The great outdoors, and why I hate camping

I have a great number of unnatural and illogical fears.  Starts with change being heads down all the way to the impending Zombie Apocalypse (it’s coming y’all! BE VIGILANT!).  Somewhere in the middle of that is my tremendous fear of camping.

I’ve said in my “About the Blogger” post that I love The Great Outdoors.  I do.  It’s open and fresh and beautiful and makes me feel closer to God and the universe and all the things that make me feel whole, again.  The thing is…. I love it during the day.  I don’t like darkness, and the type of darkness out in the wilderness is almost consuming.  The blackness can swallow you up whole.  Plus…. who the hell is out there?  Crazy people!  That’s who!

Where did this fear come from?  It came from crazy people in the woods when I was six years old.  I went camping with my family in the Rocky Mountains.  We were camped near this beautiful stream that was so clear we could almost pluck fish out with our bare hands!  Not far away was a river.  The mountainside was covered with full pine trees and aspen trees that were peppered in with different shades of green.  We had a great day of fishing and lounging and swimming.  Nightfall came and we started a fire.  It was late.  We were stargazing, enjoying the stillness…

Suddenly, out of the darkness on the hillside not far away came a piercing scream of terror.  Not kidding.  It scared me to death.  And it wasn’t just me.  Our group had nine people who were so unnerved that we all slept in the car until daybreak when we quickly got out of there!  We never ever camped in that area again.  As a matter of fact, we never camped again, at all. 

So now – I’m scarred. 

The Great Sand Dunes - Colorado

See? Not kidding. It’s gorgeous here!

Last year some friends decided they were going to the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado.  They offered my family to join them and I said, “What the hell?  Let’s try it.”  And so we did.  Let me say that the beauty of this area is absolutely breathtaking!  I really wanted to go so I could photograph something different from my typical city photography.  This was magical.  But when night fell I was almost crawling out of my skin.  I had forgotten how dark it gets.  Without the fire or flashlights it was so dark that it hurt my eyes to without the light.  I tried to drink to calm my nerves and I think it did the opposite.  I had a headache.  I was terrified.  Scared. To. Death.

We finally crawled into our tent and the hubs fell asleep quickly.  I, on the other hand, didn’t.  I lied there listening to the wind and the sounds of other campers (me wondering which one of them was going to murder me in my sleep), and the wildlife.  It was hours I lied there. 

Wanna know what the scariest game to play in the dark is?  “Name that sound.”  Every crunch of the earth or snap of a branch had me convinced someone was coming for me.  The hubs held onto me all night without complaint.  Which was great.  But at the end of it all, I was so scared I could barely enjoy it.

And no sex.  Trust me.  Haven’t you seen the movies?  That’s how people die first!!

Unfortunately we were only able to stay one night, but fortunately, we were only able to stay one night.

My first foray into camping in 18 years was a mixed success.  I was still terrified, but I did get some of the most amazing photos I’ve ever taken in my career (as you can see from the one included in this post).

We didn’t go this year.  Maybe next year.  I’ve got Xanax, now, you know.  Maybe that will help.  Or maybe I can work through my irrational fear of being murdered in the dark?

Nah…. we’ll stick with Xanax.

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Back in the saddle again

Welcome back to the inner workings of my little demented interesting mind.

Quite the bunch of changes have occurred for me in the last several months – so let’s just jump in, shall we?

Last year, I had a job that I hated.  Like… hated.  The company was owned by well-meaning people, but really had the managing capability of a bunch of empty cardboard boxes.  I was out of my element and very very very stressed out. 

Now, I’m in a much better place.  I’m the marketing director at a dental practice.  As my gracious friend, Guapo, predicted, the job offer came in February.  I was thrilled.  This job pays more, offers more (in terms of professional growth), and has given me the comfort and support I need.

To my surprise, however, my depression worsened.  I waved it off, at first, to the transition (newsflash – I don’t handle change well).  But after I was quite comfortable in my new position, I was still struggling.  Scary, alarming and unexpected struggling.  Like… I’ll-bet-I-can-throw-myself-from-this-bridge-and-end-it-now type of scary.  My struggles were noticeable by my close friends, as well as the hubs.  I found myself isolating – totally unnerved by people.  In fact, my anxiety of social situations has caused me some pretty awful experiences.  This is all new – the social anxiety, at least.  I love people!  My job has required it! And I never minded, until now.  I find that I avoid new people and new situations.  I’m so concerned that people won’t accept me.  Or that I will not be liked.  The BFF says that I need to not give the power of my self-esteem to other people.  ….that ain’t wrong.  But…nonetheless…. it’s where I’m at now.  It’s a slow steady movement to work through it.  Baby steps.  That’s what I say.

And just to make it interesting, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in May.  After months of pain, it got to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer.  It’s been hard to walk, hard to move, hard to get out of bed in the morning, hard to function during the day.  It’s be a big ole shit sandwich.  I’m still new in the diagnosis, and finding myself feeling hopeless and useless.  I’m tired, all the time.  I just started taking Lyrica (after a somewhat upsetting “experiment” with Celebrex), and I’m seeing decent results.  I’m not waking up pain-free.  But it’s helped just a little.  Which, these days, feels like a lot.  Instead of feeling like I was beaten with a log while I slept, I just feel like I ran a marathon. It may not seem like a pleasant difference, but I assure you, it is.
The other part of this is that I struggle with how to explain it to other people. I mean, how do you say, “There’s no reason, there’s no cure, there’s not a lot of understanding.  Yes, I’ve tried Advil.  No it doesn’t work.  I know… I don’t look sick.  Trust me… I feel sick.”  Additionally, because this is just how things go, the meds situation has taken some getting used to.  I never wanted to ever be a girl who had to take meds every day (I never even liked the pill!), but this is where life has taken me….

….and so it goes.

It has been an exhilarating few months of highs and lows.  I’m getting by.  And glad to be back to writing.  It is truly a release for me, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of blogging.