Monday, December 20, 2010

Letting Fear Conquer

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

(Author: Jake Nickell)

The one thing that I regretting the most this year was passing up the opportunity to go to London with Josh. Josh found out he was going to London for a business trip early in the year. He mentioned it to me and asked me if I wanted to go. When he asked me, the trip was still months in the future so I mumbled something resembling, “Maybe” and changed the subject.

If you had asked me 3 years ago if I wanted to go to London, your ears would be ringing from my screams. I have always wanted to go to Europe so you would think I would be dying for the chance, right? Well, things have changed since my anxiety started. Ever since Thanksgiving of 2008, I have been terrified to fly.

That Thanksgiving, I was flying to Oklahoma to stay with my future in laws for the first time (I didn’t realize they were going to be my in laws at this point). The morning I woke up to catch our flight, I was hit by this incredible nausea. I told Josh that I was pretty sure I was sick but he told me I was just nervous. I denied this because there was no way that I could be so nervous that I felt that sick. It wasn’t just a couple butterflies; this was so bad that brushing my teeth had me gagging. I couldn’t eat or drink anything because I would gag.

I somehow made it to the airport and onto the plane and all I can remember is clutching the little paper bag that is put in each seat, crying to Josh that I was going to be sick. After I got on the plane I remembered that I had some anti-nausea medication that was prescribed to help with the nausea I get with migraines, so I took one and fell asleep. After the medicine kicked in the nausea went away, but it made me so drowsy that I was in a fog the rest of the day.

After that experience, I was completely terrified of flying. Even it if was just to fly to Chicago to see my family, I would get really, really sick. Then it extended to car trips so that basically any travelling resulted in me feeling like my stomach was punishing me for some horrible wrong doing I had committed.

Needless to say, when Josh mentioned the 8 hour flight to London, my stomach flipped and I immediately decided I didn’t want to go. I made some lame excuse to Josh about not being able to get off of work so he booked his trip without me. As the trip approached, everyone was telling me how crazy I was for not going and I started to regret my initial decision to stay home and hide from the big, bad plane.

About a month before the trip, I told Josh I wanted to go. We started looking into flights and realized it was going to cost us a lot to book another flight. In addition, Josh would be in meetings most of the days we were in London so I would be alone a lot. If we had planned on me going earlier, we could have extended to trip so Josh and I could have spent more time together. In the end, I decided this trip wouldn’t work out.

I can’t tell you how much I regret this decision. Josh had a wonderful time and still talks about how amazing London is to this day. I am so disappointed in myself for letting my anxiety win. I let fear stop me from doing something I have always wanted to do.

Recently, Josh told me he is going back to London in April and I have decided to go. Barring anything major happening like me getting pregnant or extremely ill, I have committed to going. I am excited but the fear is still there. I am terrified of how I will feel on the travel days. I can’t even express how miserable I feel when I get that nauseous. It is way worse than food poisoning or any flu I have ever had.

However, I am going to push through the fear. I am determined to overcome this, but there may be days where my confidence wanes and I might need you guys to help me. I may need some of you to kick my butt and tell me to take control of my fear. I know I can do this, but I am not ashamed of asking for help.