So, I’m leaving for the beach in 2 hours. I should be excited, right? Well, I was. I was super excited before I did what I have been trying not to do ever since I found out I was going on vacation.
My niece sprung the news on me a couple of days ago. She and I both have birthdays in September, so to celebrate, my sister is treating us to a beach trip before the cold hits. I’m super greatful and any qualms I have about going are my problem and mine alone, don’t get me wrong.
After the initial excitement wore off, I started worrying, as I am one to do. “Will there be…stink bugs there?” I spent the next day and a half trying to calm myself down and convince myself that there won’t be. I discussed my anxiety with my boyfriend and my mom, I called upon my old memories of the beach to make myself excited, I even made a list as to why there won’t be any there.
1.) there is no food source for them
2.) the weather is not conducive to their behavior
3. I don’t fricking want them to live there
For the most part, all of that worked. I was really excited up until a few minutes ago, and now I’m sitting here, taking deep breaths with tears streaming down my face. All because I did something I told myself I wouldn’t do. All because I broke the golden rule of phobia recovery. I googled “are there stink bugs in Myrtle beach, sc?”
Ready for the big surprise? There are. They live at the beach too! Can I enjoy nothing anymore?!?
Now here I am, racking my brain trying to come up with an excuse not to go. I am a horrible person, or at least I feel like one. My niece and sister are giving me an all expenses paid, birthday celebration at the beach and I’m trying to back out because of a damn phobia.
The truth is, I’m doing a surprisingly great job keeping my composure this stink bug season, and not letting my phobia get in the way of living my life. I’ve made so many strides and I’m super proud of myself.
The thing about going to the beach though, is the lack of outlets I will have at my disposal. No mom to kick my ass and give me her tough love when I’m feeling anxious. No boyfriend to kill the bugs and hold me until I stop crying. No therapist to spill my guts to every time I have a break down. Nope, hundreds of miles are going to separate me from my support system.
Sure, I could call them, but there are some issues with that option. First of all, between the sand and waves, the bar, and the hotel, there isn’t going to be much in the way of privacy. I can’t break down into tears when my mental illness insists.
And as for leaning on the support of my travel companions? I can’t do that either. I love my niece and my sister both dearly. But, they do not know much of what I go through. They don’t, nay, they can’t understand. They haven’t been there with me through this. They are the “got a problem? Fix it. Can’t fix it? Fuck it” type of people (damn, how I envy that). As far as their knowledge, I get freaked out around bugs, and that’s it.
So for eight days, I will be confined within my fears.
Hopefully it won’t be so bad. Maybe I read wrong information during my research. Maybe it is still too warm for them to come inside. Maybe I’ll see some, but not as many as I thought I would.
Maybe it will be terrible. Maybe they will be everywhere and I won’t find a shred of relief from fear the entire time I’m there.
Who knows? This is where my hope-for-the-best, expect-the-worst practice comes in…the very reason I wrote this entry.
So maybe I DO see them and get scared. I’ll be at the freaking BEACH, saying goodbye to summer with a strong drink in my hand. Will it really be so bad? Or maybe a better question is, will I let it be so bad?
I can deal with it or I can run from it and not go.
I’ve got an arsenal of excuses prepared…being afraid to set foot in people’s houses will do that to you. Will they be mad? Surely. Will they get over it? Probably. I can call it off, sleep in tomorrow, and wallow in self pity, wishing I was in the sand.
I’ve decided I’m choosing the other option. I’m going to go to the beach and deal with it. I’ve set up code phrases with my mother and boyfriend, in case I start to have an anxiety attack and need to talk, but do not have the means to do so privately. I’ve got my mantras prepared, and my meditation tracks loaded on to my phone. I’ve got a new prescription of buspar. I’m ready for this.
I’m going to the beach, damn it.
Wish me luck.