Well, I’m writing to you on what was supposed to be DAY 1 of another vaca. My mind is mush, guys. And I cannot deal. I haven’t really dove into what I’m about to but after some reflection, I’m starting to feel like this is the only way to really work through whatever is happening. Anxiety much?
To begin, I should start by telling you what my original sort of plan was. I was going to join my aunt and her family on a camping trip for a good chunk of this next week. They are staying at Moose Lake State Park near the Duluth area in Minnesota. I’ve been excited about it since she first mentioned it months ago and I was elated that she was cool with me tagging along.
Okay, here we go. Sorry to those of you who come across this. I don’t know if I’ll both proofing this or taking a second look because #feels and #notactuallyokay
My entire life, or as long as I can remember at least, I have always been a planner. I function best when everything is well organized. To the point that the first handful of trips I went on included a full itinerary. We’re talking a binder full of stuff down to the last minute of things to do. A FRICKING BINDER (and yes, I still have them all). Before your eyes get too big, no, I do not get bent when things don’t go as planned. Or I don’t think I do. My itineraries usually include alternates or as I like to call it, “planned spontaneity.” I typically have the general itinerary and then options if that doesn’t work out and even more options if plans A, B, and C go awry. It works. It keeps my nervous brain calm and those traveling with me plenty of options if they aren’t into whatever was originally planned.
I have not been able to “rest” my mind for over a year. Seriously. The last trip that I planned to a degree where I felt good and comfortable was my Staycation in early 2018 with my niece Emma. Sure, I organized the F out of my first European adventure last fall but it was all done with an overly chaotic mind. Not only had my life fallen apart less then a year prior but things at work started changing rapidly at the same time. All of my energy was moved towards keeping my emotions in check when outside of my apartment and making sure I could keep my shit together at work so I could live in that apartment. I wanted to schedule time for a mental breakdown but there was no time for one so as they say and I’m sure my dad would cringe at; I kept on truckin’.
This is just one small piece in my universe but being organized and on top of it all really drove a big piece of me. So much so that I didn’t realize how important it was to me functioning until I couldn’t do it anymore. I’d been continually sinking further and further away from who I felt I was comfortable with as a person.
What does that have to do with going camping in Minnesota?
Well, we’ll start with the first of three breakdowns I had this week. Twitter was the empty hole of nothing that got a ‘Sheldon Cooper dry heaving into a bag’ meme first. I was having a mini-panic attack that I was up to my eyeballs in work so much so that I had lists of lists that I had to still make. That’s something else I haven’t yet mentioned. Lists are my zen. I think I counted that I had a list of 7 lists to do by Thursday afternoon with less than 48 hours to put them together and follow through on every single item. Something that was not going to happen.
To top it off, my dad was coming to town and while I love him dearly and hope his feelings don’t get hurt if he reads this, I felt like I would physically breakdown if I had to also carve out time to hang with my dad. And he doesn’t know what to do if I cry.
I needed this vacation, trip, whatever. I needed to pause and press reset on my life. Ireland was wonderful but I didn’t make time to enjoy the quiet. Same with Arizona. It was life changingly beautiful but I didn’t give my mind a moment to really rest. I think a part of me wants to keep going because the last time that I let myself sit and “feel,” I couldn’t stop feeling. It’s too painful.
Breakdown number two happened when I emailed my mom that same day awhile later. I think I basically explained the same thing to her. I needed someone to tell me to calm down. My mom, bless her soul, isn’t the most empathetic person you’ll ever cross. That might be a tie between me and my youngest brother; I fear that our hears were almost made to be broken. But she is my voice of reason. She is the one that reminds me to breathe and to let go. Not always something that I want to hear but often something that I need to hear.
Before I dive into the last marathon of this post, I do want to clarify that I know and acknowledge that this whole thing is in regards to an upcoming vacation. I’m not writing this post as a “poor me; white privileged woman going on vaca” pity party. This is, and I hope it’s received as such, me trying to take control of my mental health; something that I have a hard time acknowledging is anything less than perfectly content. Because I know I have a good life filled with good people. While one part of my mind is smart enough to tackle depression and anxiety, the other part of my mind is like “yeah right, prove it.” If you see this post as anything other than that, there’s a back button in the top left of your screen on whatever device you’re reading this on.
Okay, on with the ramble.
Still Thursday, a new turn of events. To spare the details being forever embedded in the internet-verse, I am electing to withhold explaining the next day and a half or so for privacy reasons because they do not involve me directly but rather; a friend. I will share that I was up for the better part of 40 hours helping this friend with a crisis; maybe a cat nap in there. This put a super halt, if that’s a thing, on any anxiety or stress I was experiencing about this upcoming trip. Not having it planned out or knowing what I was going to be doing for the next week wasn’t a concern during this period. It’s like my brain said “nope, time to worry about this other thing.” And that’s what I did.
When I finally fell into my bed on Friday night around 10:30 p.m. nearly 40 hours after I pulled myself out of it.. my body, my mind, my heart, all of it; broke down. I think I texted my mom asking if she was still up. She was but I couldn’t bring myself to call her. All of the worry I had been holding on to the last day or so came to the surface. I hyper-analyzed all of the interactions I had the last two days and couldn’t make sense of if they were good or bad. All of the emo-kid feels of needing to write those 7 lists were back at it again. The only thing I could do was lay there and cry. I couldn’t move, I felt like I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t call my mom. I couldn’t ask for help. The only thing I felt like I needed was a hug and there were none to be given.
What is wrong with me?
I trust that I’m as adaptable as origami but there’s always a but. Accommodating on the outside but not breathing on the inside; delighted by a win but waiting for a loss. I am fine. I am put together. I am strong. But. I am crying. I am messy. I am weak.
So, I’m not going camping with my aunts family at Moose Lake State Park in Minnesota. I need to do something on my own away from the noise. I need to find peace in solitude and allow my mind and body time to rest. Actually rest. I am okay, I really am. I’m okay with being alone now, I used to hate the empty spot in my bed. I’m okay with having a small circle of people in my life. I used to worry about having enough friends. I’m okay with trying new things. I used to be fearful of going to lunch alone. But I need to be okay for real. I need to tap into that last piece that allows me to bottle everything up for months and months all to fall apart when I don’t have time to.