One Step Forward, One Step Back 8/17

I’d love to say that I woke up today feeling stronger than the day before, but I’d be lying. In the night I woke up to pee and was overwhelmed by pains in my chest. It felt like my heart was on fire and being squeezed by a hand. I got the number for the ambulance on my phone and was ready to go to the hospital. I sat up for almost an hour trying to keep calm and not freak out. Eventually I laid down and allowed myself to relax and my heart slowly began to feel ok enough to allow me to sleep only to wake up again in a few hours with more chest pain. I have no idea what is going on, but it’s terrifying. Ever since Hamburg and when I found out about my friend’s death I have been in the cloud of darkness that has shrouded my thoughts and mind. I feel like whenever I make some progress forward I am hit again by something else. This journey through Europe has been insane and so difficult and today I almost left. 
Ryan and I got our things together as the rain began to fall on us in the skate park. We had no desire to stick around and quickly began to hitch. Luckily we were picked up quickly by an incredible man who was taking his one day a year away from his family to hike in the woods and clear his mind in an arrangement his wife and him had agreed upon when they first got married. He took us all the way to a huge town in the middle of the forest where ryan got coffee and I walked around trying to keep myself distracted. 

After an hour or so we began to hitch again. We were quickly picked up by a jolly man who was driving up a mountain to look at the wind and decide if he could paraglide today. He would take us halfway to Strasbourg if we wanted after he looked at the mountain. When we got to the top he decided it was to risky and spoke with a few friends he knew at the peak. Within twenty minutes a friend of his came up to us and said we could ride all the way to Strasbourg with him! We still had no place to stay in the city, but were happy to get back to France. 

We had an incredible ride there with the sweetest family ever seriously making me want one of my own. After an hour or so they dropped us off in the city center where we found a mall to get water and relax for a bit. My heart was throbbing in pain and as ryan went to shop around I called home to ask my mom what I should do. We talked for almost an hour and decided that I should keep on trying to relax in Europe and move past the anxiety and stress of my physical pain and my friend’s death. If things don’t get better I will go home in a few days. This journey is not worth me losing my mind or hurting myself. I haven’t even really been able to process my friend’s death since I found out. Every time I think of it I get overwhelmed with darkness and sadness. I don’t want to leave this trip, but if I can’t get better I’ll have to. 

After my talk with my mom ryan showed up sporting his new epic fedora. We walked around the mall to get groceries and eventually made our way outside to have lunch by the river. Ryan got a notification that we had a place to stay and I gave him the biggest hug of my life. We went to buy some food to cook for our host and met him outside the mall to go back to his flat and relax. 

He lived in a beautiful area inside a colombage styled home, my favorite things ever, in a small flat close to the city. We sat in chairs and talked for a long time before ryan and I showered and started making dinner. We made burritos wth beans, mushrooms, onions and cheese, a Texas classic, and ate at a table together. Our host was really excited to drink beers with us and go out for a night, but I couldn’t do much in my condition unfortunately. Normally I’m the one who is going crazy to party, but tonight I am the one toning it all down. Buuuummmmeeerrrr. 

After dinner we played music together and got to hear our host kill it on a penny whistle. Ryan and I love improving songs and gave our host a few good laughs in our ridiculous attempt of humor. I began feeling a little lighter, but was feeling the day catching up with me and desperately wanted to sleep. 

Around 10 pm we got to lay down, but my anxiety wasn’t done with me. I laid down for about two hours and fought with everything I had to turn my brain off and get to sleep. As I laid there feeling my brain heat up and feeling like it would explode at any minute I remembered my lesson from the day before and started praying and praying and praying. I’m writing this the day after and know now that I basically prayed myself to sleep asking God to be my comfort and my peace and my rest over and over and over. I was terrified of the night and having what happened the night before repeat itself, but it didn’t. However, I knew that if this continued for another few days I’d have to go home. I am so thankful for my parents who have made themselves available at any minute of the day or night and promised to do whatever they could to help me out even if that includes getting me back home. I am thankful for all my friends who have reached out and given encouragement and love in this dark time. I plan to continue on this trip and fight for the light, but staying aware of my limits and know that sometimes you need to get out of spaces that aren’t conducive to healing and peace. I don’t know if Europe will be that, but I plan to give it all I’ve got. Thanks for the prayers! 

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