Let's take a walk through the pre-trauma era right around when I received my drivers license. I loved to drive, I would just pick up and go. Often I would find myself driving back to London to visit my friends. Driving was my escape, it was my outlet to just go and do. I never had any problems driving, I even took some lengthy 20hr drives down south. All of that changed when my trauma occurred. It took me a while to even just get behind the wheel of my car and drive down the road. I struggled to drive, often leaving it to Stephen. For 6 years post trauma I did not go on a highway. I did not go near a highway. But, when we moved I was forced to have to take the highway to get back to the big city. It was a good way to ease myself into driving on a highway again. Once I accomplished doing that a few times, I pushed myself to drive to the beach, one on the highway, one not on the highway. It was more about the 45 minute drive than the type of road.
Then at the beginning of this year I pushed myself further, driving an hour and crossing the border. I've always had a bit of anxiety about crossing the border but the first time back, it was hard. But I did it. I did it again one month later with Bee in tow.
Fast forward to this week, I really wanted to go back but felt the need to push myself further and make the 3 1/2 hour drive solo with Bee to my parents house. It was an impromptu decision, one I made Tuesday and by Wednesday we were on the road. I knew it had to happen like this, I could not plan a date and sit and wait for it to come. I just needed to go and do it. I went on adrenaline. It was a nice sunny day and I knew Bee and I had made it as far as an hour before so I knew I could do that much. We were okay driving in Canada, the border crossing made me anxious but it went smoothly so it eased. The next 2 1/2 hours were a mix of feeling good knowing I could do it and panic. Thankfully I was able to manage the panic enough not to have to stop. But the sweats and the dizzy feeling along with nausea and an uncomfortable feeling were there, They held on for the 2 1/2 hours. We did eventually stop half way there and it hit me like a ton of bricks, the panic took me over and I barely made it to the restroom. I was so dizzy with adrenaline and panic. I knew we just needed to get back on the road and once we did it settled down again.
I'm also thankful Bee rocked the ride pretty well. We made it in one piece and a new, unexpected issue arose. Being back "home", a place that has been home for 20 years, it was tough. It was emotional. I tried so hard not to cry at the thoughts and memories flooding back. It was like the gates of my mind, my younger years were opened and everything reminded me of this time or that time.. It was really hard to deal with. It was unexpected. We have gone down post trauma but I think because I have not done emdr yet and my mind wasn't fully online, it didn't register like it did this time.
Places, so many things happened in high school, so many things to tell Bee about. Bittersweet memories. A part of me wanted to go back A part of me wanted to move back. A part of me feels there is a lot of unresolved issues I have there. I know I need to go back before my parents move back here. I didn't want to leave but knew I had too. There is definitely something still hanging on but I don't know what it is. Next time we go back, I think I need to take a drive, just drive around and look, stop and remember and cry if I need too. Memories of the past are hard for me, the innocence, the joy, the need to just have fun and not worry about life. But being back in my "hometown" really made me sad. I don't know if sad is the right word but there is an emotion there in relation to going back. The memories I hold came pouring out and I didn't have time to process them properly.
By the time we had to head home and pack up my mind was done. It had checked out from overload and that is there I sit today. I can't process much, I am angry and agitated, I have no patience. I'm beyond exhausted and physically hurt.. My body is done. The car ride back didn't go as smoothly and the cloudy weather didn't help my checked out mind but I'm glad I did it. I am glad I pushed myself to just do it. I know it will take a few days/weeks for me to process everything, I know there is still unresolved issues holding me and calling me back. I will deal with them in time. For now I need to comfort.
I don't see it as an accomplishment but thats my ptsd/anxiety mind. It doesn't recognize positive very often. All it recognizes is how exhausted I was. I appreciate that we went and I know my mom does (she had knee surgery a few weeks ago and we wanted to check up on her, we didn't tell her we were coming so it was a surprise) It was nice to be with my family, thankful my brother had Thursday off so we could spend the day with him and do some shopping. As much as I feel I wasnt ready to leave and as exhausted as I was, it is a good first step towards more road trips. Maybe once day that spontaneous adventurer will come back but in the meantime, we'll chalk this one up as, we did it and now we need to nurture our minds and bodies.