Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Airplanes, and Elevators, and Migraines, Oh My!

     When we got out second dog, Kobi, our first dog, Dali, used him as somewhat of a coping mechanism.  She was terrified of most situations outside of the home and even had a hard time letting anyone touch her except for Eric and me.  One of the trainers at the kennel we would take them to when we would go out of town would always say, "You need to send Dali her by herself..." As a dog trainer I knew that was because they wanted to teach Dali to cope on her own.

     Seems she wasn't the only one that needed help in that area.

     I would never typically describe Eric and My's relationship as "co-dependant," but I have to say, and I'm not proud of this, is that for years I have used him as a coping mechanism just like Dali used Kobi.  Anything I feared I did with him and would certainly never do without him.  That option came to a screeching halt last week.  I had to travel to California on business.  Accountants don't travel as a rule unless you are an auditor, then that's a whole different enchilada, but typically your scope is right there in your cube.  I wasn't an accountant anymore, though, I'm now in Sales.  Salespeople travel....and Eric can't go with me.

     You are probably aware from my series last year on fear that there are some key things I'm afraid of, you know, besides sharks.   You may have gathered that I am afraid of flying and elevators, but what you may not have gathered is that I'm afraid of getting sick, particular having the kind of migraine that can send you to the hospital like I did a year and a half ago without Eric being there.  Doing this was completely not going to be easy at all and, I'll be honest, I did a lot of private crying and praying because I was having such a hard time with it all.  I shut down sometimes like I imagine Dali would have if we ever had sent her to the kennel alone all those years.

     Then the day came.  I had to go.  I kissed my husband and dog goodbye and cried halfway to the airport.  I was mad that other people my age didn't have these issues.  In my mind I was marching to my certain death, but no one else seemed to feel that way.  That or they were really good at hiding it.  I couldn't be the only one afraid of flying, could I?  I actually scheduled three of my co-workers, who were also going out there, on the same flight.  I couldn't be a blubbering mess in front of my co-workers.  I'll admit it; potential shame is an awesome fear killer.  It helps as well these people were funny and jokers, and faked screamed and shook my seat as we took off in order to make me laugh.

    Did I just use them to cope, too, like I do my husband?  I mean, Dali would be nice to anybody while staying at their house, then the minute Eric and I would be in the picture, she would turn around and nip them.  True story.  She was survivor.  Only problem was she didn't understand that she didn't need to do that.  She was going to be taken care of and not ever hurt by the person who's house she was staying at.  The only people she ever trusted completely not to hurt her were Eric and myself.  That fear was so ingrained in her very being, she just couldn't see past it...

   ...Oh my God...once again...I was the Bulldog.

   So, honestly, here is what I did before I was even seated, waiting to take off with my co-workers.  When I say this, know I don't care of what faith you are, or aren't, but it helps to have some kind of belief system, even if it's a tremendous faith in yourself, to get beyond a fear this deep.  For me, I prayed until I understood and felt that God was with me and I would be fine.  That took a tremendous amount of praying until I really felt His presence in my gut as if no one could hurt me.  Not this time.  Not this trip.  I don't think I could have gotten to that place if I didn't take the time to be with the issue, process it, roll it over in my mind, then really give it to someone higher than myself.  I wrestled with it for days before I left and somewhere in the airport, before I got on that plane, I made a peace with it.  I declared it done.  Over with.  I made a serious "leap of faith."

     I just knew I was going to be okay.  I weathered take-offs, turbulence, hotel elevators (all alone by myself I might add), and didn't get a single migraine.  I not only made it home okay, but I had a great time out in California.  I'll tell you what though, I hugged Kobi when I got home like I never had before.  I think I was trying to tell him I was sorry for everything with Dali.  The stress it must have been on him to take care of such a fearful companion...

     .....Go on, "Bubba," and relax.  Yours and "Daddy's" work are done.

Happy Fishing!





  1. I admit I do the same thing with Jeremy. But sometimes having a 'touch stone' isn't a bad thing. I get where you're coming from. I'm glad you were able to face your fears (if even because you were forced to). :)

  2. I just feel like sometimes it must be awfully draining for him although he says he doesn't mind. He's a good man for sure! And I meant what I said about the possibility of public shame being a great fear killer. I couldn't be a complete idiot in front of my co-workers and thta's probably why I took so much time with it even before I went. I don't typically like to face fears because I'm forced to, but that's life, right? ;)

  3. Ummm...are we parallel universe twins living in the same universe by accident? I just dealt with this about two years ago when I began having to travel back and forth to SA from Lubbock. Although I have no fear of flying or driving that long, I had a fear of leaving for a week at a time. What if Mila needs me? What if I can't talk to David? What if something happens to me and I'm all alone? I was used to David driving all the time, not me. I cried for the first few trips when I left. It got better. And after being off the career path for years - add THAT to traveling, too. You get it. Of course, it led us to being back here in San Antonio, where I believe God wants us to be...but in that time - He taught me quite a bit as well. LOVE YOU! Proud of you!

  4. I did experience some of that. I was afraid actually of leaving Eric alone for many reasons. Whew! Learning's tough, right? and yes, Nay, we are definitely parallel universe twins... ;)