They beat me, don’t let them beat you
Though I’m certain the majority of people reading this will have arrived via Dedicated to DLP channels, this is at its core about me, not Disneyland Paris. As such I am posting on my little used personal blog rather than on Dedicated to DLP. Right now, as I write this, I should be just a few hours away from getting the train to go to Lille, and then on to Disneyland Paris itself, but I’m not. Is it connected with what happened on Friday in Paris? Yes. Is it solely to do with that? No.
At the start of this year I was diagnosed with anxiety, in particular health and death anxiety. I know, the guy that puts himself on video, talks on a podcast for hours on end and is usually one of the louder people around – how can that guy have problems with anxiety? It’s been there for many years, but it was only recently that I sought help and had a label put on it, which in itself may not have helped, but that’s another conversation for another time. With so many people expecting me to both be in Disneyland Paris, and reporting on the Christmas season (due to my own self-promotion, not because I’m in any way important enough to be on people’s minds), I thought it only right to attempt an explanation, in hope that you may understand or at least be informed enough to make a judgement, should you wish.
What triggers my anxiety and the way it affects me is not something I can pin down and list in a logical way, because logic and reasoning are factors I am very much aware of, and often crave, but are sometimes absent in the way my mind works, at least in these situations. Of course my boundless sympathy for those affected and admiration for people battling through adversity comes first, but ever since the atrocities of last Friday in Paris I’ve not been able to stop thinking about my own trip, and the possibility of something like that happening to me. See, this is where the logic comes in, and I’ve even been telling people myself on social media, that security is at an all-time high and the likelihood of anything happening right now is very small. Does that stop me thinking the worst though? Sometimes, for short periods, but then the doubts start flooding back and soon it’s all I can think about.
I thought I had a handle on it, but last night that all unravelled with a succession of incidents that led to my anxiety peaking to levels it hasn’t for months. In saying good night to my 7 year old son, he hugged me tighter than usual and for longer, saying he didn’t want me to go ‘because of the bombs’. I assured him I would be fine, and in my mind I wanted to stay strong for him and set a good example. The mood was lightened a bit when he said that although he was worried, he did want the presents I’d promised to bring back! At this point I thought it would be okay, until somebody on social media expressed surprise I was still going. They didn’t give any more detail and it was an innocent comment, but from great acorns..well, you know the rest. From there I started to Google questions about the safety of travelling to Paris and along the way, and I don’t even know how this was triggered, I got an image in my head of something bad happening on a train. That was it – the panic set in, the cold sweats came on and my stomach was in knots. This was followed by pacing round the room, and rapid shallow breathing as a nagging doubt had transformed into abject fear. At this point I knew my trip was over before it had started.
The problem is that on this occasion, not only would I be doing exactly what the terrorists wanted, but I was also ruining it for my friend Mark who was going on the trip with me. It’s a problem that has stopped me getting on a plane for 14 years, even though my Mum spends 6 months of the year in Spain. It has also stopped me getting on trains and going to events more times than I can remember. I get in my car every morning, which statistically is the worst form of travel, but as I said, there’s no room for logic and reason here.
I wish more than anything I didn’t think like this, and that the anxiety didn’t grab a hold and strangle me like it does, more so the for the people around me that are affected than myself. There’s always a feeling of failure and letting people down associated with it, and especially this time. Maybe in time it will get better, but for now I’m just thankful to have understanding and tolerant people supporting me. It means I don’t get to go to Disneyland Paris this one time – so what. There are families who will have one less person around the table for Christmas dinner this year, they are the people who need our love and attention. What I want to make very clear is that this is just an explanation of my situation and decision; it is absolutely not a plea for sympathy. Save that for the millions of people around the world affected by things that fortunately many of us will never be able to comprehend.