I have conditioned myself to come up with an excuse for anything, to avoid a situation, to stay inside my bubble of comfort. I need to condition myself to come up with reasons why instead.
I mentioned in an earlier post (Entry Twenty Eight) that I have a lot of fears. One of my fears is the fear of being alone. I am afraid that something bad will happen when I am by myself. I specifically mentioned my fear of being alone with my kids. I think this stems from me wanting to protect my kids and keep them safe as well as to shield Olivia from anything scary happening to her brother. Probably somewhere in my subconscious the fear also includes me still not having the confidence that I can handle an emergency situation by myself (even though I have).
Anyways, I always feel more comfortable when my husband is home. I always feel more comfortable venturing out of my comfort zone when he is there. When we brought Oscar home after our second inpatient stay with seizures my parents had been at our house with Olivia and I asked them to stay with us a few days (which they did). The more people I had around me, the better.
I really enjoy hiking. I used to hike alone with Olivia often when she was young. Oscar’s infancy has been different. Although he has been “good” for a long time now, I still have fears. To some these fears may seem irrational, but for me they are very real. I don’t think we hiked with Oscar once last summer. My fear stopped me.
A few weeks ago we were invited to hike with some friends, my husband had to work so it would have been me with the two kids. Olivia especially would have loved it. She would have been fine walking and Oscar would be happy in the carrier… the only problem was that I was afraid. Truthfully, I was scared. I thought of how far the trailhead is from the hospital (maybe 15-20mins) and then I thought of if an incident (seizure) happened at the far end of the trail (maybe 45mins) what I would do?
My social worker encouraged me that coming up with an “exit strategy” may help to ease my anxiety. So I started thinking of one. If Oscar had a seizure on the trail that required emergent medical attention I would be about an hour from the hospital. But if he needed an ambulance (it would meet me part way), so I would just have to run back to the trailhead with Oscar in the carrier and I am sure my friends would be okay with Olivia….
Initially I committed to going, and then I bailed. My excuse was the light rain that morning. But truthfully, rain doesn’t bother me, I was afraid and I used the rain as an excuse. I saw pictures that my friends shared of the hike, everyone looked like they had a great time. Then I proceeded to beat myself up over it because I felt like my fear or anxiety or whatever you want to call it robbed my kids, specifically Olivia of a great time. I hated that.
This is the reason why I have allowed myself to focus on “me”. It truly is best for my family. When I think of where I was 18months ago, literally afraid to go to the grocery store with Oscar and where I am today, I know that there has been a lot of growth. I am striving to be as close to the person I was pre-Oscar as I can get. In order to achieve that I need to continually challenge myself and push the boundaries of my comfort zone. I am hard on myself when I fail to do so.
You have to be aware of a problem before you can fix it. This hike really highlighted how I have developed this initial response of avoidance. I am so quick to come up with an excuse to avoid instead of coming up with a reason why. I am going to work on looking for a reason why.
The picture below is from a hike that I chose to do to prove to myself that things would be okay. I just didn’t have the courage to do it alone.