E … is for Experience and Excitement and Exhaustion and Endurance
I never thought I would be able to write this post. Hence the BIG MASSIVE gap in my AlphaBlogging so far.
Maybe you didn’t know I was off to India in three weeks and a few days?
Maybe you don’t know me or anything about me to know that this trek is something that terrifies me to the core?
Maybe for you a little trek through the Himalayas, and a few days working in the glorious* heat of Delhi, would be your idea of fun?
*I don’t do 40º heat.
It’s just not for me. I have never been away from my children for more than five days (I’ve not left them for that long even, they have left ME for that long), this is a 10 day trip.
I don’t enjoy flying without them, though I have done it a couple of times.
I haven’t really travelled outside Europe, unless you count America – which I don’t, because it’s not culturally that different.
I have done a little semi-rough camping, but I’ve always had access to running water and a loo, this will be a newer experience for me.
I’ve never been away for 10 days with a group of strangers.
This is all alien to me.
Such is the extent of my anxiety in relation to this trip that I have buried my head in the sand with regard to getting myself ready. I have been fundraising, and training but I have evaded the essential step of purchasing the necessary gear.
Now that we are three weeks from departure, I know that I must buy my kit. So I tried to go and do that after work yesterday.
Only I failed.
I don’t expect anyone who has never suffered with their mental health to understand this. I realise that this level of anxiety is completely unfathomable to most. I also see that I put such a brilliant mask on my own illness that many people who know me relatively well would find it hard to get their head around me not simply ‘getting on with it’. Because that is what I do isn’t it? I simply GET ON WITH IT.
Not yesterday I didn’t. I drove all the way over to the other side of the city, negotiated the industrial estate, parked the car, and walked into the giant store. Part of my anxiety was definitely exacerbated by my existing fear of overwhelmingly large shops. I remember first being aware of this in ToysRUs when I had KidA in utero. I guess that’s when a lot of my anxieties started to become out of control.
Anyway, there I am, in a BIG MASSIVE outdoor shop, with a list of items that I need to buy. I stand near the entrance, compose myself, and walk to the shoes at the back of the shop. It’s no good. I can’t concentrate. I cannot hold a thought in my mind. I need to get out. I go back to the front of the BIG MASSIVE shop (did I mention that it’s a big massive shop?). I stand once more. Telling myself that I have done so well to get there, that I don’t need to bail out now. I got there. I got all the way there, on my own, with my list, without incident. I breathe for a bit. I text a friend. Nope. It’s no good. I go and look at three items that I really do need to purchase. Somehow though, I can’t do it.
I would struggle to articulate the degree of ‘lost’ and ‘helpless’ and ‘hopeless’ that I felt as I stood in the shop. Then the overwhelming feeling of ‘failure’, the intensity of the ‘anger’ I felt with myself for not achieving what I needed to achieve, the ‘frustration’. I could have cried. I didn’t. I just took my sorry arse home and cooked some dinner, collected my kids, and hid in bed for the rest of the evening.
I don’t even understand my mental state at times, so I have absolutely no reason to think that you, reader, will be able to make any sense of this.
The main reason I wrote this was because I have found that sharing my
(E is for) experience of being a total nutter has often paved the way for others to be more open about their own battles.
Obviously my other motive is to demonstrate how far outside my ‘comfort zone’ I am pushing myself with this trek. I am hoping that someone will read this and share it, and that maybe, just maybe, someone will feel compelled to donate: http://www.bmycharity.com/TrekkingDee