Throughout this journey of healing from ppa/ppocd I have learned what I have to do to stay healthy, I have learned what I have to stay away from, & I have learned that some things are just too triggering for me. Josh jokes with me a lot about this little “bubble” that I sometimes live in where nothing bad ever happens & as much as I know this is far from the truth, I have learned that (for now anyways) I need to live like this to an extent. I am beginning to accept that, for me, it is OK if I don’t want to watch the news or want to see something that will cause too much sadness or anxiety. Maybe one day I won’t feel like this anymore but right now I know that I am still too fragile & I just can’t go there with certain things.
The Saturday after Kennadie's dance recital Josh & I headed out for a night away for our anniversary. I felt great all day & then all of a sudden on the drive down to the hotel I started to feel some anxiety & my head started spinning with thoughts about what happened that Friday at the school in CT. Although I never watched or read anything on it- friends talked about, my best friend called me in tears, & my sister kept messaging me. My heart was aching. I tried to drown out the thoughts by turning up the radio & singing along, listening to only upbeat music. I tried talking myself out of it. Nothing worked.
It brought me back to the time Josh & I spent the night at this same hotel a few years ago while I was going through the worst of the ppa/ppocd. I remember that night so well. While Josh was sleeping, I snuck out to the living room in the suite, sat on the couch, & started to search the Internet for anything I could find to try to figure out what was happening to me. I was freaking out inside & he had no idea what I was going through; I was always good at putting on a smile even when I was terrified inside. I didn't want this to be a repeat of that night. I have come so far & I knew that I didn’t want to let this bring me down & ruin our time away.
Once we arrived at the hotel, I knew what I needed to do- relax, take some time for me, write, & just be for a little while. Josh wanted to take a nap & that gave me the perfect opportunity to head down to the pool area where I could have time to myself. I was able to get my thoughts together, relax in the whirlpool, read, & write. It was exactly what I needed. Whether I left the anxiety in the warm water of that whirlpool or scribbled down in my notebook, it was left behind, leaving me with a clear head & feeling great the rest of the time we were away. I was able to really enjoy our time together & we ended up having the best night.
It was probably a combination of hearing about what happened that Friday, being away from Kennadie, & a bit of PMDD, but I am learning to recognize these feelings when they come up & I am learning how to deal with the anxiety when it does happen. I am learning that what seems to be working for me is not fighting the feelings like I used to but acknowledging that they are there, that they are only thoughts & feelings, that they won't last forever, & I am learning what techniques work for me to help overcome the anxiety. I may have to push myself so freakin’ hard, change scenery, be alone for a bit, write it out, whatever it may be that I have to do to get out of it I will try my hardest & won’t let it win without a fight.
When the moments come where I am consumed with anxiety & fear, it can be really hard to think rationally about it; I can sometimes freak myself out with thoughts like, it will last forever & I will never feel good again. But in reality I know that this is not the case & I hope to always remember that.