Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The #FatChick Gets a Grip On One of Her Fears #anxietyattack #MyWANA

Hi Ho! The Fat Chick is back and ready to share more of her crazy ass journey through life after forty. For those of you just joining us, thank you! This is a little feature where I share my journey through all the bumps and briars of my life now that I'm in my late forties. Don't get me wrong. I love my age but there are some things that happen to all women in this age bracket that are just too damn funny to pass up talking about. Of course there are some things hard to get through for all of us and I hope that by sharing my story, the journey of others is a little bit lighter.

This time I'd like to talk about conquering long held fears. I have many and some are pretty mild. This one is quite debilitating. I have a fear of drowning. I can swim, fish from a boat and go over short little bridges without a problem but put me on a long spanning suspension bridge or on a...ferry...and I turn into a blubbering bag of flesh and bones.

Part of my job requires that I travel throughout the Seattle region to work at various veterinary hospitals. The best routes to one of them require a ride on one of the Washington ferries or drive 90 miles around. The first time I worked there, I did drive around. I wasn't ready to get on that ferry no matter what anyone said to me. Last week, I tackled it with my husband at the wheel.

It wasn't pretty.

I shook and cried and yes tossed my cookies. So many people offered me remedies for my nausea and sea sickness. Problem is, I don't suffer from sea sickness and the nausea had nothing to do with being around the water. What they were witnessing me experience was a full blown anxiety attack.

Dramamine doesn't help that. Meditation doesn't help me for it. Getting drunk off my ass doesn't help either although it would be perfect if it did. Just kidding! (maybe) The only tried and true way for me to get through it is to experience it over and over again. This is a process called flooding.

By going through it repeatedly, step by step, my brain can process it all and analyze it. The unknown is held at bay and my mind is occupied with getting through each step. The thoughts of the ferry going down and me being trapped in my car in the center of it, unable to get out stop running on a loop in my brain. The return trip only set me shaking. No vomiting. Yay me!

Today was the big test. I had to make the trip alone. I have to work at this hospital again tomorrow and by traveling over tonight, I stay at a local hotel so I can be there ready to rock and roll at 7am. My dislike of mornings is topic for another day, let's just say there was no way in hell I would make it up and over here in time if I had to drive in the morning for this shift.

What happened? Nothing but a little stomach butterflies. I purchased my ticket and parked in the waiting area. Within fifteen minutes we were moving. They directed me where to go and I ended up in full few of the front and the water. So cool! I waited a few minutes to be sure I wasn't going to go postal and then got out of the car. I made my way to the galley and got myself a hot pretzel and a Dr. Pepper to celebrate.

I did it! I made it through the whole process without any freaking out. No vomiting. No visions of the water rushing around me and into my car while I struggle to fill my lungs with enough air to be able to swim to the surface...

ohhhhhh...damn it...Just kidding! None of that happened today. Whew!

Here I sit on my little Netbook writing this post and smiling. I made it through one more trip and survived. Day after tomorrow I have to make the return trip bright and early so I can be back in time for a 9am shift at another hospital. As long as I have my plan of action, I think I'll be fine. Just in case, I'm going to take the advice of one of my friends.

Since my fear is being in the middle of the ferry, trapped in my car while the thing sinks, she told me to get my butt to the top of the ferry. Let the insurance replace the car. If the ferry goes down, I'll be on the sun deck and the first off that bad boy!

Until next time,
~The Fat Chick


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