Saturday, June 23, 2012

Travel Anxiety

One of the latest things I wanted to work on with my therapist was the anxiety I had developed when I traveled.  Last year I had signed up to go to my stamping and scrapbooking convention and then when it came down to it, I just couldn't go.  This year I was excited about going to convention but I had to get over the anxiety in order to do so.  Luckily one of my downline had decided to go and so I said I would go with her and the thought of not going alone really helped.  So I signed up and at my next therapy appointment I was determined to find a way to work through the travel anxiety.

As my therapist and I talked I told her some of my past travel experiences.  In the past I didn't have any anxiety about traveling, but later in life, after becoming a mother, I started to have small fears about my children being taken care of while I was traveling.  Plus I had had many experiences of being pulled off airplanes (my husband works for an airline so we travel stand-by) to make way for paying customers, sitting in an airport all day waiting for the possibility of getting a seat, being sent back home to change because the code-share airline allowing us to fly on them didn't think my jean dress was nice enough and so on.  Adding to that was my really good imagination that I would think about the worst possible things that could happen to my family or me while I was gone.

After I told her all of these stories my therapist commented that my traveling experiences were like a messy ball of yarn.  When she said that I could visualize a ball of yarn in my mind with lose strands all over it and on each strand was labeled with one of my bad experiences.  The thing about anxiety is that it is all about fears and as we talked I realized that all my anxiety about traveling was connected to things of the past but that now there were different things in play so they didn't really apply any more.  As we continued to talk I started formulating a list of the old and new ways of my traveling experiences.  For example, waiting all day at the airport hoping to get on doesn't really happen any more because technology has changed and we can see online which flight has the most available seats.  Worrying that something might happen to my kids isn't as much of a worry any more because my children are now adults.  I thought of a new way of believing to counteract all of my old fears.

My next trip was this past week and I only had one moment of anxiety which was when we first walked into the airport (in the past it would start days before the trip and last through until the arrival at my destination).  During all my preparation time and waiting for our flight, anytime I started to think the old anxiety ridden way, I would stop myself and remind myself that that was the old way and that I have a new way of seeing things.  It was amazing!   Well, I leave in the morning for another trip, let's see if I can do it again!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Surviving High School

My daughter just graduated from high school and I know that technically she is the one that survived high school itself, but our whole family survived her surviving it!  High school was so much fun for me, so sometimes it was hard for me to understand the difficulties that she experienced.  But we were listing off the differences the other day, for example, for me, my senior year was really fun.  I had a dance class, cheerleading, drama, a needle arts class, etc.  The only challenging class that I had was Human Biology. 

She had for her senior year AP Psychology, history, college prep, english, etc.  The only fun class she had was photography.  I went to high school in Utah where seminary is a time release class that you get to take during the day.  Megan's seminary class was early morning at 6:05 am (and she isn't a morning person).  The kids I went to high school had similar morals whereas the kids in Megan's high school consistently used foul language, talked about wild parties, sex and more. 

When I went to high school, you just took your general ed classes and whatever else you want to.  My daughter had to pick a specific pathway of classes to take that would be in her desired field of future work.  She picked the Fine Arts pathway as a freshman and as each year has had more and more cuts to the schools, many of the fine arts classes were done away with so she didn't have as many options. 

When I was in high school there was no such thing as a Senior Project or WASL type testing that you had to pass in order to get your diploma.  The pressures she has been feeling the last few months on top of not really enjoying the high school experience itself (thank goodness for good friends and the Daffodil Festival events as they were the only things that cheered her up) has made it all very difficult for her and for us.  We had to push her through many assignments and staying on top of everything.  Needless to say, a lot of my own life fell onto the back burner as I helped sustain her through all her assignments and the many emotional melt downs that were a natural occurrence of the stress that she was feeling. 

I am so happy to say that we survived!  And now I feel like we can get back to normal life, after some recovery time I am sure.  Sometimes that is just how life is, everything else gets put on hold and you just do everything you can to survive what you are in in the moment.  Once you have survived, then pull your life back together and move on!