Picture this…

30 Aug

Oh yes, well, um, sorry, but no can do.

Ask me to picture something in my mind and my creative brain will give the a description of the “picture” to the smallest detail you require, but I cannot actually picture what was described. I can’t bring up an image if I close my eyes. I do not see a photo, a television or movie screen, art on a canvas, my husband’s face, my beloved deceased Sweet Pea…

Ask me to describe any of those things and I can (and will). Ask me where something is in my house and I can tell you, down to what close, what shelf, which side of the shelf, behind what other object. I can…but I can’t bring up an image of that item. I’m broken that way, and I don’t know why.

The reason behind this weird rant is that I get to fly (woo hoo–not) in September to my niece’s wedding. I haven’t flown in more than 25 years. Prior to that, I flew several times…mostly on full size airplanes, but twice in a small six-seater plan (flown by my aunt and uncle). Not one of the flights I’ve been on has been uneventful. I’ve had really bad take-offs, really bad turbulence, really bad landings. One flight had turbulence the entire flight. Another flight, we were landing in a storm and the 747 we were on–full size plane–actually tipped sideways as we were descending to the runway. The flight with my aunt and uncle, the landing was so windy that not only did the plane sway violently as we tried to descend, but my two younger cousins who were sitting across from us, facing us, were throwing up as we tried to land. And they flew almost every weekend with their parents (my aunt and uncle–the pilots).

I don’t like to fly. I’m not a good flyer. I will pretty much drive almost anywhere rather than fly. But driving to my niece’s wedding did not seem to be prudent, in that the drive would be 12-14 hours long, for a four hour wedding. And the wedding is on a Sunday afternoon, so getting home would take us into the work week, which was going to be a problem for Hub. In addition, if I drove, my parents were going to want to drive with us…and my father is not a good driver anymore. It’s sad to say, but true. He has some physical issues that wouldn’t be good on a 12 hour trip, and he’s not one to let others drive even though we’re all perfectly able. Plus, his reaction time isn’t so good anymore. And no matter how I tried to work it, I couldn’t talk my way out of attending the wedding (I’m not particularly close to my niece as my brother and his family have lived that distance away from us for most of her growing up years and they rarely visit).

So to that end, we have to fly to the wedding. Hub and I are flying into the destination Sunday morning and flying home Sunday night. We’ve made this decision because of Butthead, who had her crutiate ligament surgery less than four weeks ago. She’ll still be in “recovery” when we need to be at the wedding, so we don’t want to leave her for too long. We’re fortunate that a very good friend of mine is going to come stay with the dogs while we’re gone for the day…and I trust her with our dogs. Before we go and after we get back, we’ll be watching my parents’ dog, too. But she can’t be with Butthead in a normal fashion because Butthead can’t play yet (see crutiate ligament recovery), so we have to restrict their together time and it has to be very supervised.

I was trying to find ways to make flying an easier experience for me. Initially, T suggested hypnotherapy, and I tried to get appointments with local hypnotherapists, but one was booked for a year (a YEAR), and the other could only fit me in with two appointments before the flight, one of which was barely three days before the flight, so I cancelled those. I tried a third hypnotherapist, but she was traveling in August and September and wouldn’t be able to fit me in before the flight. I was hoping to try other options, one of which was a guided meditation someone made for me to reduce my flying anxiety. Although it was a nice meditation, it included bringing up a picture of a plane in my mind and replacing it with a picture of something nice. But I realized at that point, I wasn’t able to bring up either image.

So I turned to youtube hoping to find some videos on hypnotherapy and/or relaxation techniques for flying. But once again, they were all trying to get me to PICTURE things in mind. Picture things to relax, picture things to move into a hypnotic state. I can’t do those things, and I was stressing out so much over it that I was in tears. Hub told me there must be another way to relax or move into a hypnotic state without picturing things, but I couldn’t find anything. Everyone wants you to picture good things, or picture a staircase, or picture your loved one…a beautiful meadow, a waterfall… and I can’t. It’s so frustrating it really pushed me over it tears. It’s the first time I’ve cried since my second surgery. And it wasn’t hormonal, it was just pure frustration and distress. And it sucks.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope I’m going to be able to get through the flight(s) easily. I’m not thinking about the anxiety of the flight, I’m more thinking about how annoying the trip is going to be. I’ve never been through today’s security measures at an airport (again, haven’t flown since 1989) or had to think about getting patted down or going through an xray machine. Or the size of our carry-on bags. Or how big and busy the airports will be, or the parking… I’m bringing my crochet and a book, and my iPod. I hope I’ll be able to distract myself enough to not be miserable the whole flight.


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11 responses to “Picture this…

  1. joey

    August 31, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I’m not sure they let you bring crochet hooks. Just sayin.
    I’m sorry you gotta fly. I don’t like flyin much, either. I hate big commercial flights. I get so nauseated and claustrophobic. Little planes rock me to sleep, which is nice, unless I’m on a plane for work, then it’s embarrassing. I’m not actually afraid on planes, so that’s nice. Nothin a coupla martinis can’t fix, lol!
    So good to have someone to care for the dogs at your house. I prefer that, too.
    — I can picture anything. Yes, this is very helpful for meditation. The Mister is like you, and I have a hard time relating. His meditations focus on his breathing. Only his breathing. He still reaches his relaxation goals, just focusing on breath. I must say, in panic and pain, I do not visualize, but I actually do focus on my breath, and count breaths. Maybe you could find some meditations for that? I like the chakra meditations and they don’t involve seeing, they’ll just say, “Imagine your spine is red” — “Feel the warmth of your sacral energy” and whatnot. I know, I’m weird. Just a suggestion.
    Glad to read you, btw. 🙂

    • meANXIETYme

      August 31, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I would have said NO to the crochet hooks, too, but I’m pretty sure my mother has carried them. Also, they’re not pointy like knitting hooks, they’re blunted. But I’ll double-check before going, because I ain’t gonna throw away my good hooks at the airport at the last minute! 🙂
      I’m okay in the plane during the flight if there’s no turbulence. I’m not so good on take-off and landing, whether they’re normal or not.
      I do relax with breathing exercises, though I’m not sure I’d categorize it as “meditation” because I’m not sure I ever get to that state. I’m going to look for more relaxation/hypnosis things with breathing exercises versus picture exercises. I just had to stop the other night because it was upsetting me so much…I felt broken and like a failure and that was making things worse, so I stopped.
      Thanks, I’m trying to write again. I have a couple posts scheduled that I wrote all in one evening to try to get ahead of myself. I’m hoping to write a blog on Butthead’s water therapy (with pictures if I can manage it!) LOL

      • joey

        August 31, 2015 at 11:20 am

        Oh I totally wanna see Butthead in water therapy! Who wouldn’t?!?
        I hope you’re right about the crochet hooks. The Mister and I were talking about it, and he said maybe that’s one of the bans that’s been lifted recently.
        Then we had a laugh about how knitters are the scourge of retirement communities. Everyone hiding indoors, afraid of being knit to death. You can joke like that when you’re not on the plane, you know 😉
        Good luck finding some hypnosis techniques.

      • meANXIETYme

        August 31, 2015 at 11:50 am

        Yeah, no joking about knitting someone to death on the plane. Bad idea. LOL
        I looked it up on the TSA site and they said it’s allowed on a carry on and checked baggage (which would do me no good obviously), but that TSA screeners have discretion. Also, small blunt scissors are allowed! WTH? Anyway, someone suggested bringing a plastic hook versus a metal one because of the metal hook showing up on the xray, but I hate my plastic hooks. LOL
        Since Hub and I are both going to the initial appointment for Butthead’s water therapy, I’m hoping he’ll be paying attention and I’ll be taking pictures. 🙂 But I have no idea if they’re going to let us in the room or if we’ll be behind a glass window…might make a difference with picture taking.

      • joey

        August 31, 2015 at 11:56 am

        True. I don’t take good pictures when glass is involved. It infuriates me. I’ve given up.

      • meANXIETYme

        August 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        I will do my best no matter what. Ya’ll might just have to look past the glare and the reflection. LOL

  2. April

    August 31, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I carry my knitting with me but rarely pull it out because I’m trying to hold myself together. I wish I could help here, but I’m finally able to make flights with reduced anxiety. I use the picture of a triangle- woo hoo – and I ‘watch’ various words floating up the side of the triangle and down the other in a flowing manner. I suppose that wouldn’t help if you have difficulty picturing things in your mind. I have the opposite, I see but I can’t relate what I’m seeing in words. Does that make sense?

    • meANXIETYme

      August 31, 2015 at 11:19 am

      I’m really thinking I’m going to spend most of the flight (about 2 hours) listening to music on my old iPod to try to distract me. If they’ll let me play it while we’re taking off and landing, I think I should be okay. Then again, the rest of the plane might not be happy when I start singing as distraction. HA.
      They let you take your knitting needles on the plane? I hope they let me take my crochet, because I have successfully used that to lower my anxiety with the repetitive motion. But I would hate to bring my hooks and find out at the airport that I can’t take them on…I love my hooks and I’d hate to have to pay to replace them.
      I used to be able to picture numbers (like 1-10) when I was trying to fall asleep. I’d wait until the number actually appeared before moving on to the next one. It took so much concentration that I rarely made it to 1 (from 9) before falling asleep. I haven’t been able to do that for a while, but maybe I can try again.
      I’ve read you talking about your flying anxiety and am so glad you’re making progress. If I had to fly often, I’d be trying the hypnotherapy, but I hope not to have to fly again after this wedding. Since it’s been more than 25 years since my last flight, I suspect I won’t be flying again too soon.
      I see (ha!) what you’re saying about seeing the image but not being able to relate it to words. I think I’m backwards to that…

      • April

        August 31, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        If you check on the TSA website, they have all the current list of approved items and those not. The last time I checked, knitting needles were ok. I use fingernail clippers to cut yarn if I have to. You can do this…and then never again 🙂

      • meANXIETYme

        August 31, 2015 at 8:52 pm

        I did a search on the TSA website that said crochet hooks are A-OK, but that each TSA agent has discretion on items. So…
        I won’t need to cut yarn. I would just keep going until I ran out, even if I had to pull it out again (I think frogging crochet is easier than frogging knitting, so it’s no big deal). Just to keep myself busy.
        I can do this! AND THEN NEVER AGAIN. 😉 Thanks.

      • April

        September 1, 2015 at 8:38 am

        Yes you can!


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