Rolling Through Anxiety
Rolling Through Anxiety
August 30, 2022
In this episode of The Pain Game Podcast, your host, Lyndsay Soprano shares her experience of managing chronic pain and illness while taking a three-week-long trip to Italy with her sweetie. Together they traveled through Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Milan, Verona, and Venice. She was surrounded by a lot of music, love, and people, but was also working through the crippling anxiety and almost canceled the trip because of it.
She often battles with a conflict between the terror of loneliness that her anxiety makes her feel and the desire to be left alone. While she loves her alone time, listening to music, reading, meditating, writing, and journaling, she doesn’t like the feeling of being alone. From a young age, she had to figure out how to be alone and keep herself occupied since she was an only child.
Around age 9, she began to struggle with anxiety and felt as though she was a little girl trapped inside an overactive brain. She has suffered from insomnia from a young age and almost feels like she is detached from her body, which has increased from CRPS. This has caused body dysmorphic issues because her body has changed so much, trading in her plump arms and plump buns for an atrophied, skinny body that she doesn’t recognize. The mirror is not her friend!
Coupled with her chronic pain, her insomnia has reached a new height. Sometimes she doesn’t understand where her anxiety is stemming from, and sometimes she is triggered unexpectedly. She explains that she often feels as though she’s in quicksand, noting that she was in quicksand in Michigan as a little girl, around the time that her anxiety issues began. Her anxiety can sometimes take those around her off guard and she isolates herself without an explanation.
She’s working hard to identify when the anxiety creeps in and what her triggers are, trying to talk herself down when she starts feeling anxious. A way that she’s channeled her need to feel like she’s in control is by organizing her home, color coordinating, and having all labels facing out. She feels as though anxiety and pain can be protectors and that it’s easy to hide behind them.
For most of her life, she’s lived with an enormous amount of insecurity. Anxiety is painful and intense for her, and sometimes excessive. She talks about her hesitancy to go in public because of her parking anxiety, she needs to know exactly where she will be parking and how close it is to her destination.
Shifting to her trip to Italy, she has never traveled outside of North America before. She had so much anxiety about the trip that she almost canceled. She felt unsafe, worried about navigating an unknown country and traveling in a wheelchair for the first time due to her physical pain. She struggled to navigate the airport in a wheelchair and took a few spills, some of which were very funny and ass up in the air!
They rolled through Italy (and anxiety).
Once in Italy, there were hectic moments, but overall, it was a magical experience. They leveraged her disability to get into spaces that the general public wouldn’t normally see, finding some beautiful things through a painful situation. She drove a stick shift through Tuscany for about 450 miles, something she didn’t feel as though she would’ve been able to do.
It was important to her to use the wheelchair so that she could experience the trip in the best way possible. It allowed her to do things and go places that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, giving her the freedom, she so desperately craved, making the best of it, and not handing her body over to CRPS.
In the Hebrew language, there is a beautiful word, shalom, which expresses an overall sense of peace and well-being. A positive state of wholeness and health. During the trip and even through the challenges, she felt shalom, especially through Tuscany.
She wants to shalom her ass off in every moment of life, go forward, and promise herself and those in her life that she will give it all she’s got. The alternative sucks, we need to unpack our baggage. Unless we unpack our baggage, it’s going to stay locked up like the shit show of the Heathrow airport’s baggage claim.
Let’s shalom our asses off together!
Let’s get to the heart of how to heal. With you by her side.
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