The not so magic roundabout

July 10, 2011

Yesterday was our first trip away with two children. We had been invited to the wedding reception of my good friend Make Do Mum and I was so excited to see her on her wedding day. We looked at hotels but it was expensive and then Paul asked how close my Aunt lived and when I looked on the map it was only 15 miles away so I got my mum on the case and we arranged to stay with her.

Yesterday we packed everything except the kitchen sink into the car and off we went. We spent a lovely few hours with my cousins and their children and had a barbeque. We then went of to where we were staying, got settled in and all spiffed up and off we went. I agreed to drive there, Mr C was driving back so I could enjoy a drink or two.

Sadly, what we did not appreciate is that 14 miles to us is very, very different when you are in London. Yep, I am sure a lot of you will be shaking your heads and thinking what silly people but I just didn’t get it. We were staying in Ruislip and the reception was near Putney. Oh my god. The cars, the traffic, the roads. We had the satnav on which was okay to begin with. We crawled along and I got more and more wound up. We hit the North Circular and the satnav was telling us one thing and the picture on the screen something different. I started getting more and more anxious. Thankfully we worked that out and went the right way.

Then we hit more traffic. The satnav permanently told us that we were 5 minutes away. Mr C was checking on his phone and it said we were two miles away. Kate woke up and started screaming, as I had perfectly timed our journey round her feeds thinking it would take us 30 minutes. It was already an hour since we left. I was having to make myself breathe properly, I was totally freaking out and I knew that a full blown anxiety attack was not far away.

We came up to a roundabout. The satnav said take the fourth exit. I checked the sign, counted the exits and worked out where we were going. We went round the roundabout and as we got to the THIRD exit the satnav said turn left. And my head EXPLODED. Kate was crying, I was in the wrong lane, there was loads of traffic queueing down the third exit that the satnav wanted me to go down and I just couldn’t do it so I took the fourth exit.

And ended up on the M4 traveling in the wrong direction having the worst anxiety attack that I have had in the past ten years.

By the time we got somewhere we could turn around we had driven past miles of traffic queueing back the other way. Kate had stopped crying as we were moving and we just had to make the decision to give up and go back to where we were staying (taking an easy route via M4, M25 and M40 instead). In 20 minutes we were back where we started. We changed Piran and Kate into their pyjamas, gave them both milk and packed up the car. Within 30 minutes we were back in the car and headed home.

I was (and I still am) so very, very upset that I missed out on such a special day. In the past 15 years that I have suffered from panic attacks and anxiety I have missed so many celebrations because I was too afraid to go. For once I was really looking forward to it, was all dressed up. I was getting to go out in the evening with my husband. I wanted to see Piran dance at the disco, and get a kiss from the gorgeous bridesmaid K. I wanted to show off Kate in all of her finery. I wanted to see my friends and do the leg dance to MC Hammer. I wanted to take beautiful photographs for my friend with Mr C’s lovely camera. I wanted to share in their day and see a couple I have known for 11 years finally tie the knot.

Today I am very sad. I am suffering the effects of a very emotional day and of spending 5 hours in total in the car. I am worried about the fact that since having Kate my anxiety levels seem to get worse not better. We talked about that in the car on the way home. Mr C was worried that I have been depressed and that I wasn’t telling him. I don’t think that I am but I am worried about myself. I had agreed to go and talk to someone about the way I feel at the moment. I need to trust myself to know what is normal and what is not. I know that two babies is hard work, but I think it is more than that. But I am afraid that people will think I am not trying hard enough to cope. That everyone finds this to be this difficult and they just get on with it. That I am somehow being useless and pathetic and should just pull myself together.

I dressed Kate back up this morning and took her with me to do the shopping. Her Auntie A bought her this beautiful dress and she has almost grown out of it without wearing it. So today, I made myself make up for one thing I didn’t get to do yesterday and I showed Kate off in all her finery. Who cares if it was just to random strangers in Tesco.

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