Yesterday was the final installment of my combined 40th birthday / Christmas presents and it was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. My wife had bought tickets to see Russell Howard at Bournemouth BIC and this meant leaving the small island and going to the big island for the day. However, it very nearly didn’t happen.

I awoke at my normal time and took myself downstairs to put the kettle on and get my head straight in peace. My daughter was fussing about in her usual way and trying to do everything at 200mph then wondering why she wasn’t get anywhere ( a little bit like when someone overtakes you on the motorway and you say to yourself “…they won’t get there any quicker..”) so I took myself to my conservatory and sat listening to music. Eventually she stopped fussing and went off to school so I thought I’d get dressed. The ferry to the big island wasn’t until 10.30 so I had plenty of time to prepare myself and that’s when it all began.

Dry mouth? Check
Tingly hands? Check
Thumping heart? Check
Fuzzy head? Check
Irrational thoughts? Check

I think you can all guess where this was heading and it isn’t a nice place if you’ve ever been there yourself.

Anyways, I slowly got dressed while my wife did her hair and I could see her watching my every move to see that I was ok. I breathed deeply and reminded myself that it was going to be a good day full of memories to look back on in years to come. Sitting in the car I fiddle with the hairband around my fingers and tried to challenge the thoughts in my head. On arrival at the ferry we were checked in and then it hit me again. I HAD to get the ferry if I was going to have any chance of a good time. I started to panic and my legs started shaking. I began to tell my wife that I couldn’t do it and she should phone my mum and get her to go with her instead. Unfortunately (or fortunately as it turns out) she wasn’t home which meant I had two choices. Stay or go. My wife calmly said to me that if I couldn’t do this what would happen in the summer when I want to go on day trips with my daughter anywhere else but the island? I can’t live my life on this small island being in fear of a bit of metal that takes me across the water. Our turn came to drive on and we went on the upper deck. As soon as possible I got out the car and headed for the outer seating area and sat in the sunshine with my book and a cup of tea that my wife got for me.

The journey was great (as it usually is) and we then disembarked at the other side and headed for Bournemouth.

I won’t bore you with all the details but the day was great and the show in the evening was absolutely amazing. We never stopped laughing from the minute he came on stage to the very last word. My wife and I spent a great day together which is quite rare these days due to work and general life and it is one we can remember for a long time.

My point to this (if there is one) is that this was my challenge for the day. I have had many challenges and another big one recently is that I’ve gone back to work. This was my first big challenge since my mental health crashed earlier this year. I challenge my thoughts daily to ensure I have a good day and try to push myself a little more. This particular challenge however was one that I had to face otherwise it could be a bit of a problem for someone who lives on an island. Anxious moments will come and go and it’s how I challenge those moments that will determine my recovery.

This was one challenge I accepted……..and passed 🙂