June 3, 2010 by jessperriam
I have no idea how long ago it was that I went to the airport in Perth. In my jetlagged brain, it was more than 48 hours ago. And somehow I magically find myself in London.
The hardest part of any trip for me is leaving.
It’s no big secret that I get panic attacks when I embark on long journeys or move to a new place.
It goes something along the lines of having a thought pattern where I question everything I’m doing. It goes from “what am I doing?” to “Oh my goodness, I need to go back!” in seconds. The mind is far too powerful sometimes.
I cannot explain it – why it happens – but with age and a little less pride about it, I find the symptoms have lessened, or I’ve just learnt to give less time to the thoughts which set me back.
To compound the situation on Tuesday morning, I was departing with my favourite person in the entire world. But it was awkward. After somewhere around four years together on and off, it became more off about six months ago. These flights were booked when we had a better sense of togetherness. But both of us were too stubborn to change the flights.
Plus, I needed him.
I needed someone to tell me I was going to be ok, that I can do this. That I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again. He got that gig by default. Like it or lump it, he was stuck with me.
After the crazy thoughts, come the waves of nausea and the inability to eat.
The first 48 hours are always emotional, hunger-inducing and tiring.
The flight to KL included random weepy moments where I start crying at the drop of a thought in my mind.
The humidity didn’t help. The want for a big hug from someone who didn’t want to provide it compounded it further.
There was a profound loneliness, one I suspect has been there for a long time.
If I had to have a stab in the dark at why long trips in particular set me off, it would probably be their lack of purpose. I like to be doing things for a reason.
So there we were at a KL monorail station, myself hopping onto a monorail and then walking through an unfamiliar city to the bus terminal, he was staying behind. It was a tricky moment. He didn’t want me to go alone.
KL is bizarre. Poverty laced with massive high rise buildings. Shopping complexes that go on forever skyward. And have I mentioned the humidity? It’s easy to become melancholy very quickly.
Kuala Lumpur was a massive stopover. For my emotions, for my panic attacks.
Every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining for panic attacks is that they give an enormous amount of clarity on life. It’s like your entire life get thrown into a sieve and the good stuff gets separated from the lumps.
It would be good if it weren’t so torturous.