Saturday, April 16, 2016

Amusement Park Anxiety Attack Is Not Amusing At All

We went away on a little road trip vacation last week. The plan? Huntin' down roller coasters. Yeah, we are 12 years old.

I wasn't thrilled about this trip because amusement parks and roller coasters give me anxiety. I am going to write a whole post on my journey to overcome this specifically another time. It's really deserving of it's own home because it became quite the leap for me.

This story is same same but different (as they say in Bangkok). I had a very long and arduous anxiety attack at a theme park. I'm embarrassed so much that I have to write about it. We arrived at the park in the morning all stoked and ready. I was mentally and emotionally prepared to conquer some fears. I was fucking ready! Except that deep down in the core of my being something was off. It was off from the moment I woke up in the tent that morning. Something just wasn't right. It was the slow build of an anxiety attack that had started tightening it's grips on me the night before as we were going to bed. I woke up multiple times during the night with mild panic but swiftly stifled that shit and stuffed it away.

We rode one coaster and on the outside I was feeling exhilarated and wonderful AND NORMAL. Not moments after walking away with the adrenaline still pumping I sensed the anxiety starting to overflow. The dam had burst. I tried plugging a hole here and there. I tried so fucking hard to tell my brain to shut the fuck up already but I couldn't. I just couldn't. Here we were walking around a fucking amusement park and I'm in absolute shambles. Literally the worst place ever to endure an anxiety attack. I threw some more anti-nausea meds at that shit and patiently waited. I watched Ryan go on ride after ride and all that was happening was my anxiety was steadily mounting and my coping was non-existent. I couldn't escape it. I worked hard to try and get past it but it kept coming in ebbs and flows. Deceiving me with moments of feeling normal only to be shaken down to almost not even being able to move. I was done. It was emotionally exhausting me.


In the midst of said very horrible anxiety attack. I asked Ryan to take a picture to document it for a future blog post. I didn't want to stand up. I didn't want to move. Hands in fists, this is my normal.

We left the park and went back to our campsite. I sat still in almost tears while Ryan went for a trail run on his own. I felt like my body weighed a ton and I couldn't do anything but sit and stare at nothing. I walked a few feet into the forest where I saw a sunny patch and plopped my ass down on the forest floor with my legs outstretched. I stared. I breathed. I thought long and hard. I knew what was triggering this anxiety and it still embarrasses me to my core because it's an absolute fucking stupid reason. I'm not even going to mention it.

The point is, I sat there sometimes with my eyes closed and other times watching the beetles and ants musing about in the leaves and dirt. I really meditated for the first time probably ever. It was so quiet and comforting sitting on the forest floor. Nobody was around. I lost track of time but I think I was there for about 40 minutes. Just still. It felt like 15.

Ryan got back from his run and I insisted we go back to the park for a couple hours before it closed. We did and we had a really sweet time. I can't explain what happened but what I learned is I made it happen. I focused and overcame a day-long anxiety attack which usually would have taken me out until the following morning. That's the first time ever that I was able to sit down with my anxiety and bitch slap it upside the head. I made that happen. I made it stop. Yeah I lost a good 3/4 of the day but the point is, I overcame.

I told Ryan countless times that I have to deal with this. I have to find ways to pacify myself no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I'm ashamed to admit that I rarely have grips on it when it arises in situations like that but I NEED to work on it when it does. I must find ways to address it so I'm not left running the fuck away. Especially on holidays when I don't really have a "safe place" to go to (in my mind and physically).

I'm not sure the outcome would have been the same if I had access to wifi. Being in the US means our phones have no data and we only have access with wifi. Sitting at that campground I felt a little stir crazy for not having my phone to occupy my brain while I endured waves of anxiety. Turns out it was a good thing because it forced me to confront it.

Later that evening.

4 comments:

  1. Way to kick that anxiety in the nads. :-)

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  2. Interesting about confronting it without the wifi...maybe that's something to look into the next time you are faced with an attack and do have screen access??? Progress ☺️

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  3. Sorry to hear about the anxiety, but glad for you that it ended well. Never ever give up.

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  4. Scully, I'm sorry you had to go through this, but am so glad you acquired some new tools for dealing! A post that will make many feel less alone❤️.

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