My journey from Massachusetts to North Carolina this past weekend was quite an adventure of allowing grace at each turn. Shortly before the move I fainted into the arms of my chiropractor. Sounds romantic? Not so much. He discovered that one of the reasons for my randomly somewhat unexplained fainting spells was that my C1 and C2 were actually jammed together sort of trapping my spinal cord. After over a decade of wondering and the diagnosis of Dysautonomia being thrown around, this felt far more concrete. The adjustments he made have already changed my life.
But that was just the beginning of this journey.
My brother and I got up early on November 28th. It was still dark out when I glanced at the dashboard to make sure we were all set to go. It was 5am as my SUV followed his truck with a trailer attached to it out of the parking lot. The night sky and cool air were welcomed as I was already tired from lack of sleep.
The drive was long. My hands shook at every bridge this time. My last drive in the opposite direction was a more scenic route to detour from the enormous bridges. But I braved them this time. I’m surprised my fingers didn’t fall off a couple of times and I kept encouraging myself to slow my breathing down. The drawbridge into Maryland was by far the scariest for me. My car accident on a bridge years ago has left me with some emotional scars and I was reminded again and again to be gentle with myself but to also keep going.
We reached Richmond Virginia at around dinner time. My hands were still trembling and my knees were aching for rest.
“Having Aspergers affects every aspect of my life but driving seems to be the hardest part for me. It simply never gets easier for me when it comes to certain things.”
I remember sinking into the mattress and looking at my heart rate on my FitBit. It was still well over 100 as I drifted off to sleep knowing more driving was to come.
Some folks love to drive. I love country driving but city driving gives me severe anxiety and that does for overpasses as well. But I did it! I felt brave with each bridge. I kept thinking of all the people jamming out to music totally unaffected as they drove and my hands were clammy and my face felt numb until we reached the other side and my body would slowly loosen tension. Merging from lane to lane is also hard for me so 95 was a total nightmare.
But you know what? The final stretch was like Heaven.
My GPS said I had to go straight for about 120 miles and my heart sank at first until I saw what it was! A tiny two-lane highway that barely moved at all with glorious farms and sunlight glittering through the trees as we drove. That’s when I finally felt okay to put on holiday music for the first time in the entire drive.
“Pulling into the new apartment complex lot I wanted to cry. It was so peaceful and beautiful. My body is still decompressing as I sit here writing this love letter to you all of sorts. A reminder to allow yourself some grace.”
One of the first things I bought was the softest blanket and I ordered a weighted blanket on sale. It’s amazing to finally be home and my body can continue to heal.
What is something gentle you can do for your body today?
Perhaps brewing a cup of tea, going to bed early, going for a walk to get some anxious energy out? Life is so fast paced these days we forget to offer ourselves the moments we can slow down and grab hold of grace. Sometimes it’s just a few deep breaths. Sometimes it’s being kinder when we look in the mirror. Our nation, in fact our world, has been through so much this year. At times like these, grace and compassion are like a balm for our souls.