The drive from my sister's place was over an hour to the hospital. His surgery was scheduled for early in the morning, and it was important to me to be there, before he was taken into the OR. Well, sleeping in a strange bed did not go well. Besides that, I am NOT a morning person, at all.
Needless to say, I overslept the next morning. Not by much, but enough to make me dash out of her house without a shower. My heart was racing, and so was my car. I was really worried about my dad, and his survival. Fearing the worst, I really wanted one more minute of his company.
I had several freeways to follow. I believe I was traveling on the 10, and needed to get on the 91. I had traveled this same way many times before. However, this time was life changing, unfortunately. The huge overpass I needed to take went way, way, way high up and turned to the left. I couldn't see the ground, or any buildings or any trees. Nothing. All I could see was the road before me going up, even higher.
I slowed down, and crawled across the bridge. Cars were racing beside me at probably 50 miles per hour, some honking, while I drove with my hands clenching the steering wheel tighter than I had ever held anything. Seriously, I was driving probably ten miles an hour, if that. I felt completely terrified. I could barely breathe, my heart was beating out of my chest, tears were rolling down my cheeks. I was afraid to look at anything but the road before me, just ten feet ahead. I felt so small, so out of control, as though one wrong move would send me flying to my death.
The overpass took forever to cross. It felt like an eternity to finally reach the top, and see that the road descended from there. Then, I really started crying. I was unfamiliar to the agony I had just experienced.
My last panic attack was last summer. Michael's and my very first date was in August. He took me to the State Fair. It was the best first date I ever had. Each summer, we go back to the fair, to celebrate. This last summer, we went on a bunch of rides. Some rides made us drenched, some made us laugh uncontrollably, and others made us feel sick at our stomaches.
The fair lights off a wonderful fireworks display each night at 10 pm. While we were strolling the grounds as ten o'clock was approaching, we passed the ferris wheel. I thought, “How romantic! We can see the fireworks from the ferris wheel!” We bought tickets, and boarded the ride. It was only a minute or so later when the fireworks began, off into the right side of the night's sky. Michael was sitting to my left.
I became so petrified, I held the bar as tightly as I held my steering wheel years earlier. I tried so hard to be brave, but the tidal wave of extreme fear overwhelmed me. I was drowning. I buried my face into Michael's neck and shoulder. I sobbed, quietly. I wanted to wipe the tears away, but was too afraid to let go of the bar in front of me. Twice, I tried to leave the security of his safety, to peek at the firework display, but could not. The swaying of the “basket” we were in, the rising and falling of the ride, the wind in my face, understanding how far from the ground we kept becoming, all threw me for a loop.
Maybe I am afraid of heights, as bridges and the ferris wheel both made me “lose it.” I dunno. I have never driven the same route again. I found that by driving another mile or two, and doing a U-turn, could get me back on the correct freeway, without having to take that overpass. Plus, I will never ride the ferris wheel again. Why invite another episode? Not only are they terrifying, they are overwhelming and embarrassing. Where do these fears come from?