Greetings from Bali, Indonesia!!!
I have had so much I’ve wanted to write these last few days but barely got time to due to trying to get ready for my trip. In this process of getting ready to leave and during the actual trip to get here, a lot has come up for me and I’m pretty impressed with myself with how I have handled it.
One of the first things is this fear of flying. I never really had a fear of flying until I had my son. Then again, I had never really flown too far either. Most of my plane trips consists of flying from Southern California to Northern California and even that I don’t do often anymore. Now thinking about it, I’m not so sure I have a fear of flying as it is actually a fear of dying! I have had this fear of dying since I was younger but it magnified after I had my son.
Now it’s not just about me dying but it’s about my son not having one or both of his parents. When I flew to New York last year to go on a vacation with my mom, aunts, and cousin I was still terrified of the flight. I had to fly by myself but it was late at night and I got to sleep a lot of the way in a row by myself so it wasn’t SO bad. I had left my son with his father so even then I knew if something happened he would have his daddy.
This time around, both of us are on the trip so I’ve really been freaking out. I’ve been so fearful that something could happen to both of us. It’s given me really bad anxiety for the week leading up to the trip. I had a counseling session last Tuesday and I started crying because my anxiety about talking about it was getting so bad. My heart started beating really fast. My palms were getting sweaty. I felt numb and cold. At some points my fears get so out of control that I’ll admit, I’ve been afraid that one day I’ll be afraid to leave the house.
I never thought I’d be a person to have to deal with an anxiety like this and it’s a little crazy just how real my fears have felt. When I was with my counselor we practiced just taking deep breaths and calming my body down. Talked about recognizing that this is a fear and it’s not reality. For me this was hard because I felt like it was a reality. Everything in my body felt like something was going to happen to me. Even through calming down and trying to distract myself or think happy thoughts, I couldn’t stop the back of my brain from feeling scared.
One of the things that had kind of worked me up last week was getting all the emergency information ready for my cousin and my mother in law (who are watching my son right now). I had a feeling that I needed to write my son a letter “just in case” to explain to him how much I love him. Then I thought I needed to make letters for other important people in my life. This is one of the thoughts that scared me. I felt like if I wrote the letters I was jinxing myself for something bad to happen but If I didn’t write the letters I would hate for something bad to happen and these people I would leave behind to not feel resolvement with how much they mean to me. I was having a really hard time making a decision because both scared me quite equally.
I had decided that I wanted to write letters because in this way there would be no regrets. Even if I was jinxing myself. The one problem was that I didn’t have time to really sit and write any such letters. Talk about adding to the anxiety!!! That’s when the epiphany hit.
Although I was already planning on spending as much time as I could with my son before I left, since I couldn’t write him a letter, I had to really show him and tell him how much I loved him and care about him. I do this regularly as a parent of course, but I wanted him to know even more the depths of those feelings.
Now I still had to deal with my anxiety of flying and I was becoming more relaxed. I had no choice but to just try to make it through with thoughts that I would make it out this trip alive and I would be back to my son.
You’ll be happy to know that I did VERY well for flying 24 hours of traveling. Every time the plane had turbulence, I had to consciously tell me myself that it was going to be ok. “Don’t freak out unless the oxygen bags fall” 🙂 I had to take deep breaths and keep my body calm. I only had to take one Xanax. haha! I’m proud of myself.
But the biggest lesson I have gotten from this experience thus far is that it became very clear the need to express to my loved ones how important they are. I can’t always control what’s going to happen to me, that part is hard to let go of sometimes, but I can control how I spend my time. Am I showing my appreciation and gratitude in the ways that leave me fulfilled? If I left this Earth today, would the people who I love know the extent of those feelings?
When I get back I think I still want to write those letters, but even more I want to take more time SHOWING these people my love. Spending time, making efforts, using my words. We all kind of go through these feelings when bad experiences come around, but this time I want to keep this feeling everyday. “Live everyday as if it’s your last right“?
I turned fear into love and instead of letting it immobilize me I want to let it guide me in a positive way. So remember that, next time you have a fearful thought, take a second to see how you can turn that thought into love and make it WORK!