This post is long overdue.
I made it to Oregon a few days before the start of February! I’m so happy and proud of myself.
For a few weeks leading up to going, I had been seeing my exposure therapist several times a week. We started driving in circles on the on and off ramp over and over. Then I would drive on the freeway to the next exit, and back to the exit by my house. Over and over. Then I was able to make it two exits down the freeway…
The night we left I was having more anxiety than normal, so I took some Xanax. I was really tired, and started feeling pretty loopy from the Xanax. I felt comfortable that I would probably pass out in the car, so I told Rex to just start driving. We loaded the baby, the cat, the dog, and grabbed what we could. My dad had flown out from Nebraska to help us move, and to help my mom. He told us not to worry about anything, he’d pack the house, and if I was feeling capable of going, then to go.
We must have left at two or three in the morning.
I was pretty nervous a lot of the beginning of the drive, but once we made it over Highway 17 (a long winding road through the forest that goes over a big hill, and you come out on the other side in San Jose), I felt better. I felt like I’d made a big escape. I was so happy to leave the bay area.
We listened to the audiobook Ready Player One (by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton) the whole drive.
I went in and out of sleep the whole time. I woke up a few times and caught glimpses of snow, forests, mountains, and lakes.
When we got to Oregon it felt like a dream. I had spent over a year dreaming of being out of the house I was so afraid to leave. Dreaming of moving somewhere that wasn’t so congested, full of crime, and expensive. We had wanted to move out for so long, but that was impossible (Check out this article about how it’s the third most expensive place to live in the nation).
But we did it! Even though I was battling agoraphobia, and even though there was a time I was so housebound I wondered if I would ever be able to leave the house, I moved to a different state and I couldn’t be more overjoyed.
Since it’s been over a month since we’ve been here, I’ve definitely noticed my anxiety is a lot better. It helps that there’s not crazy traffic. It helps that I’m not afraid here. Every time we hear news from Santa Cruz, it’s terrible. Rex’s friend got stabbed twice in the back last week. Dirty needles washing up on the beach. Shootings happening in the parking lot of my favorite bookstore. Ugh. I just keep thinking, what if we had gone with our baby to check out books, and BAM stray bullet? It feels so much better to be here, where I feel like I can go out and be safe. That’s definitely helped with my anxiety a lot.
My anxiety hasn’t completely gone away, but I’ve found it’s a million times more manageable here. I still get anxious if I start getting too far from our new house, but that’s only when we try to leave our town to go to different surrounding towns. I feel fine anywhere within our town, which is a far cry from not being able to go around the block.
My best friend is here, and it’s amazing to be raising our babies together. We even went and saw a play together last night! I was initially nervous about going to a play and having to sit through the whole thing, and that came up a few times during the play, but I breathed through it and found myself just letting myself enjoy the play and forgetting to worry.
Thank you for reading, and for sharing this journey with me. It’s been hard to write with so much going on, and still adjusting to motherhood… but this blog, and the people whose blogs I read, and those who comment, just mean the world to me. It’s a long journey, and I’m still going through it.