretty chilly. I am glad that I grabbed my Batman sweatshirt to wear. Even with my hoodie up, it was cold. People were loving it though. I am one who loves the cold myself, but not as much as those that were laughing it up on the beach, or just wearing a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt. More power to them. I was cold at times.
After arriving there I saw the tail end of a Dog Parade, all puns intended. I never really been one for the beach, and walking in the sand. While I love the water, being in the water, the beach never really did anything for me. It was quite packed on the boardwalk. While that was fun walking back and forth it seems to have a limited appeal. Unless you just want to shop in the shops. There was some mini golf and some roller coasters. Though I think you are pretty brave to go on a roller coaster that is at a boardwalk. It’s like going on one of those rides at one of those carnivals that you see at your old high school. Where it looks like it could be fun if you didn’t fly off the rails of this makeshift ride.
I walked a little bit of the beach, just to do it, but it was really cold near the water. So that was really short lived. I will say these types of things, going to the boardwalk or the beach, is probably a lot more fun if you were in the presence of good company. I see it would benefit my nicely to have a travel buddy on some of these excursions. While it is just to be out there alone, traveling with someone could be even better. While there I did get a little pamphlet for a comic con in Atlantic City in a couple of weeks that I am going to go to. Look at me, planning events a few weeks in advance. Who am I, and what did I do with the old me? I did not stay long as I had a movie ticket to see The Jungle Book. So today was a double feature kind of day. Then I celebrated with some delicious healthy fruit.
While looking for things to do I found even more things to do and next week I am thinking of visiting the Thomas Edison Museum in Edison NJ. Should be fun. And will be two months out there. Inching my way along to new heights and experiences. Look out world. I’m coming for you.
This week was a huge week for me in my weekly adventures in pushing myself further and further, and working through my anxiety/panic attacks, so I can live a ‘normal’ life. Since I was off Monday, I went out on Monday, which would still qualify as my weekly adventure in going out… But I was not gonna just fall into my old ways and only go out that one time when Saturday in my normal time for going out.
So that is what I did. I decided to go out again today, for my second time. I was not sure on where I was going or how many options I was gonna have, as it was said to Snow today… Yep, that’s right. Snow in April. Is it still considered Winter weather in Spring even if it’s snow, or does it become Spring Weather?
After mulling over a couple ideas of where to go, I decided to go and see Devil’s Tower in Alpine NJ, today. It has an interesting history behind it. A plantation farmer erected it for his wife, so she could see the NY skyline. One day she went up the tower and found her husband with another one, so she threw herself off the tower. It is said that she still haunts the place. That was really what interested me in seeing it. To see if there was any ghosts there. I am interested in that type of stuff. I plan and hope to check out more types of places like that during my adventures. I am really fascinated by this kind of stuff. Who knows maybe one day I’ll go a ghost investigation with a group of paranormal investigators. That would be something. As well as something I never even considered before, or being able to do. Now that things are changing for me, all types of doors are opening for me. And I am loving every second of it.
This voyage was a big one because it was a long, long ride to it. This was about a little over 2 hours to get there. Which can seem like forever for a person that has gone through the struggles and battles of anxiety. At around over an hour or so of driving and looking at the towns I got to that point of, holy crap! This is really happening. I am so far from my home. This is real. I did not panic during that. I did not turn around, or stop. Which is a blessing compared to the past, where I would have gone mental, and wigged out. I was getting really close to NY, and at times I thought I was going to end up there. As it felt like my GPS was sending me there. Luckily I did not get into NY. It was a lovely tower to see. Sadly it is not open to see the insides, it is fenced off, with a camera, and a no trespassing sign. So all I could do was snap a few pictures. Admire my view, and be proud of getting there. Before heading back home. My legs were so tired from being in the car like that. But it was a great triumph for me, and will help me go even further with myself and my journeys. Sadly, I did not see any ghosts and this place. Though I did have that eerie feeling of being watched from the tower. But that could have been my own preconceived notions of the place being haunted and made myself feel like it was.
I returned home and got some grapes to celebrate my victory. I love me some grapes.
It is such a simple thing the ability to go out places. Yet for someone like me, with anxiety, it’s the hardest thing ever. They say it’s because our brains are hard wired differently, or the chemistry in the brain is not regulated properly.
You never really know how to appreciate life and the simple things until you can not appreciate them because you can not experience them. Those words have never been more true to me. You never really think of how difficult or trying it can be to just go out some place. Until you find that it’s hard to go out because of anxiety. Something that most people take for granted their ability to go out somewhere at the drop of a hat or spontaneously.
As I am working on healing myself and getting to that place of being able to do that. I had the idea of creating a wall of achievements. Where I write down what I did so I am able to look at it on a constant basis to reaffirm that I can do this. I can do that. In the hopes of seeing it and doing it more helps make it easier to do. Instead of just run away from it all. Perhaps this idea can help you overcome your anxiety as well.
Each small achievement can help give you the courage and confidence to keep going. When we want to just quit and run away and hide under the covers.
Make it fun, and go gentle on yourself. Part of mine looks like;
- Went to the movies with brother. (I drove.)
- Took my boss to another town, 35 mins away, to pick up a car. (That was huge for me. In the car with my boss.)
- Went to the comic shop with a friend. (Drove again.)
This seems like small things to most, yet to me it was challenging. I am proud to say I survived them all with no incident. They are leading to my biggest challenge to date at the end of this month when I go on vacation, which will have a three hour car drive. I have not taken a vacation where I went somewhere in 11 years. The last time I went on one was with family and it was a terrible anxious time for me and have not gone on vacation since. I am both excited and terrified by this. I am hopeful to get through this experience even though I want to just cancel it and say no to it. Like I always did in the past. I am choosing a better life. And I hope you do to.