“Don’t Go To Flo”

Don't Go

Last January, almost exactly one year ago, I did something I never thought I could do. This ‘something’ may sound silly, and maybe even a little bit pathetic to anyone who has never experienced an anxiety disorder, but today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. And since today is all about ending the stigma of mental illness, I’m going to talk about one of my more embarrassing anxiety moments. 

Last January, Jefferson (my husband) went on a week-long trip to Florida. There was a big family ministries conference going on down there and our pastor at the time thought it would be a great experience for Jefferson.

As soon as I heard about this, I was, of course, super supportive.

Nah, just kidding. I was horrified. I immediately said that this could not happen. That I could not handle it. That it wasn’t safe. That he needed to stay here.

The flight to Florida is only about two hours, but I heard there were sometimes hurricanes there in January. And I also heard that our winter weather was supposed to be pretty terrible around the same time they were scheduled to fly there and back. Even though I wouldn’t be on the plane, I was absolutely terrified that this is how my husband would die. A terrible, fiery plane crash.

Even if he did survive the flight (which I was convinced wasn’t even a possibility), what would I do for the week? This is the part that I think sounds sadder and possibly pathetic. I couldn’t handle a week without my husband? One. single. week. What happened to good ol’ independent Lauren? As much as I wanted to reclaim my independence, I didn’t think it was possible. I was having severe panic attacks just thinking about it. I knew I just couldn’t do it.

But after a few weeks of begging my husband to stay, we finally had a serious talk about the possible trip. Eventually my mostly joking (but kind of serious) “Don’t go to Floooooooridaaaaaa, pleeeeease” turned into a silly saying of, “Don’t go. To Flo. Don’t go to Flo! don’tgotoflo!”

As the trip came closer and closer, we couldn’t joke about “Flo” anymore. We had to make a decision. And I knew the right decision was to let him go. This was a great retreat and would be the perfect opportunity for him to connect deeper with our senior pastor.

So he went.

And I survived. 

I not only survived, I actually had an amazing week. I stayed over at my parent’s place (an hour away from where we were currently living) so I wouldn’t be home alone for a week. I caught up with old friends I hadn’t seen in ages, I drove all over my old neighbourhood, went to my favourite mall, visited family friends, took care of my idiot adolescent dog all by myself, and enjoyed time to just breathe.

I made my husband’s birthday present (a scrapbook with special notes and items I had been saving since we began dating) and planned a secret trip for him. I got coffee with my mom and got my work done, even though I had just started back at my job a few weeks prior.

That was a year ago. A week away from my husband may seem like nothing, but it was huge for me. My anxiety got the better of me for weeks before the trip. I worried about everything that could go wrong, and how much I would miss him, and how I would work and watch my dog at the same time, but everything was okay.

And I also did reclaim some independence during that week. It was a great reminder that I can do things on my own and I’ll be just fine doing them.

I haven’t talked a lot about Florida because I was pretty embarrassed. Embarrassed that I was so worked up about a single week away from my husband. But this is anxiety. It doesn’t make sense and sometimes, it makes me feel like a 10-year-old. But I’m not ashamed, and I’m still fighting.

16 thoughts on ““Don’t Go To Flo”

  1. I can tell you that you don’t need to feel embarrassed, but you feel the way you feel. :-) However, you aren’t alone. My husband has to take a 1-week trip for work to India, which is pretty far from the U.S. Because of my depression and anxiety, I depend on him a lot. The dates aren’t final yet, but we’re already making plans for that week, like my staying with my in-laws. Like you, I’ll have to take care of the dog by myself, which makes me a little anxious, but knowing that my in-laws will be there to help calms me. So, even though we don’t know exactly when he’ll be away, I don’t feel too anxious about it because we have a plan in place. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want him to go!

    1. Yes, I totally understand how you feel. I am also pretty dependant on my husband, especially when my anxiety/depression is worse. But I made it through – and you definitely can too! :) My dog was a giant terror that week LOL (he was at the height of the “teenage” phase) but overall everything was still a good experience, and my husband had a really great time too.

  2. Credits to you for writing so openly about this. Many us (self included) do like to keep this sort of thing out of the public eye.
    And now you will be making more folk feel better about themselves because they can relate to this and know they are not alone.
    Well done Lauren.

    1. Thank you so much! I did debate writing this for a long time (a whole year, apparently) but it was something I knew I wanted to talk about and I am glad I did!

  3. Way to go you!! 😊 Your right anxiety doesn’t make sense. I look back at times and think how silly of me to have been thinking a certain way and worried. You do learn and when you face your fears that is when you grow. My husband reminds me “You are stronger than you think” And I finally believe it! Anxiety can steal my joy, peace, and time but in the end I have to change it to make me stronger.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, it definitely doesn’t make sense – but I am glad I went through this, it always helps facing your fears. When I was a kid, my dad always said, “don’t let fear win” – and I’ve always tried to hold onto that!

  4. Fighting anxiety can be easier said than done sometimes. At least you were aware, mindful, and willing to “take a leap of faith.” PTL. Your willingness to share may help someone else who feels like they are losing their mind to know they are not and they’re not alone in feeling like they are. Praying for you and Jefferson! God loves you!

  5. Oh my gosh, I can SO relate to this!!! I’ve never been very independent, but since my moods and anxieties are better under control right now than ever before, I’m trying to gain some. I’m so proud of you – for this experience and for sharing it. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you!! Since last year, I feel like I have had a few setbacks in my anxiety too, but I’m trying to take those ‘baby steps’ back to more independence now :)

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