The past few weeks have felt a little crazy. Gillyweed the cat found himself caught between a rock and a hard place (and I do mean that literally) and ended up with a tail amputation that I genuinely believed was going to kill him. I realize this sounds dramatic but you have to understand that a few years ago I had a cat named Tilley who found herself with an infection. I took her into the vet one evening for another dose of steroids and the vet said she needed to be put down. So I basically just assume at every moment that my boys are going to die any time they go into the vet.
Then a few days later Max the dog got into his joint medicine (because we’re bad humans and didn’t have the cap on his meds…) and went at them like they were treats. Lucky for us he’s fat so all he needed was a hefty dose of Prilosec! Our animals have a way of getting into trouble right before we take off on vacation. Not to mention the bills they rack up… Gilly takes the cake on this one though. Did you guys know that a tail amputation is $1200 minimum? Yea. Me neither.
All of this leads up to our summer vacation to Paros, Greece! I intend to document the trip through a series of posts. Perhaps you will find it interesting. But honestly, mostly, it’s for me. Because I’m more likely to write it all down here than I am in a journal. You’re welcome.
This is the prologue. A quick summation of the events leading up to our very exciting adventure on the Aegean Sea (thank you for the geography lesson, Billy).
This trip came about because my best friend decided she should live in Paros for a month, a tiny island where she once studied abroad when we were in college. And then my other best friend, who just so happens to be her husband, quit his job and decided that he too should spend a month in Greece. And then we all agreed that a group of us should descend upon the island for a bit of raucous fun. So in February, right after that tax return hit the bank, we bought our plane tickets.
For those that know me, and those that may recall from past posts, I deal with some slight anxiety. Sometimes it manifests in weird ways that I truly cannot comprehend. A few years ago it morphed into an aversion to flying. That word choice is very particular because I’m not afraid of flying. I’m not worried that the plane is going to crash. Turbulence doesn’t scare me. It’s more a claustrophobic feeling. And a lack of control–that I don’t have the option to suddenly decide I want to stop and get off at any time. This is an anxiety that I especially struggle with because I used to love flying. I loved every aspect of it. Going through security and gauging my ability to be efficient. Navigating the airport. Scoping out food options. Airplane snack boxes. Seatback entertainment. Watching the view out the windows. Small talk with my seatmate. Catching up on People magazine and books and crossword puzzles. And then one day, I got so anxious I threw up. And then that became the new norm.
With the purchasing of the plane tickets came the decision that I wanted to get across the ocean Xanax-free. I got myself back into therapy. I’ve been doing the work. I’ve been doing the fucking. work. For the past few months, I’ve gone once a week. We did visualizations and meditations. I downloaded apps. I tracked my moods. I tried hypnotherapy. I turned my anxiety into a persona. Her name is Nancy. Nancy is not a bitch she’s just looking out for me and wants me to be safe. She is, however, annoying as fuck. It helped to name her. It helped to tell her out loud that I don’t need her for this, that she can take a break. I know how it sounds…it sounds like that stereotypical psychotherapy mumbo jumbo bullshit. But it helped. It distanced my anxiety from me. Showed me that it’s part of me, not all of me. I sat in my car, in traffic, trying to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, on the verge of a very real panic attack and I said out loud, “Nancy, you need to chill the fuck out right now” and she did. My heart rate slowed down and my chest relaxed and my skin stopped crawling and my body cooled down and I drove.
So I put in the time, the money and the energy to sort myself out. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went.
P.S. I’ve been away. I was depressed a little while back. Depressed in a way that I haven’t been in a long time. I’m probably still coming out of it, it’s a slow journey. But I’m trying to make a concerted effort to do the things that I love and bring me joy. Writing is one of those things. If you ever want to reach out, tell me that you’ve missed me on here (even if you really haven’t), that could be cool. Help me be accountable? And shit. It feels embarrassing to type but I know that’s because I’m letting myself be vulnerable and Brené Brown would award me for that and also the wine I’ve had so I’m leaving this whole P.S. here as it is. (I ramble a lot more the longer I’ve been away…)