I Was Totally Unprepared...

Yes, I am unabashedly admitting I was unprepared for this journey. Most of us will relate to this in one way or another. Perhaps you have been going through something similar.

So how did I prepare for the unexpected? 

Well to be honest, I couldn’t. After my first 8-9 days in Durham that were going extremely well, I started experiencing a series of events that just threw me completely into a tailspin of anxiety. And everything I had brought to help calm me down (coloring activities, easy reading books, music to get lost in, exercises) were all pushed aside in favor of staring out my favorite window from the guestroom bed. I couldn’t even make my body for walks out in the gorgeous North Carolina weather. 

And the reasons? 

If you have been following my social media at all, you already know that what I believed would be a short trip to the hospital for my recently married brother turned into an almost 2 week ordeal. It was the first time I had to deal with a family situation from so far away. Although I know I could not have done much even if I was closer, I felt a bit helpless. All I could do was read the events as they unfolded and just send positive energy and comfort through text phrases. 

 I was sad and scared, not just for my brother, but perhaps even more for my brother’s wife who also deals with anxiety very similar to mine. I found myself checking in on her personally as she tried to maneuver everything. For some reason, I could trust the doctors’ abilities, and my brother’s body to do what it needed to heal. But I know all too well how anxiety can overwhelm and make me sick and go into panic attacks, and I didn’t want to see that happen to the woman that was doing everything she could to be present for my brother. 

On top of this, it became clear that one of my New York hosts was ghosting me. After several months of regular texts that were all positively assuring me that everything was still a go, no responses were coming at all, not even to say they had to back out. (And as of this point, I still have not received communication.) 

My second New York host was also dealing with his own struggle of taking care of his parents after they were involved in a boating accident, and his life had been turned upside down, and certain obligations had to be pushed to the time I had planned to stay with him. So in matter of a few days, I saw 2-3 weeks of my intended destination completely disappear. 

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t plan. I couldn’t think of reaching out or acting for several days. I just stared at trees and clouds through a bedroom window much of the time. The only thing I could do was face what I was feeling and allow my surroundings among 4 cats, a dog, my friend from Texas, and the quiet neighborhood to provide that solace I needed. I had to stay with being uncomfortable and scared and feeling helpless. And I’m very grateful for having those days available without having to force myself to do anything. And I’m very glad that no one tried to provide any advice or guidance that would have felt more like an attack than help.

I'm so grateful to my friend Ali for providing this space to go through these early emotional struggles. And I am happy to say that after a few walks, conversations with online friends and phone calls with others, I started to feel lifted up again. And I'm finding this leads directly into the arena of accepting that I don't know what the hell I'm doing which I'll delve into my next written expression of emotional experiences on this journey.

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