A Trip to Nashville
Tuesday night we headed to Nashville. Greg had a conference to go to and there was an extra spot for me to stay in his room. Another perk to being married. I took a day off work and was excited to get out of town for a couple of days.
At the same time I was a little nervous. Being in unfamiliar places, especially crowded places, is a major trigger for anxiety. And I would be on my own. Part of this was exciting. When I’m in non-anxiety mode, it’s fun to explore on my own. When I’m in anxiety mode, well not so much.
Guys, let me be completely honest for a second. At times, I get sick and tired of talking about the hard stuff. I get tired of struggling. And I get tired of writing about depression and anxiety. I’m paranoid that I’m going to become the person that no one ever wants to talk to, because I’m always negative. I just get tired of it all. I get tired of this being part of my story. I want to apologize for that, but I can’t. I shouldn’t be sorry for something that I have no control of.
So I made a plan. In my little Google Keep app, I planned out a few activities for me for two days. I was intentional. I packed some indoor activities in case I wasn’t able to venture out the first day. I brought some calligraphy supplies and Christmas cards to sign for work. And I did some research on where I wanted to go. I only picked 4 places. An ice cream place for me and Greg, a restaurant, a coffee house, and the Country Music Hall of Fame because it was right next to where Greg was going to be. I didn’t have to visit them all, but it always helps for me to have a plan and some options.
Well yesterday was awful. And all of my plans went out the window. The morning felt okay. I got up with Greg and saw him off. I showered and was excited to find a place to eat breakfast. And then something happened. I felt it settling slowly at first and then all of a sudden. I was stuck. Trapped. It was pouring rain outside and I heard a clap of thunder. I knew it was silly. I was an adult. I could simply stand up, walk out the door, get in the car, and go wherever I wanted.
But I got caught up in the details. Driving in the city makes me anxious. I didn’t have a GPS with me. We used Greg’s phone to get here. I couldn’t navigate on my own. I didn’t know where to go. Parking is tricky. Parking garages freak me out. It was pouring outside. I didn’t have an umbrella or a raincoat. The thoughts kept piling up. And I knew what was happening. The longer I stayed in that room the less likely it would be for me to leave. And eventually the anxiety would consume all of me.
And it did. And so I sat there. And I was miserable. Trapped. I watched TV for hours. I felt numb. I wasn’t panicked, or desperate and for that I was majorly thankful. But still I was disappointed in myself. I was frustrated. What was I going to tell people when they asked how my trip was? Why was I so stupid to even tell people I was going somewhere? I should have just been quiet. I should keep my life to myself. It’s safer that way. Not so embarrassing and vulnerable.
The guys got back from the conference after 8:00pm sometime. My head was pounding from not eating all day and I felt shaky. As soon as I saw my husband standing the door way, I could tell from him face that he knew how bad it was. He had brought me some food and laid it down on the bed. “Was it really bad?” My original plan was to lie, because I get tired of feeling like a burden to him. This conference was for him. I want to support him. Not make his trip miserable. I don’t always want it to be about my struggles. I started to say no, but then hid my face under the covers to hide the tears.
I apologized for coming. I should have stayed home. Greg reassured me. I wasn’t messing everything up. He was sorry I had a bad day. He told me about bits of the conference. He got to talk to a few guys and that’s what he’s so awesome at. Talking to just anyone. And always encouraging and making people feel loved and listened to.
I ate his leftovers and felt myself recovering. We went to bed and started a new day this morning.
When I woke up I felt the sun shining in through the cracks in the blinds covering the window. And I heard the whisper. “His mercies are new every morning. It’s a new day. It’s no longer yesterday. Today can be different. Today is different.”
And I was a little surprised by my response. I resisted. I wasn’t quite ready to start over. I have this weird tendency to want to continue in my suffering when I’m in the middle of it. I feel like I don’t deserve to feel better. That it can’t really be that easy. Man, grace is so hard to receive. It doesn’t feel right. I want to earn things. I want it to be even and fair. Grace is not about that.
I prayed that my attitude would change. I’m trying to learn to enact my will. To push through things that don’t feel right. They feel big and impassible at first, but sometimes the extra grace makes it easy to break through. It just takes a tiny effort. A tiny desire for things to change. A little bit of faith. A tiny glimmer of hope.
When we got up things felt a little better. Greg decided to skip the first morning session and there was a three hour break after that. So he didn’t have to be back until 1:15. So we slept in a little bit. We got up and got ready. We got some gas and decided to have breakfast. I decided on a cool looking coffee shop called the Frothy Monkey. (I mean how can you not visit a place called the Frothy Monkey? If you are ever in Nashville check them out www.FrothyMonkey.com.)
Thankfully Greg decided to drive. Normally I’m the driver and he’s the navigator. It’s a good combination. We got in the crazy downtown traffic and I was so overwhelmed. Even following the GPS felt like a challenge for me. We found a parking garage and it was so tight and packed that I was quickly feeling anxious again. It felt hard to breathe. And Greg was navigating it all like a pro. Geez.
We found a spot and started walking. I was like barely making it at this point. I held Greg’s hand and followed him down the sidewalk. I felt like a little kid. There was so much to take in and I’d easily get lost on my own. The streets felt stressful. Like there were all of these like alleys that popped out of nowhere and I felt like I was going to get hit by a car. And I was so overstimulated. And didn’t want to go on. I was ready to go back home. It was just too much. I was right to stay in bed all day. Then we went down this little Arcade area or something. It was outdoors but had a roof covering. It felt a little more calming. There weren’t any cars around and there were several restaurants in there. The smell of food always brings me comfort. And when we got to the other side, I saw our destination right across the street.
As soon as I walked in it just felt like too much. I was in an unfamiliar place and I wanted to leave. Greg asked me what I wanted. “Death,” was my quick reply. (My dramatic side increases when I’m anxious. Who am I kidding? I guess I’m always dramatic, to be honest.)
I wanted to leave. I told Greg I couldn’t do it. Greg held my hand and grabbed a menu. “I think we can do it. It’s a laid back place. There’s lots of tables.” We saw an employee joke with a customer. “See, she looks nice.” Nice people always get me. We grabbed a table and looked at the menu. At first I couldn’t even hope to order food. I wasn’t even hungry any more. Only nauseous. Greg asked me what I wanted. Again I stuck with my first answer. But I made an effort. Pancakes. And they were listed as Bob. Whole wheat pancakes with syrup and bacon. Greg went up to place our order.
I sat and stared at my feet. I just wanted to leave. But again I endured and slowly it slipped away. Greg came back. I decided I wanted coffee too. I got a Turtle Latte. It was super tasty. I looked around and realized I loved the atmosphere. It was laid back. There was good music at the right volume. There was art on the brick walls. All of the staff was so nice.
I was glad we came. I’m glad that I have my husband’s hand to hold. He never forces, but always supports. I don't have to do this alone. There are times I’m on my own yes, and I can’t depend on him to rescue me. He’s certainly not capable of that. He’s human. But he loves me well. And for that I’m so thankful.
We walked the streets and I was able to take in more of the sights. The architecture was just beautiful. We certainly don’t have building like this in Southern Illinois. There were cute shops and fancy banks. So much going on.
We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Greg got to see an old recording mixing board and got super excited.
I grew up on country so it’s fun to see a bit of that history. Looking at the hand written pieces of song writing was my favorite. I loved seeing the messy handwriting. My poor handwriting has only gotten worse. Now that I’ve been typing so much, I’ve actually developed some speed. So now my poor hands can no longer keep up with the pace of my brain and I quickly get frustrated.
We got tacos and nachos at a cute little place that I really enjoyed. Now that I work at a pie shop I get really interested in how things work in restaurants. It’s just so fun to see pieces of how they work behind the scenes.
And now I’m sitting in the building while Greg is in his sessions. I found a spot on the floor next to a Christmas tree.
I don’t know why, but I’m in love with the carpet. There’s a wall of windows in front of me. The view is pretty great. There’s this great art piece above me. It’s just perfect for some reason. And I feel at peace.
And the sweetest old man just stopped to talk to me. He mentioned my HP Stream laptop and that he had one too. He really liked his. We talked about the limited memory and the update to Windows 1o. I told him to have a good day and he went on his way.
So as usual things aren’t all bad. I don’t understand why they go the way they do. I want to get frustrated with myself for wasting time in my life. For spending days and days in bed. I go through phases of feeling guilty and disappointed. I shouldn’t be this way. It’s not right. It’s not the way things are supposed to be. But I guess that’s not really for me to decide.
I feel like I write about the same things. At times it feels like every post is the same old story. But it’s my life. It what I feel the desire to write about right now. And unfortunately I can no longer fake it. I could chose to be quiet and not share. To keep to myself. And a lot of time that’s what I would prefer. But I feel a deeper desire to share. And I don’t really understand it. But I guess sometimes we just have to go with our gut feeling. And so I am. And I’m choosing to have faith that there is some purpose in me doing this.
Well dear readers, thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for taking the time to read my randomness and evidence of craziness.