#Fearless Family Writer
Hi there! My name is Erin, I am a 32 year old military spouse who has been living with anxiety, panic disorder and emetophobia for as long as I can remember. This will be my recovery story. Here is a little background.
April 2016 was a turning point for me. Now I have always had anxiety and panic attacks, but they never ruled my life. Until now. My fathers birthday is April 5th and this year he turned 70. Being a military wife I’m not able to see my parents as much as I would like due to being stationed so far away. My husband and I decided to make a surprise trip for his birthday. It is a 9 hour drive from where we live to their house. No big deal right? Wrong. I’ve never really liked traveling but I managed to always get through it. Even driving 6 days from North Dakota to California. Well this time was different.
We planned to leave Saturday April 2nd. I wasn’t feeling that great and am currently not on any anxiety medication. Well, we packed up the car and headed out. We made a stop at Jack in the Box for breakfast, while waiting in the drive-thru sheer panic came over me. I made it a few miles down the road before begging my husband to pull in to a Home Depot parking low where I cried for about half an hour. I felt terrified for some reason. After the 30 minutes passed we went home where I continued to go from crying to infuriated. I felt like a failure. Why couldn’t I just stay in the car and go to my parents? Maybe today was just an off day. Yeah that’s all it was. A good nights sleep and everything will be fine tomorrow.
Sunday April 3rd. Woke up refreshed and ready to go! Got in the car, went through Jack in the Box and hit the road. 10 minutes later it happens again. Nausea, shaking, sweating, and I can’t sit still. My husband pulls the car over at a rest stop where I break down again. We sit like this for 2 hours. Again I beg my husband to go home and he turns the car around. At this point I’m getting scared. My anxiety has never been this bad before. I’ve always managed to deal with it. When we get home I spend the rest of the day crying, yelling, and feeling like a failure. I decide to make a doctors appointment for the very next day to get a medication to help with the trip. I was hoping for Klonopin, and the idea was to take a Klonopin and just sleep through the trip.
Monday April 4th. I go to my doctors appointment and get the prescription for Klonopin. We decide, since I’ve never taken it before, to go home so I can take it and see how I react to it. I take it and within 20 minutes I feel out of control. I have all the anxiety but feel like my body can’t do anything to help itself. I’m crawling out of my skin. We decide to call the doctor to get a different medication, but also decide travel would not be a good idea today due to my reaction. That night I had the worst nightmares of my entire 32 year life. I would wake up, calm down, fall asleep and just go right in to another nightmare. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep.
Tuesday, April 5th, my dads birthday. We were supposed to be in Arizona Saturday evening, but that didn’t happen. Today is a new day. Again we get in the car, stop for breakfast and hit the road. Everything is going great! We stop at the rest stop for a few minutes to use the rest room and head back out on the freeway. About 5 minutes later I begin to panic again. My husband pulls over at a view point and I cry for 10 minutes. I look at the map and see we are about 15 minutes from Santa Barbara. I think I can make it that far and we can stop for lunch.
We get to Santa Barbara and it is overwhelming at this point. After arguing with my husband about nothing we go to Chick-fil-A for lunch. At this point I’m so nauseous I can barely eat. We finish our food and get in the car where I begin to pretty much have a nervous breakdown. My poor husband is doesn’t know what to do. He keeps calling my parents because I refuse to talk to them. This goes on for about 2-3 hours of me sitting in the car crying, yelling, shaking. Finally my mom talks me down and I am able to start the drive home. At this point we had been gone for 6 hours. On the way home my stomach is hurting so bad that we have to pull over about every 15 minutes. By the time we finally get back home I am exhausted.
It was during the long painful drive home I decided that I can no longer do this on my own, I need help. I contacted my primary care physician and made an appointment with her. I will be making an appointment with a psychiatrist as well to possibly begin CBT and medication. I want my life back, I will not let anxiety rule my life anymore. I will be writing regularly about my progress. I am determined to not let anxiety win.
Thank you to Erin for sharing her story!
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Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.