I've been sitting here for some time, trying to figure out how to start this. Nothing amazing is coming to mind (which is probably fairly normal for this blog), so I'm just going to jump in:
I'm missing NHC this year. I was packed, ready to go. I made it to the airport, even cleared security. Had some beers, got all my in-flight electronic gadgets charged - all the shit you do to actually get on the plane. Except that.
Standing in line to board I was facing the realization of my trip, and really started to panic. My back began to sweat. I was trembling. Jumping out of line, I needed a moment to collect myself. I waited until the entire plan was boarded and checked in with myself - could I do this? Could I get on that plane? Then I realized I'd been sitting in the terminal for the last 15 minutes with tears streaming down my face, and that I had better go tell the folks at the counter that I won't be joining them. I knew my brain was against me on this one, as it has been on so many other occasions - but not like this. This was the closest thing I could imagine to being paralyzed by fear. Sitting at that gate, thinking, "I have to get on this plane - I have people counting on me", and not moving an inch was one hell of a moment for me. I was so consumed by anxiety that I didn't know if the hundreds of people in the airport even saw me sitting there crying into my phone. Something that would have terrified me any other day of the week.
I'm not going to lie, I had been pretty wound up all week about it. Even though I had my Xanxax and was totally willing and expecting to eat some, I still had this tense feeling in my chest. Talking myself down helped a bit, but not much. By Sunday night I was kind of a mess. Come Monday, though, I was fine - resigned to my fate to spend the night flying high above the US in a metal tube. Even when I hit the airport I was fine. So why the sudden onset? Why did these feelings spew out now?
I don't have an answer. This was only the second time I've missed a flight due to anxiety. The first time I never even made it into the airport, so I guess I'm doing better. I've had panic attacks before - I think we all have at one point or another - but this one felt dialed up to 11. Even the BART ride back home, luggage in tow, held little comfort for me. Tuesday, as I was explaining myself to those I let down, I struggled not only with tears, but to find reasons why. I called my therapist. Her thinking is that I stress myself out so much, so often, that I can't actually get a grasp on healing. And she may be right.
The point here is not to grab attention, but to share. I want people to know what I go through with this shit because there are so many people out there that deal with the same - or worse. You may know someone like me, but maybe they never talk about it. Maybe they are embarrassed about how much control they are giving up. Anxiety is a fickle bitch.
At any rate, I'm very saddened to be missing NHC this year. You people have fun out there, and be good to yourselves.