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How One Day Can Change Your Life

Here I am…on the longest flight I’ve been on in over 10 years, writing to you at over 36,000 feet.  I’ve shocked myself today.  I woke up focused and had very minimal anxiety getting to the airport and even boarding the plane.  Maybe I was just THAT tired or maybe I’m actually dealing with this better.  I took an Ativan once seated so I could take a nap for a while, but that only lasted about 1.5 hours and once again…I’m ok!

This all might seem silly to a lot of people…this fear of flying thing, but it really is rooted in a not so pretty place that I’ve never gone into detail about here.  You see, I wasn’t always liked this.  I LOVED to fly when I was younger.  I traveled all over the U.S. including San Francisco, San Antonio, and Denver.  I traveled internationally to England, France and even spent 2 months abroad in Ireland.  Traveling was exciting…so many opportunities are available once you step off that plane!  

But when I was 21 years old, the world changed….September 11th happened.

33-Gold-Street-World-Trade-Center

On that day I was living 5 blocks from the World Trade Center in a studio apartment at 33 Gold Street.  I had just started my final year at New York University and I was working in the Box Office at the Hammerstein Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in NYC at the time.  To say I was loving life was an understatement.   Well you know the story of the day so I won’t rehash that business, but to say the events greatly effected me is an understatement.  And it didn’t happen right way either…  

Soon after 9/11, I traveled quite a bit…to England, Arizona, Florida…but with each trip my anxiety grew.  I moved out of the city to Hoboken, NJ across the Hudson river, but I was still commuting in for work and school every day.  Soon I started having trouble on the subway, going through tunnels and being on bridges.  This is a problem when you have to use at least one of those things to get in or out of NYC.  My fear of being trapped, like I was on 9/11, was becoming overwhelming and crippling.   

I ended up having to leave NYC because the stress of having to go there everyday was too much.  Well that wasn’t the ONLY reason, but it played a large part in our decision to move to CT.  However the problem with that was now that I no longer had to face those fears everyday, my reactions were 1,000 times worse when I actually did.  I would have a full on panic attack driving over the George Washington Bridge.  I wouldn’t take the train into NYC or take the Subway for almost 8 years.  Getting on a plane was out of the question.  B and I actually DROVE to Florida for our Honeymoon…it’s amazing that man actually married me.  And the worst thing about all of this was that it was affecting my health because all of that stress would cause my UC to flare on a regular basis.

It was after that long drive to Florida that I finally woke up.  I couldn’t live my life like this anymore…I was missing out on LIFE!  B also turned to me and said, if you ever want to go to Disney again we are flying.  Well that right there is motivation enough to change! 🙂  With the help of a low dose of anti-anxiety medication and the will to face my fears, I am slowly working through all of my fears.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help here…

Now look at me.  As I finish writing this, I am sitting in my hotel room at the Disneyland Hotel after taking a non-stop flight from NY to LA.  That’s almost 6 hours on a plane people!!  I am having a blast at The Happiest Place on Earth with the love of my life and later this week I get to go the the CrossFit Games!!  How could I have denied myself these experiences?  

Sarah-Disneyland-2014

I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s far from it!  Last week I had a panic attack just thinking about traveling, but I’ve learned how to calm myself down and try to relax a bit.  Exercise really helps!  I’ve also learned that talking about it helps.  Sometimes you just ned to get all the crazy out because you otherwise feel like this…

Sarah-Disneyland-2014-Wild-Animal

So there’s the backstory to all of the anxiety-ridden posts you’ve seen and probably will continue to see over time.  It’s amazing how that one day almost 13 years ago completely changed my life, but looking back now it has only made me stronger.  I’ve had to overcome some major shit, but I’ve been trying to do it with a smile.  🙂   

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5 Responses to How One Day Can Change Your Life

  1. […] great tips on how to avid burnout while race training.  I also wrote a piece on RAD Living about How One Day Can Change Your Life, talking about my struggle with travel.  I’d love to hear your stories and tips about how to […]

  2. […] is a day that forever changed me and the events that occurred 13 years ago live with me everyday. Take a moment today to reflect, […]

  3. I missed this post, Sarah. I didn’t know that you were dealing with any of this. I was impressed by you before, but now your strength, stubbornness and grace under pressure leave me sort of humbled. You’re quite an amazing woman!

  4. […] is always a crappy week for me.  13 years have gone by and that one day still continues to have such a strong impact in my life.  Each year gets better but it’s […]

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