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I feel defeated.

Yesterday, I cried and begged my husband to drive us from Florida back to California.

I did not want to get on that plane.

The sad thing was that I knew my husband would have agreed to take a week off and drive us home if he didn’t have a deadline that he has been working toward and stressing over for months. He hates to see me struggle.

I took an extra dose of medicine.

I got on the plane. I made it to North Carolina, and I got on another plane.

I am back in California and I don’t intend to leave the ground for a while.

My husband told me he will take me on a vacation to San Francisco this month. Correction, my husband told me we he will drive me to San Francisco later this month.

Although, I wasn’t able to overcome my symptoms this time, I did learn something very important while traveling.

I can’t tolerate noise.

In the airport people were talking at all different levels. Some sounded like they were muffled like in another room, others sounded like they were screaming, and still others sounded like they were having a conversation close by me, because of course they were.  All those voices created a very loud sound.  I felt like the voices, because some were distinct and others were like whispers, that they were inside of my mind. It made me feel like I was hearing voices. It was a terrible sensation and I know that is what started my panic attack. I felt like I was hearing voices again, my voices, the ones I can’t trust to keep me safe, and the ones that mean I am psychotic, and need to get to a hospital or doctor.

I am alone five days a week. I sit in a room in complete silence and I write, read or I am on the Internet. I don’t listen to music. I don’t turn on the television. It is completely silent.  That is my world the majority of the time, and that is the way I am comfortable.

I first realized that sound could cause a panic attack for me when I went out to lunch before a poetry workshop with two of my women friends. The restaurant was so loud we had to lean in deep to hear each other talk. After we left, and started to go to our workshop, I began to feel anxious. When we arrived at the workshop people were laughing and talking and my anxiety increased to a point that I couldn’t sit still. One of my friends went on a walk with me, and I told her if people would just be quiet I would be okay. I knew they weren’t going to be quiet though. My friend had to drive me home, I had to miss the workshop and take more medicine to calm down.

It was like that only worse in the airport.

Those voices, those hundreds of voices all sounded like they were inside of my head…whispers, shouts, conversations all competing for my attention.  My anxiety soared because I could not block out the sound of those people talking.  Of course I knew that the voices were coming from real people, not disembodied voices in my mind, but it didn’t help. My anxiety was too strong for me to overcome alone.

I’m sitting here, at my desk, in my chair, in my living room, and the only sound is the clicking of the keys on my keyboard and an occasional car that drives down the street outside. I may feel defeated, but I learned one more trigger that causes me to panic and that is a valuable tool to tuck inside my tool chest and to function in the world as a woman trying to beat schizophrenia.