Trip Anxiety

I’m starting to get anxious about the trip.  I’m trying not to obsess over it, but it’s hard.

Mostly I’m stressing because B won’t be able to go with me.  When I thought about the trip, I’d planned it with him.  I’m afraid that without him, I’ll lapse back into the person I was seven years ago when I was last there instead of the person I am now.  He’s the only one who’s been around for that shift, and I’m afraid that being surrounded by people who haven’t really known me since then will drag me back.

The person I was when I left was miserable.  She hated herself and spent most of her time and energy trying to destroy herself.  She nearly killed herself so she wouldn’t have to feel anything but that self-hatred.  She couldn’t even consider that she might matter, that she might deserve to live and be safe and happy.  She was desperate for approval and love that only came if she was perfect, but she kept killing herself to try to win that love.  She was doing the best she could in that situation, but she was miserable.

Now, I’m so much better.  Yeah, I’m dealing with some pretty serious depression here lately, but not like it was before.  I don’t want to destroy myself anymore; I want to fix myself, even on the days that I don’t see any way of doing that.  When I imagined this trip, I imagined seeing all these relatives at the wedding.  Naturally, they’d ask what I’ve been up to.  I imagined telling my very Republican family, “Oh, I get Democrats elected.  My record is three for three, and I’m now working on getting a governor elected who defeated DOMA and defended buffer zones, and the first lesbian attorney general.  What have you been up to?”  (As I paraphrased it to my former therapist, “I work for the Democrats, so fuck all y’all.”)

Now, alone, I’m less certain I’ll be able to hang onto my present self.  I doubt I’ll slip all the way back into full-blown self-destruction, but it would be easy to start letting my family bully me and not stand up for myself.  That’s the pattern I’ve enacted with them my entire life, so it’s hard to pull the wheels out of those familiar ruts.

I’m worried people are going to be judgmental.  My bridesmaid dress is sleeveless, so a lot of my scars will be showing.  And I’m probably going to have to use my cane at the wedding, and I may even have to have a chair or something if I can’t stand up for long enough.  Certain family members have not been very understanding of my difficulties in the past.  One aunt called me up out of the blue about a year and a half after I moved to Massachusetts.  I hadn’t talked to her in 2 or 3 years, but she decided to call me and lecture me about how my problems were a choice and I was hurting the family.  And then there’s my grandfather, who I can easily imagine mocking me for needing to use the cane, or accusing me of faking it and being over-dramatic.

My youngest sister told me the other night that she’d already planned to run interference for me if people were being assholes.  I love that kid to death.  We also had a conversation about how I could just whack people across the shins with the cane to shut them up.  I mentioned wanting to find a way to electrify it so I could zap them if they were being assholes, but then I’m not sure the TSA would let me take it on the airplane.

And I don’t know what to expect when I go to Florida to help my mother.  Both my sisters say she’s a lot less crazy now that she’s remarried.  (Well, Middle Sister phrased it as “…now that she’s getting laid,” but you get the point.)  And most of the time I’m there, she’ll be at work, so I can knock out some chores and then go to the beach or kayak with the manatees.  So I think that should be manageable.

But I’m still afraid of losing myself when I go back to Birmingham.  I’m trying to calm myself down about it and convince myself that being aware of the potential for that problem will let me guard against it.  I’m trying not to let myself worry obsessively.  I’m trying to make plans to do fun stuff with people I like so I have an excuse not to spend much time with my extended family.  My sisters and I are getting matching tattoos, Little Sister and I are going to the zoo and the hands-on science museum where I used to work (possibly with Mother and Fake Stepdad, too), and Little Sister and I are going to hang out and smoke some pot.  (It’s medicinal!)  I’m going to get together with my best friend from high school, meet her daughter, cuddle with her kitties (she breeds and shows GORGEOUS Bengals), and do some yarn shopping.  I might get together with some other people, too.  So I have some good things going.  Hopefully it’ll make the trip okay.


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12 responses to “Trip Anxiety

  1. I generally dislike ‘pressing the like button’ when it comes to posts that take on a tone of concern and upset. It does not mean that i do not read them.

    Ideally, I would have words of wisdom and support. I would like to play your person cheerleader and encourage you; because you have come so far and done so many positive things for you in your life.

    While I cannot be there in person, I ca be there in spirit.

    One of us was notorious for liking to pretend to be there with those she cared for and offering to swat people in the nose with a rolled up newspaper when they misbehaved towards those she held in high regards. I know she held you in high regards.

    If it counts for anything, I can go with you in spirit. I fully understand how difficult it is to not revert back to old habits around those who have sought to bring you down throughout your life. I may not be there, but I will be thinking of you and silently cheering you on.

    It sounds as though you have great self care plans implemented.

    I wish you the best.

    Thinking of you.


    • I assume that when people hit the “like” button, it’s meant as a show of support. I use that when I’ve read a post but don’t feel like I have anything useful to say, so I assume that’s what other people mean. 🙂

      I don’t expect people to have brilliant answers or anything. We’re all here because we’re struggling. Occasionally someone might have an insight into someone else’s situation, and that’s great. But I don’t expect that. When I blog about what I’m struggling with, it’s not because I expect someone to fix it. I can (usually) deal with my own problems. Mostly I just want to be heard and seen and understood.

      I really appreciate your being with me in spirit. That’s very kind, and it means a lot. It’s always nice to know people are thinking about me and caring how I’m managing.

  2. happilydpressed

    Good Luck Hope! You’re going to have a good time… Tell everyone you don’t want their opinion. Then they can shove it (:

    • I don’t think I’ll actually tell them I don’t need their opinions, but it’s an attitude I’ll try to hold in mind while I’m around them. I had a therapist one time ask me, “So, would you trust your family’s judgment of one of your friends?”

      “Of course not. They’re terrible people, and terrible people aren’t especially good judges of people.”

      “So why do you trust their judgments of you?”

      I’d honestly never thought of it in those terms before. It seemed so obvious after she pointed it out, but it had honestly never occurred to me before. It’s something I try to remind myself of when I start thinking they might be right about my value as a person.

      • happilydpressed

        Smart therapist. I like that… You’ll be okay. You’re stronger than you think

      • Yes, that’s true. Now if I can just make my GI system stronger and my immune system a little less hyperactive, then I’ll be set. I keep having visions of what happens if I have an accident on the plane…yuck! But my gastroenterologist said it’s okay to use Imodium occasionally, so I’ll definitely take some before I get on the plane.

      • happilydpressed

        Yeah I know someone who uses that when she has to go on a plane. She has GI problems also. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you

  3. SusannaAntihero

    Oh gosh, I completely get that feeling you’re having about going home and facing the extended family. I feel that way whenever I visit mine in Alabama. Still, what they’re saying to you (especially that ridiculous and unneeded phone call) is just cruel. I hate when people (who should be there for you and have your back) can turn on you and find ways to just bring you down. It’s heartless and I almost feel like a lot of these people do it because it’s easy to point out what they think you’re doing wrong, than focus on themselves. I don’t know why relatives seem to be this way. So much for family love, right? That’s great that you’re focusing on time with your sisters and the fun things you’ll do. That’s really all you can do and hopefully this time people will just leave you alone and let it be a fun loving time with everyone. And I hope you do have a wonderful time!

    • Yeah, I got 99 reasons I left Alabama, and my family’s about 60 of them.

      I think the problem in my family is primarily narcissism and its trickle-down effects. My grandfather, the family patriarch, is a classic narcissist. He’s a successful guy, very smart, and he thinks that makes him better than everyone else. He loves passing judgment on everybody else, especially those he determines to be unsuccessful. My mother was one of five children, but he was disproportionately horrible to her. So she grew up with a lot of issues, which she then inflicted on my sisters and me. I think she has untreated borderline personality disorder, but she prevents very much like a narcissist–in my opinion, that’s an attempt to cover up her horrible insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Because she never got help, she inflicted her problems on her kids–go figure. Her older sister, my aunt, is pretty much just a bitch. I don’t spend enough time around her to diagnose her, but she’s also big on passing judgment and lecturing people, trying to force them to fall in line and play the happy family.

      My sisters, however, are pretty much the most awesome people on earth, barring Sir Patrick Stewart. They’re the only reason I ever regret leaving Alabama–I hardly get to see them since I live 1000 miles away. We never had the sibling rivalry thing going, although both of my sisters have also struggled with the emotional effects of our psycho family. I’m going on this trip for them, not the rest of the family.

      • SusannaAntihero

        Ah, I miss my sisters in Alabama as well and could couldn’t care less about those shallow stuck up relatives that seem to appear in many families. I’m so sorry to hear about the kind of family you have to deal with (aside from your siblings). That makes going home such a pain, I know. Here’s hoping that they’ll be too busy with their own issues and leave you alone to have what you need – a great time with those you came to see. I have a sister getting married in the next few months so I’ll probably be in the same dreaded boat since our families sound slightly similar. You don’t think we’re related do you? You never know since it’s Alabama. 😉

  4. I really really hope its a terrific trip. Soak up as much sisterly time as your able to. It sounds like you have a lot of fun things planned! Good for you! Bengals? Wow. I’d love to see a bengal. And cool about the tattoos. XXX hugs ❤

  5. I hope it’s a great trip. I’m not the person I was 6 years ago, when I started seeing my case manager, but sometimes family stuff slips me right back there… you probably see that in my blog. But even at my worst I’ve never gone completely back to who I was before and as soon as I start limiting contact with family and increasing contact with supporters I start recovering. I hope that gives you some hope and I think it’s great your planning some stuff ahead.

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