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Pushing Boundaries

I have a recent history of nasty anxiety attacks, which got bad enough a few months ago for me to decide something had to be done. Amongst other things, I've made the decision to try and think myself through them instead of letting myself simply fall victim to the insanity. I'm happy to say things have been going very well so far, and I think I can even say it now gets easier to overcome every time.

David was in Germany over the weekend. A boys' football tournament organised by work. His usual trips are business trips and weekdays, so I'd normally book a taxi to meet him at the airport. But since he was landing at a decent time and at the weekend, I thought that maybe I could go and meet him at Gatwick myself.

I'd never driven to Gatwick before. And big, new things like this (well, big to me) will usually set off an anxiety attack, and I'd then chicken out. But it's all about pushing boundaries now, forcing myself out of my restrictive comfort zone.

So I drove to Gatwick.

10 minutes in, Emily started moaning.
Then the rain picked up.
And there was fog.
The wipers were going so fast they looked like they might fly off.
Traffic was going 20mph on the motorway.
I couldn't see the car in front of me, or the one behind me.
I couldn't see lanes, I couldn't see exits.
And on top of it all, my eyes were itching because of my blasted hayfever.

More than enough to trigger an anxiety attack, you'd think. True - but it didn't. Emily finally fell asleep. And it may simply have been that most of my energy was going into not rubbing my eyes, but I didn't panic at any point.

I got to Gatwick half an hour before David's plane landed, which gave Emily about 20 minutes to melt the hearts of an entire group of Irish teenagers and then have a little wander around the terminal.

I didn't want to push my luck, I asked David to drive on the way back and of course there wasn't a drop of rain all the way. It certainly was a baptism by fire for me and my next drive to the airport won't be anything as scary as this one was, which made me all the more proud to have done it - and to have calmly survived!

[image cred: Viv King]

11 comments:

  1. Panic attacks can be nasty! I had my first taste of them during final exams at Uni, and they got so bad I had to go to the doctor's and get some anti-anxiety medication. Luckily enough, they've returned no more but funnily enough, I'm just like you. Driving unfamiliar roads here in England, especially with a baby in tow, makes me uneasy. I drove to/fro Gatwick by myself (with C) last March when my mum visited. I couldn't sleep the night before and I imagined every scary scenario. Just like you said, the important thing is pushing yourself forward and taking the first step.

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    1. Thanks Jo. Yeah being in a different country doesn't exactly help either, you're thrown into an entirely new life and you need to build up confidence almost from scratch. With some people I guess that takes longer than with others! Well done us though! x

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  2. I am SO proud of you, like you wouldn't believe!! :D *huggles*

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  3. Well done you! I suffered from anxiety attacks all throughout my twenties and had to have medication every so often. They can be debilitating at best. Your approach is the best...wish I'd had the guts to face my fears like you when I was younger.

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    1. "debilitating" is the right word! :( Thanks love x

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  4. I had written something about anxiety a while ago. I had a lot of support from OH and from a very good friend of mine. Other than magnesium supplements I never took any medication and I overcame a lot of my anxiety after being diagnosed with my food intolerance that was taking over my CNS. My diet has become completely part of my life and if I do 'slip' and cheat with my diet, my anxiety returns. Well done to you, I admire anyone who drives abroad as that is definitely out of my comfort zone..

    http://vedomain.blogspot.com/2011/09/anxiety.html

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    1. That's pretty amazing. Just read that and left a gazillion comments because the captcha kept asking me to prove I wasn't a robot grrr xx

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  5. As Emily would say: WOW! You told me you drove to Gatwick in a very matter of fact way! I am already VERY proud of the person you have become, but this- this just makes me speechless. ( cos I KNOW your panic attacks)I don't think I would have managed. You're amazing girl! Wow!

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    1. :) Thank you. Once I'm in a difficult situation I'm quite good though, so maybe it wasn't entirely surprising that I handled it well. It's just the actually deciding to do something that's the tricky part ;) xx

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  6. Well done, that's an amazing achievement, and a brave blog post. I suffer from anxiety too but it's more of a constant low-level worrying, I can't imagine how frightening it must be to have panic attacks. It's so hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone but I do think it's true that you have to face your fears to overcome them.

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