Well, That Was Quite A Trip.
Per my previous post, I traveled to LA to test drive a new clinic. The trip was eventful for me on many levels.
For starters, it’s a big deal for me to get on an airplane by myself. In my pre-lyme life, getting on a plane by myself was not a big deal at all. In fact, it was routine, as I traveled frequently for work.
But that was then. Before the lyme. Before the fatigue. Before the low stress tolerance. Before the raging anxiety.
And this is Now.
Life Before was relatively easy. Life Now is quite difficult. Things that used to be routine have become anything but.
I wanted to take this trip by myself, just to see if I could do it. However, when the Uber arrived and it was time to leave for the airport, I immediately regretted my decision. What was I thinking?
Suddenly, the world felt very big, and I felt very small. My chest tightened then, and even now as I reflect on it.
But I pressed on. What choice did I have, really?
I had quite a bit of anxiety at the airport and on the plane. What was I afraid of, you ask? Absolutely nothing at all. That’s the thing of anxiety. When it’s bad, you walk through life with a general feeling of impending doom. Everything can be perfectly fine, yet your radar is constantly scanning the horizon for signs of danger. It’s a miserable way to live. Exhausting.
At any rate, I survived, the plane trip, the hour wait in the rental car line, and the navigation through LA traffic to get to the clinic. As I sat in the waiting room, I again regretted my decision to come alone. I just wasn’t feeling very brave in that moment. But again, the only option was to press on.
My visit with my doctor was uneventful in a good way. I didn’t get any sense he was surprised by anything I told him. He was clearly experienced in dealing with patients with complex cases, such as mine, and he had some new ideas for me.
If I were new to this rodeo, I’d be doing an Irish Jig thinking this new doctor was going to change my life in no time. However, time and experience have taught me there is no sliver bullet for my situation. Instead of looking for an overnight cure, I need to focus on incremental improvement. Slow and steady progress. And that’s what I think I will achieve by working with Holtorf Medical Group. In short, I am feeling optimistic, but also realistic.
So, that was the visit to the clinic.
Unbeknownst to me, the real growth and healing would happen the next day. That’s when I spent the day by myself in Santa Monica. I took a long walk along the beach, and then strolled the shops on the famous 3rd Street Promenade. The weather was a sparkling 65 degrees, and I had nothing but time. Sounds ideal, right? Maybe for someone else, but I had low level anxiety the whole time. However, that’s where the growth happened. While I was walking and strolling, two very distinct revelations came to me:
- Maybe I could have a different reaction to anxiety. When I get anxious, I see it as failure, or somehow my fault. But on this day, I wondered if I could see the anxiety I was feeling as a good thing. I know that sounds crazy. But know this – I was anxious because I was doing something that made me afraid. I broke out of my comfort zone, and got out in the world. So maybe, just maybe, I could welcome my anxiety as a side effect of making my world bigger.
- I need to stop comparing Now to Before. I am not the same person I was before I got sick. I don’t have the same mental and physical reserve. Yet, I keep expecting myself to be able to perform at the same level as Before. But, the fact of the matter is something happened to me. Something big. I am different now. So, what if I tried to experience things through the eyes of the person I am Now instead of the person I was Before? It’s almost like starting life over again and letting each experience be new, without adding the burden of expectation based on past experience. It’s accepting what’s possible for me Now vs. what was possible for me Before. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but it does to me. It feels like I’m taking pressure off myself, and accepting what is vs. holding myself to some unrealistic standard based on what used to be.
I took the last photo above before I headed out for my day in Santa Monica. For some reason I just wanted to capture that moment. I looked in the mirror and saw a scared, yet brave woman who was standing on her own two feet. I felt a little bigger and a little more brave than before I left home.
Speaking of home, as I prepared for my trip, I was only thinking about my appointment, and whether or not I would have a good feeling about the clinic.
As I reflect on my trip, I can see the appointment was the least of what I accomplished. I grew on that trip. I gained wisdom and confidence. Am I suddenly ten times less anxious and ten times more brave? Absolutely not. But I am incrementally moving in a more positive direction.
That’s all I can ask for.