An Unexpected Week: A Personal Update

People who struggle emotionally have this knack of thinking too much.  I’m all for thinking but through the years I’ve had a terrible time doing so productively.  Typically my thoughts haven’t been the most positive and I’m sure I mastered the “what if”  scenario as well as Kobe Bryant plays basketball.  I’m sure you can relate.

Boy am I tempted to over think the week I just had.  I’m trying hard not too.  Otherwise I’ll think myself right out of the joy it brought me.

I rely on medication to do any driving that takes me more than a mile from home.  I’ve accepted that and no longer beat myself up because of it.  It happens to be where my life is and although I’m sad because of my limitations that sadness doesn’t consume me as it once did. Maybe one day that aspect of my life will change. That would be nice!

On Tuesday morning I had a few things lined up to do.  I needed to go to Sprouts to buy some sweetened coconut and then swing by Ralph’s for some yogurt. I set up my drive to first hit Sprouts and then the Ralph’s which is on my way home to conserve gas. As I was down the road a bit it dawned on me that the Sprouts I was headed to (I have two to choose from) doesn’t carry the coconut.

So I had to head to the other Sprouts and do a little extra driving.  Then things got very interesting for me. As I was backtracking the thought hit me to jump on the freeway to save some time.  The thing is I pretty much stopped driving freeways but for some reason I knew it would be okay.  Sure enough I jumped onto the 605 and went to the other Sprouts. It went perfectly and I was so thankful.

Then I changed my plans. I hopped back onto the 605 and went to a restaurant (Lucille’s) to check out the menu as our son was graduating from college that Friday.  Again things went perfectly. I then decided to jump back onto the 605 and head west on the 91 freeway.

Our son Stephen and his wife Christina.

I’ve been driving with a flat spare tire in my trunk so I decided to go buy a tire. This meant getting off the freeway and head north to the tire place. I got there perfectly and on top of that it was about a half hour of waiting while they got to my car and did the work.

For those not familiar with panic attacks or agoraphobia a huge fear is being stuck somewhere without an immediate way of getting out of there!  So as I sat there with my car minus a tire as they placed the new one on the car I had to just sit. I actually enjoyed myself as I spent time talking with the woman next to me.

I left the tire place and thought why not give it a shot and see if I could make it to the site of our sons graduation.  I wasn’t able to make it there but I did make it to the 710 freeway. Instead of being upset I was happy that I had made it that far and figured I could try again before Friday.

While driving the freeway towards home I realized I needed to do one more thing. I was looking forward last week to visiting a new church but had a tough time and was unable to make it. I got lost on top of that!  Yet even then the worst didn’t happen although I was very on edge. So I took that as a plus as I very well could have had a severe panic episode.

Back to my saga…  I decided to go to that church and did so with no problem whatsoever!  I even spent a half hour there speaking with a few folks in the church office trying to get a feel for the church. I can’t explain the happiness I felt as I drove home taking in the sights instead of white knuckling it.

I have no clue why I had such an out of the ordinary day.  I came away feeling so confident and full of hope.

Another thing that’s new. The Walmart is maybe three-quarters of a mile from home and I’m walking there at least three days a week and a few times have headed down the road to another store which adds a lot to my walk. This is something new for me as I have always had issues walking away from home.

On Thursday I tried to make it to the site of our son’s graduation but was only able to get as far as I had the other time I tried. I wasn’t bummed out about the drive as I know how much I had gained. I was sad I wouldn’t be able to attend the graduation. The good thing was I was able to watch it live via the internet.

A big concern for the family was eating out after the graduation. They wanted to eat at a place I could drive to so we could be together. It is a difficult situation for my wife Belinda whenever we eat out. She knows me perfectly and there have been times I had to leave the restaurant mid meal as my anxiety was so bad. It’s easy when you dwell on what you’ve lost/suffered to forget the impact it has on those who love you the most.

Before I went onto social security I was in sales and I was good at it!! :)  Was salesperson of the decade for the 90’s nationally!  Had to insert that!  The point of this is since I left the workforce I dress as casually as anyone you know.  T-shirts and levis with a pair of sneakers.

I decided the day of the graduation in light of my recent 30 pound weight loss I’d wear slacks, a shirt and tie to surprise everyone. I had a perfect experience at dinner even though none of us are used to being out till 11:30!  We were all sleepy and skipped dessert.

To top it off I went to church today and absolutely loved everything. I was comfortable during service and was able to sing. Quite often I get a bit anxious and get tongue tied and can’t sing. Not today though!  After service I heard someone call my name. It was the man I spoke with earlier in the week. He remembered me and we talked for a bit. As I was leaving I heard my name called out again. I turned around and he called me Erunner.

His name is David and I know him through the Phoenix Preacher. In fact he had brought up his church recently on the PP and it stuck in my head. That led to us visiting as I was hopeful I could do the drive. I had discounted the church as I saw no way I could make it there. So David and I talked for a little bit. It capped a great week.

I don’t know what the future holds and I don’t understand why I had the week I did. I know so many who read here have issues that are much worse than mine and hope isn’t at a premium. My prayer is you could experience even more than what I have this week. All I can say is God was gracious towards me as He has been all along my journey with mental illness. May He touch you in a special way in whatever form that might be. God bless you.  Allan

 

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