Have a look at my latest video, so we can carry on from where we left off: https://choosetransformation.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/080419.mp4
This is me on our Honeymoon in Barbados, back in December 2018.
It was a beautiful 30 degrees. The sand is soft and white like icing sugar and the waves lap over you like a warm bath. The pace of life in the Caribbean is a luxurious snail’s pace. And the views are breath taking… simply Instagram-able.
What people didn’t see though, was the weeks, if not months, of apprehension anxiety leading up to it.
It was down to me to pick our Honeymoon destination in the first place. I had arranged a trip to Croatia the previous year for Andrew’s birthday, but had backed out because of my Anxiety at the last minute and lost us a lot of money (not to mention my pride). I felt I owed it to him and myself to try again. I wanted him to know just how much he meant to me and that it was important for me to start as we meant to go on.
I chose Barbados because in my view, it was the shortest plane trip to paradise. This was the furthest I’ve ever been on a plane, taking us 8.5 hours in total. From the moment we booked it, the anxiety started. I had terrible anxiety that I would lose control of myself- I would become hysterical and vomit everywhere, the plane would have to land and I would ruin everyone’s holiday! Catastrophizing at it’s irrational best. You see, I have no fear of flying. My fear is losing control and ultimately; failure. The conflicting aspect of this, however, was that I felt I would be failing Andrew and my new marriage if we didn’t go. That added pressure.
The beauty of working with Therapists and Psychologists, is that I was able to speak to a couple about my anxieties before I went and was given some great advice. I was told, “What’s the worst that can really happen? So you’re sick? People are sick all the time. There are toilets and sick bags. Your life wont end because you’re sick. You have a panic attack? You will not die from a panic attack. The plane can still fly with you having a panic attack on it. And when you realise that, your panic will probably cease.”
One of the most valuable conversations I took away from that, was exploring why I care so much about what people think of me. As a result, “Fuck it” became my new mantra.
People didn’t see my relief when a locum GP gave me some Diazepam for the journey. People didn’t see me crying on the plane when I first got on (both there and back). Well, apart from the people on said plane. I remember saying very sternly to Andrew, “Whatever happens, I will not be getting off this plane until we are in Barbados.” That’s where my second mantra came from; “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
My anxiety eased considerably with this mantra, because I had convinced myself that whether I was sick, panicking or hysterical, I wouldn’t be getting off until we got there. Almost like telling a child, “We won’t be stopping until we get there, so you can cry as much as you want.” Ultimately, being in a state wouldn’t change the outcome, so what would be the point?
Our flights there and back were fairly turbulent but generally uneventful. I tried everything to keep calm on those flights; played games, listened to the in-flight mindfulness tapes and desperately tried to sleep. I didn’t take the Diazepam in the end, because I decided that it was too risky, being Benzo- naïve. If I’d had more time, I might have tried one in advance, just to check I would be OK.
Once in Barbados, new struggles arose. The photos don’t show me hyperventilating for the first 3 or 4 days, because I couldn’t breathe in the humidity and it made me panic. It was constantly like an indoor swimming pool. I was struggling with something as seemingly basic as breathing.
How about the moment that I was lying in bed feeling hideously sick and dizzy, because it turns out, Kalms and rum punch are not that compatible. It’s funny how any nursing logic goes out the window when you’re desperate for some relief.
I am so pleased that we went for 10 days, because the first 3 were taken up by just trying to adjust. After that, things got much easier. I started to relax, as I got more familiar with my surroundings and began to appreciate just how beautiful and therapeutic the Bajan culture really is. We could finally enjoy the bliss of where we were, as newlyweds, before it was time to go home.
At face value, these photos show my new husband and I, in a truly beautiful country, celebrating our marriage. But they also represent a much longer, more challenging process. To me, they represent bravery and courage. They remind me to make difficult decisions, because the outcomes are so worth it. They remind me that choosing to stay where I am comfortable, wont lead me to new and exciting things. They remind me to keep trying, for myself and my husband, because such adventures will only strengthen our relationship and us as people. They remind me to look ahead and say, “Fuck it. I’ll feel the fear and do it anyway.”
You might wish you were in the picture, but that is just the outcome. The real test was the process. To you, it’s a picture, to me, it’s a triumph.