After my November debacle when 7 or 8 (or was it 9?) gin and tonics could not quell my terror on a flight back from the east coast, I went to see a therapist. I wouldn't be able to fly anymore, I feared, if I did not get help. I would never again see my mother, be forced to drive thousands of miles to M.'s graduation, to C.'s wedding, never visit Greece or France or anywhere across an ocean ever again. The anxiety was spilling over into driving. Freeway overpasses were difficult. Going anywhere after dark troubled me. A fellow writer and friend recommended someone.
Seven (or was it eight?) sessions later Terror stands in a corner empty handed, shrugging.
It didn't seem like a true phobia, the therapist said. General Anxiety Disorder, she said. Unresolved grief and anger, she said. Mr. Ex sounded like a classic Narcissist, she said.
So I flew to see my mother last week and went on to the AWP Conference in Washington D.C. Without the gin bath. Without a cranky silent husband next to me drugged to sleep before take-off. But I thought of The Narcissist and the trips we took, how he threw his things in the suitcase an hour before we left the house because he was never sure he could get away from the office. Oh the suspense...would he make it?
But I was always ready. I had the breasts full of milk to feed the baby. I had the diapers, the wet wipes, the juice and the snacks and the toys. I had the baby sling and the umbrella stroller. I had the dolls and the sketchbooks, the homework, the sweaters and the rain boots and the rain coats, the hats, mittens, scarves, and Christmas presents. I had the jump ropes and the story books. I had the theatre tickets, the dinner reservations, the excursions planned, the guidebooks and phrase books. I had the horseback riding reservations, float trip reservations, dinner cruise and fish fry reservations. I had the train and ferry schedules, the days which museums were closed and what to see where, and when we were getting together with which relatives or whom we were taking with us on this or that trip to Europe or New York.
I had it all.