The next time a friend asks if we should stop and get a cup of coffee I am going to have to rethink my answer. Drinking alcohol and driving is, as I realized yesterday at around 3pm, almost the same for me as drinking espresso and driving. Now, obviously there are a lot of differences and there isn't even one slight tiny bit of me who agrees with drinking and driving. In fact, if there was a LADD, I'd join it. That would be Lesbians Against Drinking and Driving. Or it could even be Laura Against Drinking and Driving. There is never a reason to do it.
Anyway, back to yesterday. For years, I've been working through my fear of driving. I don't know where the fear came from. Is it from the near-death experience I had when I was driving when I was 17 and got into a horrific car accident on the highway on my way home? Maybe. I don't know. But, I've always had to work through my fear of driving and I do. I do work through it. And it's been about 5 months since my last panic attack while driving and it's been awesome.
Not only have the panic attacks basically disappeared out my system, with the help of my new car, but they haven't even come into my head as something I should be worried about when I do want to go on a trip. And more than that, because I've been so calm lately, I didn't even worry about my parents on their road trip. It's been amazing.
Don't get me wrong, I have OCD. So the thoughts come in my head for sure. But then I let them pass. They come in, then I let them pass quickly. I'm healing myself!!
Then yesterday happened. But because I am very self aware, I knew it was happeneing and I spent almost two hours figuring out how to cope with it while driving home and I did it. And I'm here. So, that's awesome.
After 3 hours of driving home from a really fun weekend, I started to feel anxious. Was it talking to my mom and getting frustrated? Maybe. Was it thinking about an email I got which affected me? Maybe. Was it thinking about my life and relationships and friends? Maybe. Was it the fact that I was running out of gas? Maybe. Was it the fact that I hadn't eaten anything for hours? Maybe. Was it the espresso drink I had a few hours earlier? Most definitely! I don't drink caffenine because it makes me anxious. So, because I've been so non anxious about driving, I think I forgot that so I drank it. Big mistake.
About three hours in I started to feel dizzy, and numb. I don't know if you have ever had a panic attack, but they aren't pretty...but if you can stop your brain and figure it out while it is happening, they pass. So, I started to get all numb and I could feel my body slowly fade from myself and I got light-headed and I couldn't see straight. I got off the road and got some gas. Then I drank some water. Then I ate an apple. Then I texted a couple of people to see if they would maybe contact me to make me feel better. Only one person did, my sister...thank you sister.
I got back on the road and just took it really slow and started to do my singing of a hundred bottles of beer on the wall, and laughing at myself and breathing and thinking postiive happy thoughts about my weekend and about myself and my future etc. It really helped. I was fine until about 20 minutes until I was home and another one happened. I think I started to feel really bad about myself for it happenening so it happened again. But then I calmed myself down again and made it home!!
I think for myself, I need a panic attack sponsors. hahahah....someone who can call me and just say the right things; even if for just a mintue; to bring me back to the Laura I know I am. I have to find someone I can reach out to like that.
I'm not perfect. I have my faults. But, here's the thing. I know them. And I work through them. I ask for help when I need it....albeit that some of the people I ask for help don't have a clue how to help me because they just don't get it.
I'm a very funny person but when it comes to things like this, sometimes I just need someone to call me and say this, "Laura, you are amazing and strong. Focus your brain on that. Breathe. I'm proud of you." I say it...but yeah, sometimes, I want to hear it.