Joe decided rather last-minute, as is often the case with Joe, that he was going to run a half-marathon this weekend. Yeah, you know, just 13.1 miles. No biggy. Even better? He decided to run it in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Which is an undisclosed number of HOURS in the car from our undisclosed location. Drive out Saturday, back Sunday.
As we neared our hotel, I started remembering the last time we were there. It was in September of 2008 and we had rented a beach house for the week, just to relax and get away. I spent the entire week sick due to crippling anxiety ("There's the restaurant we didn't go to because I was too spazzed to eat!"). I was sick the entire drive there. I spent the entire week trying to keep control enough to even leave the house ("There's where I spent a week thinking I was losing my mind and going to die!").
It was that trip that was the breaking point. It was that "vacation" that resulted in admitting I needed help, that something was wrong and I couldn't fix it on my own. Frantic calls to my doctor back home got me a prescription for a week's supply of xanax ("There's the Walgreens where I got my first anxiety meds!"). Agreeing to see a therapist when I we got home ("There's the lighthouse that I stood outside when I made the appointment that put me on daily anxiety meds!").
This trip was much different. I didn't spend the entire night before freaking out. I didn't spend the entire drive waiting for the next opportunity to pull over so I could be sick. We went out, we ate, and I was chill.
I've come a long way since then. I'm not sure what I'd do without Joe's support - I know I'm not easy to live with but he keeps helping me through issues that are issues only to me, despite his black-and-white logical mind not really grasping what's wrong. He's proof that you can be understanding without actually understanding.
Last week I mentioned the bazillion and one things that are now filling my days. I'm the happiest now that I've been in years. My life is busy with projects that I love and work that I enjoy. I may not be making even a fraction of the income I did before leaving my last traditional job but I'm making progress.
And I still find myself slipping into those dark holes of depression and anxiety from time to time. But there's progress there as well - I don't seem to fall in as deep or for as long. Maybe some day I'll be able to cope without relying on medication.
But for now, I cling to the progress I've made in the time since I last visited those beaches. I don't know when I'll be back there again but I feel confident in predicting there will be even more progress by the next time I visit.
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