This year has been flying by so fast. It’s hard to believe that it is the middle or April already. While the time is flying by, I have not been flying by. I have been pretty silent these past few months. Taking time to myself. Recouping. Growing and learning. 2017 had many, many ups. But it also had things that came crashing down for me. Things did not go the way I thought they should, or hoped. That in itself is a major life lesson. Things don’t always go to plan. Things don’t always go the way you want them to, or think they should. That can be such a hard pill to swallow, but so much peace can come from letting go. Not expecting, and just enjoying. Every moment for what it is. On top of that I had to deal with some health changes within me that caused me to just veg out and just do nothing really.
Now I am starting to slowly return to a normalcy of things. I am starting to get back into the groove of things, and am starting to move again. And it feels great to be up and about and enjoying life again. The other weekend I got out and enjoyed some of the warmer weather and went to Red Bank battlefield, and then to the lake for a little bit. To walk around. Enjoy the sun. And just let loose.
This week marks the 8th week of going out and about. Which means I have been doing this for two months now. That in itself is a huge milestone for me and a big accomplishment. Something I never though I would ever accomplish or do. This is all new territory for me. Literally and metaphorically.
Even though this day was raining this morning some, I did not let that deter me from going out. This week I would go out and visit Batsto Village in Hammonton, NJ. There was a nice trail out there through the village. Where you could walk around and look at the old mill, and workers homes from back in the day. Many of the places were open and you could look around. I snagged a good amount of pictures there. Viewing history. I am glad that I did buy that new camera. It has been put to good use. I was surprised that there were many people out there checking it out, the rain did not stop them either.
Life sure seemed pretty miserable back then. I mean look at all those village rules. What exactly is unnecessary talking, or noise of any sort? Like is belching an unnecessary noise, what about farting? What if I had beans and a Taco for lunch and I can’t help myself? I must know the answers to these questions. 2.00 a month rent for a home. Man, oh man. That must have been nice. I can’t even buy a pack of gum for that amount of money.
I am kind of digging this buggy. It looks really quaint and a fun way to get around town. Well until you are up wind of the horse and the horse breaks wind on you. Would that also be an unnecessary noise, or are horse exempt from such Tom Foolery? Two farts jokes in one blog post. I really am breaking all types of records with myself in life. I’ve accomplished so much. And now it’s all going into the toilet.
It was a nice little trip and visit, and of course on my way home it cleared up and stopped raining. Always how it is.
Today was my fifth outing in pushing myself to new places and pushing my limits. This outing I had been wanting to go to for a while, and had been excited about going here. This week I went to the Franklin Institute. After seeing they had an exhibit on Egypt I just had to get out there. I have always been fascinated with Egypt so I wanted, no needed, to check it out. Then they added a Pixar exhibit, and I was in salivating over the idea of going there.
This outing however would really test me. All of the times I had gone out in the past five weeks, I had journeyed alone. It is always easier that way. This time would be different. This time I would go out with my brother, his wife, and their kids. A nice little family outing. To most people, that is nothing. For someone who struggled with anxiety and panic attacks all of their life, it can be a nightmare. I will be honest and say that such an idea did make me feel a little anxious. But I must and will reiterate that it was just “a little.” In years past a day like today would not be a little anxious. I would feel so much anxiety, so much panic, that I would spend multiple trips in the bathroom. Either using the bathroom, or throwing up. One or the other. This was so normal for me that any time I had to be somewhere or do something, I always had to make sure I had an hour and a half before I had to leave to give myself enough time to be ready to go through my rituals. So to be at this place within myself where it was just small little jitters is a blessing that words can not describe how good that felt to me. To not be back and forth in the bathroom, over and over, or to be throwing up repeatedly. To just have little jitters, that I would just move on from, was/is huge.
To not be stressed, to not be anxious the whole time before, to not get up multiple times the night before thinking about the day coming up, was so incredible. Much like Mr. Incredible. See what I did there? I was able to go there, and be fine the whole time. We were out there for about 5 hours. And I enjoyed the whole trip, and was not spending it looking at my watch and hoping to get home to where it was safe for me. I was able to enjoy myself. With my family. So many family outings have I missed over the years because of anxiety/panic. This was a great change. I look forward to many more trips while I continue my weekly journeys. There are many more places I want and hope to visit in the upcoming year.
I enjoyed the Pixar exhibit, I love Pixar. Have enjoyed just about all their movies. Not a fan of Cars, and still can not sit through Cars 2, and they are going to make a 3rd one. Surprisingly they did not have any statues of Cars there. True story I once as a teen had dreams of working for Pixar, sadly, my parents said there was no money/future in art. And discouraged it. While I do draw/paint from time to time. I never spent the time doing what I love. Drawing.
The Egypt exhibit was a let down for me. It was very small, and did not have much. Still cool to see, would have liked to have gotten like a small Anubis statue, or something, but did not see any for sale. Boo! Afterwards I rewarded myself and my success with a new video game. I find that it is very important to reward yourself during your successes… Or perhaps I just like free stuff.
After this trip, I was still feeling good, and still wanted to go out. Whoa! Right? That is huge. But couldn’t really think of anywhere to go so just drove around for a little bit, and stopped in a giant Walmart 45 mins away. That is always an experience. Anxiety or not.
The one thing this outing showed me, was that I could go out for 5 hours with my family, than it is very possible to be able to go out with someone that I was dating. Which can open doors to a future relationship. As the life I was living was very hard on relationships and caused a few to end, terribly. Life is whimsical. It really is.
This week I embark ion my biggest adventure to date. Taking an actual vacation. The first vacation in eleven years for me. I would drive up to the Pocono mountains, a drive that would be 2.45 hours. Taking me out of my comfort zone, and being in the car for an extended amount of time. Something in itself that gives me anxiety.
I left earier today for this, while I was a little anxious in the morning, I was surprisingly calm and collected, and able to make the drive with no issue. I completely surprised myself and see and feel that the changes I have made to myself and my life are really working and the results are being felt.
A year ago I would never have thought this possible and I would never have dreamed it would happen. I feel great and am excited for this vacation. And am able to take another step forward in making my life so much better. Here’s to new experiences, a new life, and meeting new people along the way.
If I inspire anyone through this journey into making changes in their life I am glad, and hope this blog helps them in their own journey as well.
For the vast majority of people they do not think Twice about what they are going to do in a day. They just open the door and go. For someone like me, with anxiety, we can’t help but think about what we are going to do im a day. It’s like second nature to us.
It’s that thinking that prevents us from doing so much in life. So when we can do something, it’s a huge deal for us. Today was one of those days for me.
Today I would go out to the mall looking for something. So off I went to the mall looking for what I was looking for. I was calm and collected the whole time. Even looked up and down for it for a good amount of time before realizing they didn’t have it and drove 10 minutes to another store to check for it. Eventually I would visit a total of store various stores across 3 or so hours there. All with no luck finding what o was looking for. Yet I still had success of being out all day in public places. While it was just myself it is another step in the right direction to having a better life.
I still have to work towards doing this more often and work to including others but I am proud of what I accomplished today and how far I’ve come in life. When I wouldn’t even think about doing something like this.
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.