I have shared openly about struggles with anxiety and depression. And I recognize there is always room for improvement in my coping skills.
If I remember to breathe, it helps. If I think ahead, I can prepare for problematic situations. Nevertheless, sometimes things just happen.
My husband and I just returned from a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Beautiful does not adequately describe either of these places. The vastness and variety in these almost untouched lands are overwhelming.
And yet, even during our wonderful trip, anxiety crept in. We had been exploring Yellowstone all morning and decided to drive to the Tetons. This was the first visit to this area for both of us, an adventure.
This particular drive brought a little more adventure than I preferred. We were driving along, listening to history and information about the area, when the road suddenly took us right along the edge of Clark Canyon.
A quick glance out the window, and I began to panic. My body had an instant reaction. My heart sank, began beating rapidly. My stomach felt like it had been turned upside down. I wanted to crawl in a hole. Yes, I endured. But it was not fun.
Those anxious feelings crept back in later that night. I had trouble sleeping. Would tomorrow’s drive be similar? Slow, deep breaths finally helped, and I was able to sleep.
The next morning, we were on the road again. We had a basic plan of places we wanted to see. Our first stop was great! Some incredible, colorful geothermal displays. But soon, I was feeling afraid of the unknowns. Would we have to drive on any roads like the one yesterday? Just the thought and anxiety began to rise.
Finally, I said it aloud. “The thought of a drive like yesterday is making me feel panicky. I’m not sure I can do it.” After saying those words to my husband and allowing a few tears to fall, I felt much better.
He knows me well. His response was reassuring. Soon we were laughing and ready to face the rest of the day. He even asked a park ranger for advice on the least scary route for our last stop. (Which apparently was not an unusual request.) 😉
Now, I would be lying if I said there were no other moments of panic. However, they did not take over my thoughts. My physical reactions were not as severe, and I was able to enjoy the beauty of the places we visited.
No, I did not want to admit how I felt. But, oh, I am so glad I did. It was an important reminder there is power in admission.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Artist Point Overlook ❤