A few years ago, I remember pacing up and down my hallway with tightness in my chest. Sweating and feeling light headed, awaiting my lift to bring me on this car ride to Cork. When I heard the horn beep outside I remember hesitating, sitting back down on the couch and telling myself I wasn’t going. My phone started ringing, I knew it was my friend’s in the car telling me they were downstairs and I started to feel sick. I told myself that I was dressed and ready to go but at the same time I was telling myself that I wasn’t going, that I couldn’t go. I missed the first call. I knew I only had a few seconds before the phone started to ring again and I needed to gather myself. We were heading to Cork for my friend’s baby’s Christening and it was important to me to be there as these things only happen once. My phone started to ring again and I told myself that I only had to get as far as the car, once I got into the car I would feel fine, it would be worth it. I pulled myself together, answered the phone and made my way to the car, smiling.
I remember the journey down like it was yesterday, I felt sick the whole time. Parts of the journey were fine but parts of the journey I felt like the walls were closing in on me. The further away we got from home, the more claustrophobic I began to feel. We had all arranged to come back the same evening that we left and that gave me some comfort. I was twitching and fiddling and doing everything to distract myself from thinking about how far away that we were. At that time I had no skills to deal with my anxiety and all I knew to do was breathe deeply whenever I felt my airways tighten or my head going light. I didn’t know at the time that the real reason I was feeling anxious was because we were heading somewhere out of my comfort zone, was because we were doing a journey that I had never done before. I had no comfort or reassurance to hold on to, all I was feeling was the fear of the unknown and then on top of that, the feeling of guilt for being so selfish at an important time in a friend’s life.