Agoraphobic Moving Across State Lines?!

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.

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Horribly groggy. Snapped a selfie at a random rest stop on our way up to Oregon. 

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Rex and I outside our new house. We got really excited because it was snowing. Silly Californians.

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My first post-partum corset. Getting back into waist training and it feels amazing. I’m not a 22″ waist anymore but, you know, I’ll get there.

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My adorable baby! She’s almost five months old now!!!

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.

❤ Chloe

Maybe really moving? What?!

I successfully made it to my daughters doctor appointment yesterday! I still felt a twinge of anxiety and an adrenaline rush leading up to leaving, but I pushed through anyway. I was reflecting a lot on how that adrenaline rush that comes when you’re feeling really anxious about something is incredibly similar to the feeling you get when you’re super excited. I have another post called turning fear into excitement, but it was really helpful to revisit that technique. I was initially nervous, but instead I started thinking of why it was such a good thing, and kind of convinced my mind and body that it wasn’t panic, it was excitement – and transformed my negative feelings into positive ones.

I was talking to my grandma the other day, and she lives in the town I’m hoping to move to. She visited a property that is for rent – three bedrooms with a big back yard! I ended up getting in touch with the woman who owns the property today, and she said that we are the only people interested in it, and basically implied that if we want it it’s ours. It’s also less than a minute from my best friends house!

I want so badly to go, and I’m very seriously considering putting a deposit on the house to hold it, and aim to move by the end of January/beginning of February.

I am feeling pretty optimistic about making this happen, but there’s still a part of me saying, “you were barely able to go outside or down the street a few months ago – do you really think you’ll make it through a several hundred mile drive?”

So, I’m doing my best to quell those fears. I have been driving every day, but I am going to call (or text) my exposure therapist today to try to get some freeway driving in, and start preparing myself to really go. I got a comment on my last post from someone that said, “just start packing like you’re going!” And I think that’s the best and simplest advice. Just start doing the things it’s going to take to really get myself up there, and I’ll get it done.

There are so many things I’m doing on a daily basis that a few months ago would have thrown me into a frenzy of panic and fear, that now feel mundane and like it’s no big deal at all. I was reflecting on this earlier, and it feels really good to sort of sit back and say, “wow, I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m doing things I once feared I would never be able to do again, and now they’re okay.”

I remember sitting with my therapist months ago and telling her, “I just want to be able to go to a grocery store and buy food for myself.” And I felt such a longing for something so simple, to have something so normal feel easy and boring – and I’ve already reached that point. Grocery stores are no problem… so hopefully, I can do the same thing with a long distance drive.

Also, I’ve been making more progress on my book! I’ve written around 6,000 words the past few days, and that feels really good. And I’ve got a lot more where that came… and I’m excited to keep working on it!

Also, here is an artist called Pokey LaFarge that my grandma recommended to me, and I’m loving it!

And Rex keeps telling me to revisit this video when I’m feeling hesitant about doing things. It’s kind of effective.

❤ Chloe

 

Writing a book and moving out?

I’ve been getting out of the vault (as Rex calls it, as he’s been playing a lot of Fallout 4). It’s been good! I’ve been hanging out with these guys a lot:

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and today I didn’t just drive to the beach, I finally got my feet in the sand!

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I’ve recently discovered the fun of taking panoramic pictures.

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Things are going well. I’ve started working on my book again (that I stalled around the time I found out I was pregnant). It’s really nice to write about something other than myself. It’s therapeutic. Also, I love writing. I love weaving together stories and creating worlds. I recently decided that I wanted to put everything I’ve got into finally finishing a novel… and I have also decided that I’m going to self publish it after it’s done. I feel like I should probably have a blog and a twitter and stuff dedicated to this, but I’m kind of lost right now with it. I have this blog, and I love this blog, but it mostly revolves around my struggles and successes with mental illness – and as much as I don’t care who knows of my struggle, I feel like it’s not the best platform to promote a young adult novel. If anyone has any experience with publishing a book and having an authors blog, or know of any good blogs to read up on the subject, I would appreciate you commenting on it so much! Thanks in advance ❤

I’ve also been really wanting to move. I want to move out of state. I’ve been driving every day, but I still haven’t made it to the freeway. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but California is EXPENSIVE. I mean, damn. To move out, we’re looking at $2600++++ for a two bedroom house that may or may not be falling apart, that is probably in a sketchy area, or has a slew of other problems. It’s kind of unbelievable how much it costs to live here. I really want to move to Oregon, but the only thing holding me back is my fear of making the drive there. If anyone has any advice on this (moving an agoraphobic), I would be extremely grateful.

Rex and I went out dancing Sunday night which was a lot of fun! I had been feeling in kind of a funk for the two days prior, but my spirits were lifted a lot by getting out and having some adult time and fun.

Other than that, I’ve been focused and excited about working on my book. Hoping to figure out how to better proceed with establishing an online presence before it’s finished though!

❤ Chloe

More progress with exposure therapy! And rock ‘n roll baby time!

I’m feeling really good about today. I had an hour long drive with my exposure therapist at two today, and it went well. We even stopped for smoothies, and she said I’d driven farther than I have the whole time she’s been seeing me.

After she left, Rex asked if I wanted to keep driving, and I did. I drove even farther. I went to the post office! And bought stamps. And it was kind of boring! Yay! I get way too excited about things being relatively boring, which I guess makes them not as boring, really. But, boring is good. Mundane is good. Panic is not good. So anything that’s not panicky or anxious is good in my book.

I bought two sheets of forever stamps so I can mail out some thank you cards to people from the baby shower. That felt awesome.

After that, I wanted to keep driving, so I did. I drove even further again, and ended up making it to Rite Aid and shopping for things for my hospital bag. I got socks, mascara, travel tooth brushes, travel shampoo/conditioner and things like that. And it felt totally normal. The fact that it felt relatively normal was almost overwhelming, because I haven’t felt able to do normal things in what feels like so long. The more I do things, the more I feel like there’s actually hope that I can be a fully functioning human being, out in the world doing normal things, and not a total shut-in who can’t leave her house for months/years on end. Phew. That’s relieving as hell.

I’m still feeling nervous about making it to appointments, but not as much as I have been. It seems easier. I realize that the worst part is the anticipation. Like, there were so many times today where I would see a street up ahead with a light and be thinking, “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, what if I get stuck, what if I suddenly faint or black out, what if I go blind, what if I lose my shit and just can’t….. oh, okay, it’s already over, cool. That was actually kind of easy. Nice.”

Also, the crib, car seat and stroller arrived in the mail today. I ordered them a few days ago, and am really excited to start setting up everything before baby gets here.

I finally picked out a crib bedding set, and it’s inspired me to do a rock ‘n roll theme in babies room.

This is the crib set I ended up picking out! Also the crib in the photo looks exactly like the one I ended up getting. I can't wait to get it all set up!

This is the crib set I ended up picking out! Also the crib in the photo looks exactly like the one I ended up getting. I can’t wait to get it all set up!

I was thinking about decorating with images of strong/bad ass women in rock… Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks etc. And maybe some Bowie. I was thinking it could also be a really fun DIY project to make artwork and stuff, without having to spend a bunch of money on premade decorations. It’s a pretty unique theme at least. I’ll keep you guys posted on it.

And speaking of badass women in rock, I give you Suzi Quatro. 

and one more…

Keep on driving.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – I’ve been pretty exhausted lately, but still want to keep up with posting.

I was having a pretty difficult time for a little bit as far as exposure therapy goes, and getting out. I didn’t go out or do any driving for a few days and kept building it up in my head to be more and more of a big deal… Then when I finally went out driving, I remembered that it’s not that scary, and it’s okay. I started small and kept working my way up, and now I’m driving longer distances than I’ve been able to since I started exposure therapy!

I had an appointment last week that I missed due to a panic attack. That was really difficult, but instead of letting it get me down completely, I’ve been more determined than ever to squelch my fears of being on the road.

I had my baby shower over the weekend and it was wonderful! It was so great to have so many loved ones gather and celebrate the baby. My mom and a good friend of the family threw it for me, and it was so sweet. I’m so grateful.

Yesterday I drove further than I have in so long. I’m really happy, and it makes me feel like things are opening up, and that I will be able to overcome my fears.

It’s still difficult, but looking brighter.

And I’m due in less than four weeks, which is kind of scary, but I’m also excited to have the baby. I’ve been pretty exhausted most of the time due to being so pregnant right now. It’s pretty ridiculous, I feel like I’m expending too much energy just writing this right now, or getting up to do small things. I definitely can’t wait to get back some energy!

Here’s a song off of the album I was listening to most of the drive yesterday. I think it’s good driving music. I’ve been on a psychobilly kick lately. Also, I was recalling to Rex yesterday that during this song the lead singer gave me the mic to sing along when I saw them years ago, and that was pretty cool.

And I ride, and I ride.

I’ve been neglecting my blog this past week, mostly due to feeling overwhelmingly lazy. But I mean, I haven’t been that lazy. In my defense, I feel freakin’ huge. As of yesterday I’m 34 weeks pregnant, which means I really don’t have that much longer to go. Everything feels increasingly difficult though.

I’ve been keeping up as best I can with my exposure therapy, and trying to get out and about in the car. I’ve been making bits of progress here and there, but there have been times when I feel like I’m making no progress at all, or where I feel like I’m making anti-progress. Like the other night, I wanted to do some driving on my own. I decided to start with going around the block, and I got hit with a surge of adrenaline and panic and it felt horrible and awful. I just sat in the car for about an hour and a half listening to music and spending time being in the car, because driving at all just felt like too much. I’m doing the best I can, but sometimes (a lot of the time) it feels like it’s not enough.

I’ve also been a bit down because I keep missing events and things that I want to go to. Felicia Day was in my town yesterday, and I kind of wanted to cry missing it. I love her. The day before I missed Blue Oyster Cult doing a free show on the beach minutes from my house. Stuff like that. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty used to missing out on things I want to go do, but it still feels painful, especially because the only thing holding me back is myself, which makes me feel all kinds of mad at myself. But I’m working on that and trying not to be too hard on myself.

In other news, I started learning how to play The Passenger on acoustic guitar. I’m working on it. Rex agrees I should put the song on my blog because it feels relevant.

All Good Things (almost)

I saw my exposure therapist today and it went really well! I drove all over the neighborhood, including a few new streets/blocks and places that I haven’t driven yet. I only got relatively heightened anxiety twice (stopped at a busy red light at an intersection, and in this alley area where there were cars stopped in front of me)… but other than that, it went really well! I also told her about my blog so… Hi Heidi! Thanks a bunch!

Yesterday You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day got to my house. It came out two days ago, and I was bummed Amazon didn’t get it here by release date. I finished the book in one sitting and it was great. Felicia Day is the creator of the web series The Guild (and Codex, from The Guild). If you’re at all into geeky pop culture/video games and stuff, I think you’d dig it. You can watch the first episode of The Guild Here.

Also, Felicia Day liked my Instagram post which was pretty neat. Oh yeah, and if you want to follow me on Instagram you can @BadCacophony

Also, Felicia Day liked my Instagram post which was pretty neat. Oh yeah, and if you want to follow me on Instagram you can @BadCacophony

My anxiety has been a lot lower this week, which is really nice. Phew. It’s pretty relieving actually. However, I’ve been feeling extra pregnant. Like, super duper pregnant. I’ll be 33 weeks tomorrow, which is crazy. I feel like a few days ago all the sudden things went “BAM, you thought you were pregnant before? Heh. Nope, NOW you’re really pregnant!” So, that’s fun. It’s definitely feeling a lot realer. Like, what? There’s going to be a baby here, like, a small little child? I’m actually really really excited. Not complaining. Except maybe about the back pain, and general discomfort and other things that are kind of crappy about being pregnant.

Oh, I also started up a weekly writers day with a good friend of mine again. We used to meet once a week for a long time and exchange chapters of the books we’re writing… but haven’t done that in quite a few months, so it was really nice to start doing that again. She’s really awesome, and it was really cool hearing all of the progress she’s made on her book. She’s really close to finishing and I can’t wait to hear what happens. I didn’t have, well, anything new on my book… but I’m glad we started again because I think it’s just the push I need to start doing my writing again. I mean, this blog kind of counts as writing, I guess. But it’s not working on an actual book. But at least I’m still writing, right? Right.

Also, I went through all my Harry Potter video games this week, and have started playing them. And Rex has joined in, and that has been really fun. We were up kind of late last night playing Goblet of Fire together on the Gamecube. Aw, yeah!

Yeah buddy!

These were just what I found when I took the picture… I have even more. Yay, Harry Potter. I might be a geek.

So, yeah. Normal stuff. No crazy panic attacks. Nothing huge and dramatic to report, so that’s pretty nice.

And here’s a song that usually makes me feel really good! As always, thank you so much for reading, commenting, liking my blog posts, and all that good stuff. It means the world to me, and you rock.