April 26, 2016


i'm just another Alice who's trying to find her way out of her head
 and into a wonderland. 
                                  ~V. Nada
wonderland trail - fall 2015

as i mentioned in healing takes courage, i've been dealing with a flare up of panic attacks, uncontrollable vomiting and endless, pink tears recently. i'm not entirely sure what is all contributing to it but it had the markings of what a strep flare (pandas) looks like with me (sore throat, sudden onset panic attacks, intensifying anxiety and rapid weight loss) i'm pretty sure there are other factors at play as well but for the time being, i'm back on amoxicillin and awaiting a phone appt with DR H (lyme doc) later this week. as per usual, the amoxi brought me back to baseline anxiety & stopped the panic attacks within 12 hours of first dose.

that's the magic of moxi! lol 

when my anxiety is heightened, i feel caged and edgy. i have an inner trembling that i cannot shake and i can't sit still. since august (2015) biking has been my escape from that. so last week when i had a sudden and abrupt intensifying in my anxiety i pushed myself to go for a ride - even though i wasn't feeling all that well physically.

about 45 minutes into the ride - i had my first outburst of uncontrollable sobbing followed by a panic attack (this would be the first of what would be many in the days to come but the first time it's ever happened on a ride)

the fact that it happened during a bike ride fully did me in. 

Wonderland - Spring 2016
riding is the one place and the only time i am totally free from anxiety - my head is clear and i feel happy and free. and yet, there i  was on my knees on the side of a trail sobbing and shaking and feeling like i was losing my mind.

i was unable to escape this sense of overwhelming grief and alarming sense of doom, my thoughts spinning wildly, chest raggedly heaving, stomach painfully constricting, and an inner trembling so intense it knocks the wind out of me and causes my legs to give out beneath me. a panic attack is like toppling head first into a rabbit hole -
Rabbit Hole - the term comes from Alice in Wonderland where she fell down the Rabbit Hole into some bizarre stuff. It is commonly used as an expression or euphemism for a portal to a bizarre world with significantly strange happenings and extremely surreal situations.

its a chaotic whirlwind of surreal images and overpowering emotions and it tosses me mercilessly to and fro - the gale force winds of anxiety quickly sweep away my ability to discern truth from lies - during an anxiety or panic attack, i truly believe that this is me, this is how i always am and how i will always be - i am wholly convinced of that as fact not fiction. i don't lose touch with reality but i can't find my way out of the rabbit hole...and now that was happening on a ride!?!

are you freaking kidding me?

that overwhelmed me with a sense of desperation, sorrow and rage.

is there no part of me that can be untouched by the scourge of strep? is there no place left untainted by the sting of lyme? is there nothing sacred nor any place protected from where the loathsome tendrils of anxiety seeps in and chokes life into a limp, lifeless, tear-stained rag doll.

it eventually passed and i got my back on my bike and rode down the mountain. but i was left rattled. unsettled. grieved. and fearful that i had lost the one thing that literally keeps me sane.

could it happen again? 

biking is my happy place. the sense of wonder and joy and freedom i experience on my bike is something i cherish. 

could that have been taken from me now?

i've lost so much to these diseases - could i have now lost this thing that has been my beauty in the ashes?

Wonderland - Spring 2016
those questions and thoughts haunted me over the next few days...i knew i'd have to set about to answering them with another ride but i was too physically and emotionally drained. 

6 days passed.  

then sunday dawned and i looked at the hubster and said, 

"today we ride for tomorrow we may die."

ok. i didn't exactly say that...i'm almost but not quite that dramatic. lol.

we tossed around some ideas on where to ride. i had it in my mind and heart, that i wanted to head up to squamish and ride a trail called 'wonderland'. we had ridden up there once before (fall 2015) and i just remember that wonderland had filled me with wonder - with it's spectacularly vivid hues of green, eclectic mix of vegetation and towering, moss laden trees it had felt magical and majestic. plus the name of it in context with my life seemed rather fitting (and yes i am dramatic enough to think of that).

off we went.

the trail was everything i remembered it to be 
i was everything i am when i am on my bike. 

free. happy. hooting and hollering. alive. giddy.

i was ripping along and thinking, "oh, its just so pretty i should slow down and take it all in...maybe even stop and take some photos..." - but then i thought, 'nah.' - once i'm riding it's hard to stop. i just wanna go. and i wanna go fast.

mere moments after having those thoughts, i got some air going over a drop and my tire hit the end of a root that was poking through the loam. instant flat. i have tubeless tires so that takes skill! 

but the flat did not deflate my mood.  i took the moment to stop and smell the forest. hear the birds. to be still. i snapped some photos...and i even learned how to change a flat.

wonder of all wonders, i was able to be fully in the moment without movement or sound. 

sometimes, i listen to music when i ride (just one headphone in) because it helps me with balance and rhythm. ironically, when the flat occurred, i was listening to twenty one pilots song called 'ride'...

"i've been thinking too much. help me.
oh, oh, i'm falling, so i'm taking my time on my ride"

so i took my time on my ride down wonderland. then we booted up to alice lake and had a nice climb up a trail called '50 Shades of Green' and a fun shred down a run called 'Credit Line'...which was full of rocks, berms and root drops that made my heart sing (and no more flats - so no pictures from those trails!)

it was an incredible day soaking in the breathtakingly vibrant vegetation and rad trails...

best of all, it was all ride and NO cycling thoughts!

Wonderland is also a walking trail. so if you don't ride you can still enjoy it - i highly recommend checking it out!

it's tick season so be tick aware! wear repellents and do tick checks!


Kathy said...

I love you, friend. Your brave is beautiful and so are you. Keep peddling. You'll get there. XOXO

s. said...

thx for your friendship and encouragment Kathy - "keep peddling - you'll get there' - i love the way you word things!