It did take a lot of mental strength to take on this new challenge but I got there and was absolutely thrilled about it.
The hotel itself isn't actually that far away from where I live but its a distance I have NEVER driven and its an area im really not familiar with. But I was so determined that I was going.
Of course I had all the usual off-putting thoughts. What if I panic in the car on the way? What if I get to the hotel and cannot calm down and relax? I even made sure I knew where the closest hospital was.... just in case. But in the end OF COURSE I didn't need to worry. I drove to the hotel with no problem whatsoever. And when I arrived in my hotel to be greeted with a screen which read 'WELCOME LYNN' I was overjoyed. I sent friends and family texts to celebrate my achievement and headed out to check out the new digs :)
The hotel itself is a huge building as you can see from the pics, and I think in the past this would definitely been something I found intimidating but for some reason I was ok. Maybe all the work ive been doing building up to this has desensitised me a little. Also the pictures don't begin to show the beauty of the surroundings. I felt like I was miles and miles from home. Some little remote part of Scotland but in truth I really wasn't that far away. After years of living in a my town surrounded by houses and shops etc, the sheer size of the hills in front took my breath away. It was almost TOO much to take in. Too must stimulation to the eyes... if that makes any sense at all. I guess it goes back to the fact agoraphobia is a fear of wide open spaces (apparently). I DO feel less exposed and more protected when I have buildings or trees around me. But here it was just hills and golf courses and water for miles. I couldn't help but appreciate the beauty and feel grateful that I was getting to look at it with my own eyes. Not via a book or tv screen. I walked the length of the golf course (in heels may I add, ouch). We ate a beautiful meal. Went for a swim and sauna. Listened to the entertainment in the lounge and then at night decided we would sit out side drinking our Prosecco while the sun went down... all the while taking in the views.
There were a few times my inner voice asked 'Am I alright' and I really was. I was so busy trying to squeeze as much into my day that I didn't really have time to think about it. However, when I went to bed and lay there in the dark my thoughts were harder to escape and so my anxiety did appear. It wasn't too bad, certainly not unbearable but I refused to give into it. I was worrying about the drive home, getting back to Nathan. What if I couldn't relax in the morning, waking up in a strange place. What if I panicked and couldn't get out of there quick enough, ruining the whole experience. But I just told myself to stop being stupid. The thoughts were natural as this was a completely alien situation and my thoughts are pretty much always wrong. SO when I woke up in the morning I did feel a little jittery. In the past I would have definitely freaked by this point and would no doubt have been in the car heading home with my heart in my mouth but I told myself that even if I did panic I WAS NOT MOVING! And so I went to breakfast and then we went to the gym. From there I decided to just push myself even further. The anxiety disappeared, we checked out and drove to another town I haven't been to and we went to.... a shopping mall! I went shopping. Not online shopping for once, but actually in a huge busy shopping mall. Where I took my time browsing, bought myself an outfit as a treat, waited in queues all without a problem. I think that for me this was an even bigger achievement than the hotel. Probably because its somewhere that my friends and family go to regularly and I have never managed. I then drove to visit my brother where he works... ive never done this... and then went home.
I was exhausted for 2 days after this ha. Mentally drained no doubt but worth every single minute. My confidence again has been boosted. For once I gave myself a pat on the back and recognised my achievement. Yey Me!
Following the spa ive been at several school meetings, each one taking over an hour, and sat through them at ease. In the past I used to sing in my head or play eye spy with myself ANYTHING to make it pass quicker so I could GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE, who am I kidding, in the past I wouldn't have even GONE to the meetings! But now I sit through them comfortably. Yes there are times I feel the sweaty palms start, or my breathing getting slightly quicker, but that's ok... old habits die hard. Getting over all this takes time and , touch wood, I have plenty of that. \
The comments on the last post made me so happy and totally overwhelmed . I cant believe there are so many people who have read my blog and been inspired. Its given people a bit of hope and courage and that is the best feeling in the world! I am always particularly touched when people find my pregnancy posts helpful. The fact they seem to have given people strength blows me away and I am really grateful to everyone who has read and taken the time to comment.
For the woman who asked for tips on coping outside. Well I like my sunglasses at times. They feel like a mask I guess... im slightly hidden and protected. If you are feeling overwhelmed try not to focus on all of your surroundings but instead just take nice breaths and focus on something small like your footsteps. Count them for a while. Karen carries a bottle of water and having that to sip was something she found helpful. I said a long time ago that I keep a diary and I write down my achievements each day. They literally began with - today I put make up on. This increased to - today I walked to my garden. And I counted each little thing as a success. With your successes you grow in confidence. You start to believe in yourself again. but for me my diary gave me some clarity and it helped me focus on what I was trying to achieve. Even now if my head feels muddled ill go back to my diary and get something's on paper. I also made sure I did something every day. No slacking. No procrastinating. I did that for years and it got me nowhere, literally! Some people find listening to music when they are out is helpful. But practice really is the key. It may seem hard and overwhelming at first but you just need to keep pushing because the sensations you experience really DO decrease as your mind starts to get familiar with everything again. Our thoughts are nonsense. Ive proved this to myself over and over again.
And so the F*** It list has grown and I have more I want to do. Snowboarding, Adventure Golf (Doesn't that sound like a contradiction of terms), various parks, horse riding, a visit to a farm, cinema, we are visiting a loch near by, many many more restaurants I want to sample, a hotel stay with Nathan ... the list goes on. Nathans nursery finishes for the summer holidays on Friday so we have lots on the agenda. I will be in touch :) x
I wanted to add a little about Headspace. Its a meditation/mindfulness app that I think has really helped me. It helps me to relax, clear my head, and I've definitely found myself much more comfortable in situations I would have found more difficult in the past. I don't know if its down to me, the app or a bit of both, but I try to do a few sessions each week.... it only takes a few minutes. I recommend giving it a go :)