Tuesday, July 30, 2013

where we been and what's next

I'm on an extended, if not forced, stress vacation, so it was challenging to get in the appropriate mood to go camping, although I am almost always in the mood to go camping. Last Friday we headed out, trailer packed imperfectly as though we'd never done this before. Did you bring the stove? I thought it was in the trailer. I think it is. Okay. Fast forward to an RV park situated along the Skagit River, and no stove. After blame was successfully assigned, camp life went on. We do have a stove in the trailer, but it was hot inside and out, and I had planned to make curry for dinner and wanted more than one pan. Long story short, we had our damned curry. The thing with camping food is that things thaw in a certain order, and should be used within a certain time frame so you don't die of ptomaine poisoning or botulism or something. Chicken first, pork, then beef. Beef can hang out for ages, it turns out, if its really cold, and we do have a great cooler. Better than the baby blue fridge but not as cute.

So I limped along with a crab cooker, 50,000 btu's of propane blasting whatever meal I came up with. We ate well, as usual, first in the RV site, then on up to Birch Bay.

This time we took a side trip around the base of Mt. Ranier. Neither of us had been on that road, and it was nice, but not spectacular. I'm sure there was a place to get off the road and see things, but we weren't chased by grizzlies with claws the size of butcher knives as promised by asha. But you know how she is.

Camping was excellent, but interrupted. I like to get somewhere, set up, and sit there for four or five days. This was not possible due to the lack of pre-planning, driven primarily by forces beyond our control (work) and procrastination. Most of the good spots are taken at least nine months in advance. That's the soonest you can reserve sites that are reserve-able and almost all of them are nowadays. So I've made a calendar that tells me what to do for next year.

We made it to Birch Bay the second day and got lucky to find a crappy spot which was so much better than the RV camp that it was fabulous, then stood in line for another crap shoot the next day. A spot came open for two days and we snapped it up. It was a beautiful site with a view of the bay, sunset included at no additional cost. Dazzling. But only two days worth.

On the way north, we took a side road toward Larrabee State Park, because of our last name, just to check it out. The drive there was terrifying for Kurt, pulling the trailer and all, past rocks that jutted out into the lane just shy of the aluminum siding. The park was outstanding and I immediately decided I liked it better than Birch Bay. I've since changed my mind. It doesn't have the ease of access that I prefer, no great bike rides like the more level bay. But I'm gonna try to get #36 if I can for next year and try it anyway. The best sites at Birch Bay are a secret and I'm not going to tell you. Try me.

So, back to the story of my uncertain life: It seems I have developed a Severe Panic Disorder. For the past two years or so, work has become nearly impossible for me to, um, looking for the word... endure? tolerate? do? Whatever. I can't breathe when I'm there. I take deep breaths all the time and try to suppress that crushing sensation with a number of medications, none that work. I didn't realize this was happening, really. I just thought I was anxious. I am. I was. I thought being away from work would fix these symptoms, so I jumped at the recommendation for a leave of absence. The problem is, the anxiety has become much worse, I'm not having any fun being away from work, and the breathlessness has now been identified as panic. I didn't know. Now, I don't see myself as someone with a Severe Panic Disorder. I don't think that sounds like me at all. I think I'm a little too serious and self-absorbed and basically lazy, but the shrink I'm seeing (must see to justify the leave) thinks I've endured burnout past the point of no return. I don't know what this means for the immediate future. I don't know if she'll okay me to return to work or not, and I'm truly conflicted by that. So much of who I am is what I do. I've always said I'm a writer and an artist -- and I am -- but my day job.... may have been more than that. I feel my age just now, and I'm not sure I've really allowed the fact that I am sixty years old to settle into a comfortable place in my psyche.

Waxing philosophical.... my apologies....


nina said...

Well, I know panic, I know anxiety and I know breathlessness. There is no typical profile.
Out of the many useless advices that I may give you is this one: take each hour at a time. I don't really (want to) believe there is such a thing as point of no return. And 60 has it's benefits -- everything takes longer. To cure, yes, that, but also to do damage.
Move (your body) if you can. It really does help.
And keep writing -- not that there's necessarily a benefit to it for you, but there is for us. Me.

someone said...

Nina... thanks. Really. The point of no return was my characteristic hyperbole. Remember, I'm a writer, a liar by trade. So good to hear from you and share this back and forth of blog lives.