- S.B. Pearce
Trippin' About Road Trippin' and Everything Else
Does anybody else become overwhelmed with anxiety before leaving out on a trip? I don't mean the quick, daily errand to go to the store or pay bills. I mean those long day trips, extended weekends, or true vacations to some far flung place that is more than an hour away?
I always go into super-anxiety mode before a trip. Everything has to be done before we can leave. It's almost as if I am sure that we will all perish in some terrible accident while we are gone and I simply can't bear for my family and friends to see any clutter or dust while cleaning out our things after our funerals. By the way, dear sister, the embarrassing sex toys are hidden in our room in that special box. Please be sure to destroy them before allowing anyone into the house if we should die by the hands of a pterodactyl while out.
My search history should be pretty clean. Blessed be the incognito mode.
Not only does the house have to be clean, the laundry done, the grass cut and the flowers watered, I also have to make sure all the bills are paid, the adulting finished and the world of Pearce is as tidy as a pin before I even begin to feel remotely okay. I mean, does anyone really give a shit if the pantry is organized? No. But I care so there is that.
I never really feel okay though. My chest is always tight and my mind always races with the millions of what-ifs that exist. What if the car breaks down? What if our accounts are hacked and we are stuck with no money because every card had to be cancelled? What if the house catches on fire while we are gone? What if our dog dies? Did I pack enough underwear? And why does it matter when I can simply buy more if I did happen to be struck with a raging case of the shits?
Living with anxiety isn't easy. Unfortunately, it seems to be working its way into the next generation. I am unsure if it is purely genetic or if it is a learned behavior. Possibly, a little bit of both. I try to be open with our kids about how some of my anxiety is truly beyond my control because of a health issue that has bequeathed to me the gift that keeps on giving in the form of restlessness layered in disquiet. I have also explained that I was essentially programmed to always feel like Chicken Little due to the unstable nature of my childhood. Never knowing where you will be from one week to the next will do that to a person. I am sure I should probably slap some counseling on that but I likely won't. It's too familiar and comfortable.
I hope that as they grow, they will shed any of their own nuanced anxieties and become more confident than I in their adult years. If they don't, maybe they will use it to their favor.
Sometimes I manipulate this bizarre quirk to my advantage. It lights a fire under my ass to finish a project. Working under pressure and feeling that flaming sense of "oh shit" can be quite helpful when trying to reach a particular goal. I can get in the zone with it. Like a car dropping low to fly well past the posted speed limit, smoothing out and purring its way to where it needs to be. Often, those things turn out pretty well even under the imposed duress of being sure it will be a miserable failure.
I have a million and one rituals that I use to feel better about traveling. Extensive notes for the house sitter are currently waiting their proper placement throughout the house. Protective crystals are standing guard over every window and door. The bathrooms are stocked with more toilet paper than is necessary for the one person that will be in our house.
It doesn't stop with home rituals. I do little things for the car we are traveling in as well. It must be clean, gassed, packed neatly with our necessities...with some crystals and herbs shoved in the glove compartment. A little extra is in the side pocket of my purse too. Oh, and snacks. Might need a snack. Grab the granola bars. No, not those. They make us fart.
If it wasn't for my dude, I am unsure how off the wall I would be. He is the calm to my storm. He knows exactly when to grasp my hand, give me a hug, or let me be as I pace to and fro recanting the litany of things completed and things left to do. I think he was sent my way to be my rock, if pre-destiny is even such a thing. Just the sound of his voice truly does silence my demons. They are quite the obnoxiously noisy bunch.
Granted, I don't feel like this all the time. I only spin for the big things like travel, surgeries, new ventures, and sometimes in big crowds. I'm not always reeling with apprehension and doubt.
Every now and again, a panic attack will slip in when I least expect it. Over the years I have figured out that those are not necessarily driven by me. I have this odd way of sometimes "feeling" other people, especially those that are close to me, or at least coming into my home, my most sacred space. Once I know what they are worried about, my feelings of utter cataclysmic destruction will, *poof,* disappear. I suppose it is called being an empath but I always heard it called "picking up" as a child. Those time can be rough but they are typically over fairly quick.
Yeah, I know that worrying is a wasted time activity. I wish I could have a pack of Fukitol and be as breezy as you please. The best I can hope for is a little Propanolol and possibly a glass of wine to help quell the stirrings of impending doom.
I better go now. I have to sort the spice rack, alphabetize my library shelves, and clean between the sofa cushions before we leave.