I was creative in finding ways to cope (before I actually took time to find a healthy way to handle things). I OD'd on immodium and pepto pills 'just in case' my stomach acted up. I would change my diet to basic light carbs and eliminate anything out of the ordinary - and I definitely wouldn't eat out for at least 3 days before the trip so I was in full control of what went into my stomach. I also developed another unhealthy obsession that I was convinced would help... I practically eliminated all liquids from my diet. I dehydrated myself just so I wouldn't have to use the bathroom. I also eliminated coffee and caffeine to avoid possible stomach issues, even though I drank those things nearly every day and never had a problem. If I was traveling in the morning, I stopped eating and drinking the afternoon prior. And no food or drinks would pass my lips if I was traveling at night. I used to drive people nuts with my rules. But, I believed it would help me. And even if it didn't physically make a difference, it mentally made a difference in my anxiety.
So as I was traveling on this last trip, I realized that I was looking forward to grabbing a cup of java on the road. I also no longer worry about medicine or bathroom pit stops. I drank two full glasses of water that morning to stay hydrated and we even left super early in the AM- which used to be a big NO NO for me because early mornings were my most anxious and I never did ANYTHING in early mornings that could potentially cause me more stress. Right before we were heading back home, we had dinner with friends. At a restaurant. I smiled to myself reflecting on my journey and how far I've really come.
It definitely wasn't a quick trip to get here, but it was absolutely worth it. I know sometimes when we're in the middle of this struggle it feels like we'll never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we don't even remember what it feels like to have our stressors become neutral. But they do. And I fully believe in celebrating each and every step along the way.
Just like traveling... it's all about the journey!