Sunday, June 6, 2010


These last couple of weeks have been pretty eventful.  The last week of May, I was battling migraines, got really sick coming home from the Vet Center, had a transformer blow up right next to my car, and then I get an email from Terry telling me that he needed me in Charlotte the next Tuesday.  My first reaction was no way.  My anxiety was out of control, I just didn't see how it was possible that I could make a trip to an unfamiliar place, with people I did not know.  I told my parents there was no way I was going to make the trip.

I talked it over with my Mom, called my sponsor, and talked to Kevin (my Vet Center counselor), and determined that if I avoided this trip that it would just be that much easier to avoid the next one.  I decided to make the trip, but was going to change the way I had done it in the past.  I was supposed to be in Charlotte on Tuesday, but decided that after some of the experiences that it would be better if I got up there a day earlier.  Previously, I had made the trip the same day I was supposed to do some training.  That had just stressed me out, and after the drive, I wasn't really able to do much of anything.  The drive to Charlotte was much easier than the one to Stewart, it was all interstate, no small towns to go through.

When we got to Charlotte the plan was to have CAROLINE Monday night, but she had been having some stomach problems, so Karen decided it would be best if I just got her Tuesday morning.  We hung out in the hotel room for a few hours, and then we had to go to a mall.  The last time I had been in a mall was about 4 years ago, and I totally lost it then.  I wasn't at all looking forward to the trip to the mall.  When we got there, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected.  Karen talked to me about how to handle CAROLINE, what to do, when to reward her, and to provided positive feedback when she was doing the right thing.  CAROLINE did great, when it was my turn to take her she was constantly looking at me, and couldn't have behaved any better.  I guess we were at the mall for about 45 minutes or so, and then we went back to the hotel to take a break before dinner. 

CAROLINE didn't have that stupid blue ball this time, and was much better behaved.  She did her thing checking out the room, but ended up just crashing out on the bed while I was watching some TV.  We were to meet Karen and Candice for dinner later that evening.  We had a table in the back of the restaurant in a corner, my kind of place if there is one.  CAROLINE just laid down under the table, and only got up a couple of times.  Every now and then I would feel her licking my feet, which was kinda weird, but if she was behaving well I didn't really see the problem with it. 

Wednesday morning we were going to a park.  Karen had gotten to the park early, and as she was sitting there waiting on my Mom and I to get there, a busload of kids pulled up.  I don't handle being around children well at all, and Karen called us to let us know that we would be going to a different park.  When we got to the other park, we were right next to the playground, and there were a couple of children there.  It was really hard for me to focus, and I could just feel my anxiety building the whole time.  It finally got to a breaking point, and I had enough.  I really needed to get out of there. 

The first couple of hours on the way home were pretty rough.  I was obsessing over seeing and hearing the kids, and got pretty upset.  Once I calmed down, I started talking with my Mom a little bit, and by the time we got home I had stopped obsessing.  Overall the trip went great, aside from the stress and anxiety, it was really good.  CAROLINE was much better behaved this time, I think in a large part because she didn't have that ball to distract her.  She listened to me in the hotel and when I would take her out.

I can't really say that I am looking forward to the next trip, they are really hard on me.  I do know it is necessary, and I just have to keep the bigger picture in mind.  The more I am willing to do, the greater the reward will be in the end.