The day started at 4 am; the 3 flights took me from Pacific time to Mountain time to Central time to Eastern time each requiring a change of planes. A rental car would be waiting for me at the end with a 90-minute drive to a small resort town in Indiana where I spend a day revitalizing Nurse Leaders from around the state. (If speaking for a living sounds glamorous to you, reread that paragraph! )
By the time I had navigated all these airports and received the run-around at the rental kiosk (my fault for not listening to the directions, btw), I was at least 3.5 of the 4 on the H.A.L.T. scale (hungry, angry, lonely & tired).
The fall foliage was not to be seen because it was now pitch black. The roads were dark, they must not have paid their electricity bill because there were no street lamps lighting my way.
The roads were pretty much deserted, winding and foreign to me. I just wanted to get to my hotel. I phoned my daughter and her wife to chat to fill the 'L' - the lonely void I was feeling.
When I noticed a car on my tail for too long, I pulled over to let them pass. To my surprise, they pulled up right behind me. I thought it was the police and told my phone company that I had to go.
A woman got out of the car and ran up to my window. I was scared, I had no idea what was going on. Despite the fact that I was scared, I still rolled down my window (a very Canadian thing to do), at which time she kindly told me that my tail lights weren't on. Bless her heart.
She didn't know and I don't even think I realize how scared I had been. Maybe we should add an 'S' to the H.A.L.T. scale?
As she pulled away, I burst into tears. It's been a long time since I was afraid like that and I know exactly why I was scared.
Because, just a few hours earlier, on the flight, I had watched a movie called Maggie Moore(s), with Tina Fey. They billed as a comedy and in my mind it totally was not! People kept getting murdered, specifically, women in cars being highjacked at gunpoint.
This is what I know to be 'junk food' for my brain. There is nothing good in it for me, it makes me feel horrible and it comes back to haunt me.
Why didn't I turn the movie off when I realized this was not the light-hearted comedy I was looking for?
Why didn't I turn it off after the first bloody murder scene turned my stomach upside-down?
Why didn't I turn it off when I could feel my body and mind telling me that this was unhealthy for me?
Very good questions.
I thought it would get better.
I had already invested 'this much' time in the movie (literally, when I started to question my movie choice and looked at the timeline, I was about 7 minutes into it. )
I thought maybe I could 'tough it out', be more 'grown-up' and less 'sensitive'.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
All that culminated in to extreme fear for me for the duration of my trip.
Fortunately, my family did not hang up when I told them I had to go. They heard the interaction with the lady, they heard my breakdown. I was so relieved when I heard them still on the phone. They talked me through it and calmed my sobbing self down. They stayed on the phone with me until I got to the resort and then promptly burst into tears when the bell boy asked how I was. Still not good, I guess.
Now...your life, your version, your plan...
What junk food' do you allow into your mind, that you know is not serving you well?
Do you stay with something (someone) because you have already invested so much time (effort or energy)?
Do you think it (they) will change if you just give it more time?
How do you address things when your H.A.L.T. (S) indicator lights up?
What will you, unequivocally, not allow into your brain?
One other thing that this experience made me realize was how rare it is for me to be afraid. Like hardly ever. How about you? Isn't that something wonderful to be grateful for? My appreciation for daily safety and security skyrocketed!
Three cheers for putting your mental health first, Steph
PS - Welcome to our new subscribers from Indiana! Because I had given myself a day of grace in between travel and speaking I was calm and relaxed and we had a great day together!