Ever feel like you’ve conquered anxiety and all it throws at you only for it to come back with a vengeance and bite you in the butt?
Yeah, me too.
Last month I decided to go on a road trip with my dogs. I planned to drive all over the country visiting family and friends and trying to explore a few new places. Sounds like fun right? Well, let’s just say it didn’t quite turned out as planned.
The number one situation that gives me anxiety is traveling. It doesn’t matter who I am with, where the destination is, or how long it will take, anxiety WILL be present. It really takes the fun out of seeing new places. Knowing this, I expected to experience anxiety on a moderate level. However, now I have the tools to healthily walk through the uncomfy, yes I said uncomfy, without it overtaking me.
Was I excited for this trip? Yes! Lots of fun things planned and so many friends and family to see.
A few weeks before the trip started I was waking up with anxiety, one of the worst ways to wake up, every single morning. The feeling wouldn’t last all day but would come and go intermittingly, and as the trip came closer it seemed to be getting worse. Still knowing that this is normal for me I did my best to prepare myself, the dogs, the car, pack, and have a good trip.
The reality of the undertaking of this trip hit after the first night spent in a hotel with two dogs. Ha! They really do great traveling. But, managing their energy levels, mostly our 9 month old golden retriever puppy Abby, getting them in and out of the rooms, cleaning up the accident on the bathroom floor from said puppy, making sure they don’t bark and bother neighbors… Oh man, please don’t make me do that again. Let’s just say my anxiety the next morning was VERY high.
As the trip went on my anxiety didn’t really get better. Still coming and going at different moments of the day but again, nothing I couldn’t handle. During this trip I had some of my girlfriends come and stay with me in Austin, TX for a fun girls trip. My entire trip was actually based around this girls trip! It was a really fun time relaxing by the pool, going to new restaurants, watching movies, and not to mention the margaritas! However, my anxiety made this trip oddly difficult, which was upsetting.
After my fourth day of crying in a row, which is very rare for me, I realized I was completely and emotionally overwhelmed. After a lot of thinking, praying, and crying, inevitably, I chose to end my cross country road trip early and head back home.
Making this decision I felt, at first, like I was failing myself. But after journaling, praying, talking with family and friends, and a virtual counseling session I realized I wasn’t failing myself. I was, in fact, taking the steps I needed to to be at a better place mentally. Which, truthfully, is growth.
In my perfectionist driven brain it was a hard pill to swallow to actually end the trip early. I had set high expectations for myself, as I usually do, and leaving early meant I failed to meet them as well as let others around me down. Once I sorted through all of those anxieties, tough emotions, and tears I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt at peace with going home early.