Apr 18, 2010

a long week, more braveness and talks with the pilot

so much has happened during the last few days. i find it quite strange that the moment i`m tackling this fear of flying subject, a volcano somewhere in iceland spews out so many ashes, that i couldn`t fly now even if i wanted to. hm hm.

as for the braveness diary:

on wednesday i dared to go to another orthopedist in the hope of at last finding someone who will accompany me on the "spine- journey" . no such luck, i`m afraid to report, so i found myself being utterly devastated after talking for about 10 minutes for yet another doctor who doesn`t listen and doesn`t care. am not giving up though.

thursday was a big day for cinnamon rolls and braveness: the father of one of the boys in my son`s class, came by to have a long chat with me about flying. he`s been a pilot for over 30 years now and he talked me through the whole flying procedure, from check-in to landing, answering my panicky questions and gracefully ignoring me getting paler and paler as the flight began:)) this was a great opportunity for me and i cannot thank him enough for providing me with all this first- hand information. here`s to you, g√ľnter!

friday and saturday i didn`t feel very brave at all and all my braveness consisted of was ignoring as much as possible the awful state my body was in and getting up to do anything at all.

today is a better day and i`m on my way to another week of my little project, modest as it may be. once the volcano ashes have settled, i am planning to go to the airport where one of my partners friends works, to visit him and have him show me around, to get a feel for the place after 11 years. i will continue the braveness diary and give myself ( and you:) ) another prompt tomorrow.

Apr 13, 2010

beautiful tuesday/ braveness diary

found this lovely and inspiring photo by lacy young via carmen torbus and instantly loved it.
this is exactly what i want to do: achieve a different way of looking at things and this stone and its message are so great and fun at that, too!


braveness diary today:

although i`m dreading another fruitless and frustrating talk with her, i wrote a letter to the headmistress of my son`s school, explaining why a lot of us parents are very unhappy with the class teacher.
i hate confrontations, even more so when i`m not feeling up for them, but i decided to be brave to try and make the situation better for my son and for the other kids in class.

Apr 12, 2010

braveness today

going on with this project.
putting myself and my fears out there in virtual space for everyone to see. not easy.

tackling all the application forms today ( loads of paperwork ) to let other people define just how disabled my back and adhesions have made me. trying to not let these disabilities define me as a person.

watching a scary movie with mr. harrison ford :-)

day 3: monday prompt: start a braveness diary

The prompt for today is to start a braveness diary. For every day this week, starting today, you can write down what you did that day that you thought of as brave. It does not have to be something connected to your worst fears and nightmares, all the little things count. You can draw, you can take photos, you can doodle, you can write, just give yourself the feedback that you deserve.
As a giant cosmetic firm put it: " Because you`re worth it. " :))

Apr 11, 2010

day 2: mission (im)possible- expectations&obstacles

claustrophobia is something that happens in your head and then slowly takes over your whole body. your hearts start racing, you start to hyperventilate, you feel as if you`re going to have a heart attack, suffocate and die on the spot.
as a friend of mine put it very bluntly a while ago when we were talking about planes: " the fear of flying is the fear of dying. " that made me so angry at the time even more so as i suddenly realised that he was right. as simple as it sounds, it is true.
"uh yeah ", you might say now, " this is ridiculous. almost everyone is scared of dying but not everyone has phobias." also true.
so where do i go from here? if i know, that my mind is playing tricks on me, that somehow my mind and my body have learnt to play tricks on me, how do i untrick myself, how do i "unlearn"?
one of the obstacles during the last few years in confronting my fears has been the condition my body was/ is in. i simply cannot and will not be able to force myself to do the whole confrontational therapy shennanigans again. so i have to find other ways, get creative, find new tricks.
every monday i will give myself a prompt and i`d be very happy if you like to join me.
i do not expect to be " healed " during these four months, but i am hoping for a different mindset, good influences and fun ideas.
if i can get on a plane this summer that of course would be the greatest challenge of all.
like i read yesterday " not without fear, but in spite of it. "

Apr 10, 2010

the claustrophobia project, lemon curd and all the help i can get

i have been massively claustrophobic for quite some time now. it started with planes, then the tube, elevators and so on and so on.

2004 i tried a confrontational therapy.it was no fun, that much i can tell you.
lots of crying and pulling of hair, lots of desperation, lots of hyperventilating locked in elevators for 30 minutes or so. i never made it back onto a plane though.

no flying for 11 years. i told myself it didn`t matter. i could take a boat, hell, i could swim, i could take a car. no problem. but a big part of my family lives in great britain and my grandparents lived in glasgow.

the last time i went there with my son was when he was two years old. we took the car from berlin to amsterdam and embarked on the journey to hell all the way to newcastle.
the cabin we had booked was underneath the machine room of the ferry, so it was impossible for me to stay there. combine acute seasickness with claustrophobia and you`ve got yourself a real party full of song and dance. i was sick for hours and went to " sleep" on deck on two plastic chairs that i had pushed together and shoved in a corner where i could hear people singing along to karaoke. my favourite was a duet of " up where we belong ", sung quite beautifully. after a while the storm got worse though and my sleeping bag was soaked, so i decided to give it a try inside. i opened the heavy outside door and at that very moment there was a huge gush of wind and the door slammed shut. my right hand was still caught in the door and i thought i would faint if i looked as i was almost sure that the fingers had been cut off. after what seemed like ages but couldn`t have been more than a few seconds, i pulled the door open with my left hand, didn`t look at it and just dragged myself inside, knocked on the door of the disco until someone came and took care of me. it was the ship doctor who was also the ship dj, who had also sung the lovely version of " up where we belong " that i had admired earlier, which pleased him very much. he took one look and said: " that`s what broken fingers look like." i had managed to break two of my fingers in that door.
why am i telling you this? because it was one of two claustrophobia lowpoints during the last few years.

the second one is even worse. for 8 years i haven`t seen my family in Scotland and Glasgow is now only a two hour- flight away from berlin. my grandmother died two weeks ago and i couldn`t say goodbye, couldn`t go to the funeral. i have missed golden weddings, big birthdays, a wedding and two funerals. i cannot forgive myself. lowpoint.
i want my son to grow up knowing and i mean, REALLY KNOWING that Scotland is a part of him. the language, the people that belong to him, the smells, the highland cattle, the scones, the sheep, everything. everything that has made me so homesick during the last 8 years.

so i want to start a project. it starts today and ends on the 10 th of august, two days after my 40 th birthday and i need all the help i can get so bear with me, write to me, tell me about your experiences, about your fears, about your braveness. i need to know.

i`ll write about my experiences with battling claustrophobia, about my successes and my failures and about the things that help me.

my first assignements today were to write this post and to make lemon curd. yes, lemon curd.
i have always loved it and my grannie used to make it and i wanted to make some in honour of her. so i did. i read this post and then i made lemon curd and then i looked at all the yellow, shiny loveliness and wrote this post.

i am scared and humbled and have no idea what awaits me, but i want to try.
please be my companions on this road to something better.