The last time I blogged was in July. The next week, I was at the doctor multiple times and for weeks after, in bed with mono, apparently something I already had in my body and brought to the surface by stress. So, there certainly was nothing going on to write about. I spent August slowly getting my energy back, (though I'm still pretty wiped…I would rather have had this as a teenager and missed school!) and catching up on the work I missed in July, facing the busiest August I have had to date. So, mono was rough, but I truly believe my body just needed a break after all it had taken the previous year. Other than feeling sick from that and some food intolerance/allergy issues, I felt good. I was getting back in shape physically and feeling more at peace mentally and emotionally. The physical toll on my body from last year is the food intolerance/autoimmune issues I'm having now. It was as if my body just froze up and closed itself off knowing it couldn't take any more, that I couldn't take any more. I remember noticing that at the times when my allergies would usually be awful, I felt fine or when I was exposed by multiple children with stomach bugs who had shared my drinks, given me a kiss and I didn't get even a touch of it. My body feels like it is place that needs to be healed, now that I can "handle" it.
At the beginning of August, I participated in a Global meditation for peace that was broadcast online with Deepak Chopra guiding the process. It was awesome and exactly the kind of thing I feel is important. It was really cool to see videos or pictures from the people all around the world that were logged in and participating. There is something very powerful about such an event. I had some beautiful moments with family and friends when I was able to get up and about this summer. I enjoyed hiking, boating, swimming, and just hanging out with people I love and it felt great to do so. With the exception of the few moments of anxiety I had triggered at the concerts I went to, I didn't have much else in the summer. I avoided the news as much as possible, though I had a few small "moments" when I couldn't avoid an article about something scary going on in the world. But, even so, I felt good.
Then, later in the month, I got some news that triggered a few days of anxiety and emotion. At first, I didn't think it was really related and found it strange that it would bring back these reactions. The more I thought about it, I realized it was certainly tied into what I went through last year, only it was tied into the healing part, the part where I was finding myself again. It was disappointing news that is personal and I don't want to share here (I know, strange since I share so much). The main point is that it did trigger anxiety, emotion, nightmares like I hadn't had in months, and the feeling that I absolutely could not be alone, a feeling I hadn't had since the Spring. Luckily, it happened Labor Day weekend, so I was able to spend time with family, especially my little cousins and that helped. I let myself feel it all, but also used what I've learned. Spending time with people, allowing myself to let out whatever needed to come through some tears or frustration without letting it consume me, meditation, and getting to the gym all helped. After a few days, everything eased.
I jumped right into my busiest season and have been staying very busy. I haven't felt great physically but I know that is going to take some time and it's not stopping my working or getting to the gym, so it's bearable. I have loved seeing all of my yearly clients again and meeting many more great ones. I kept myself so busy, that I forgot about something marathon related that I had signed up for.
In July, I was contacted about participating in something called a Restorative Justice Peace Circle. I can't share specifics, but it was basically young adults/teens who had orchestrated a prank involving a bomb (no bomb ever existed). I was asked to participate because this is the kind of thing I believe in, which I've been open about and because of the obvious, my experience. I don't believe in punishment for all mistakes. I also truly believe that doing something like this for a young person's first (or even after the first but still early) offense can prevent them from continuing down a road to a life of crime. Over the last two months, my therapist and some friends have checked in with me, to make sure I felt okay about doing it. I honestly just didn't let myself think much about it. I was sick and then busy, so that was where my focus was. A few days before it was happening, it started to hit how close it was. I still felt okay, though I could feel some anxiety creeping in and my sleep was off. On Thursday, I woke up feeling like crap. I was exhausted even though I had slept well. I had a stomach ache and headache. As I started to get ready to head out, my anxiety increased. I had finally looked at the questions that would guide the circle and thinking about my answers. I realized that I had spent so much time NOT talking about anything marathon related that I was getting anxious at the thought of doing just that.
As I drove in to meet a friend who was also participating, I called a friend who talked me through it all and made me laugh and as I hung up from her, another friend called me to check in and see if I was okay and to offer some words of support and encouragement. Those calls definitely helped ease my anxiety.
As I sat down in the room, with a large circle of people (maybe 18), I felt that familiar fluttering in my chest and my leg began to bounce. My leg hadn't done that since the concerts back in July. Both of those reactions stayed through the entire 3 hours, to varying degrees. The experience was emotional and exhausting, but in a good way. As much as it stirred things up again, it also gave me the opportunity to help some young people who seemed genuinely remorseful and emotional about what they'd done and who truly wanted to make amends for it. I've always said that sharing this blog and my personal life through this experience or sharing it in any other way was worth it if I helped even one person. So far, it's helped more than that, more than a couple of handfuls that I know of. That is exactly why I would participate in anything that will have a positive impact even if it means feeling some anxiety and emotion.
I felt okay the next few days and have found myself getting anxious again this week. I leave for Italy a week from Friday. It will be my first time flying and traveling alone since before the bombings. In May, I had felt that I could definitely be there alone, but I wasn't. Now that I know I'm going by myself, it's not as easy. The news and situations going on around the world are not helping especially seeing a headline about how Americans and French citizens are being targeted and I'm flying to Italy through Paris. I avoid the actual news but between social media and catching a news story without meaning to, I'm still seeing it. I get torn between feeling I need to be informed and wanting to avoid all together. With all of the missing planes taken by terrorists, everything going on with ISIS, and even questions of people here in our own backyards being a threat, it's not easy to ignore. And to add that I'll be alone and that added anxiety of "if something happens, I won't have anyone I know with me" doesn't help. I like to think that I will get to Italy and enjoy my trip without anything bad happening, but it's not as easy as it sounds. It goes back to that "what are the chances" phrase. Again, I never thought there was a chance I'd experience what I did on 4/15/13. Every time I see even a headline about bombings or terrorist activity or war, without even clicking on it, I get a wave of anxiety that just goes through my body. It doesn't necessarily last, but I feel it. It's almost like if you cringe, or if you get a chill. It's just that feeling that goes through you.
Despite the anxiety I've been feeling about this trip, I've been very busy so I haven't had much time to really think about it which could be good and bad. Good because I won't spend a lot of time stressing about it this next 9 days and bad because I don't want it to hit hard next week. There are also other circumstances about this upcoming trip that have changed in a negative way that are adding to the stress of it. My hope is that regardless of all of this and any anxiety that arises next week or on the trip over, that once i'm back in the place that brought me back my peace, I'll just be happy to be there and enjoy every second. It's the main reason i'm going. Now that i've found my way back to "me", I want to go and spend some time hiking, reading, taking pictures, and finding even more of my "happy". A cool thing about this trip is that I'll be doing a family photo shoot while i'm there for a family I may rent an apartment from in the winter for a month. That is what I'm really looking forward to at this point and focusing on how cool that is despite anything else i'm feeling.
It's amazing how one small amount of time, just seconds, can alter how your body reacts to many different situations that arise. It's also amazing how that day can come back to you clear as day, even as it gets further away.
I am hopeful that I will find my love of traveling alone again and be prepared for a longer trip in the winter. I want to experience all life has to offer and not let this experience and the bad that is going on in the world take anything away from that.
Peace and Love,