I’m 48 hours in front of a beautifully planned trip. On Monday morning I fly from my home in Florida to New York City (with a stop in Atlanta just for good measure). After five fabulous days in the Big Apple it’s off to London, England for another few days. There are all kinds of cultural delights in store: opera, Broadway, the West End, sightseeing and shopping. What could be better?

Would cowering in the corner of my bedroom really be better? Would being glued to my computer answering emails and posting on anxiety websites really be a higher quality life? Would staying tethered to car, house and familiar streets really be the best participation in an abundant world?

For someone who values her intellect these should be easy questions. However, since I’ve got a nice, healthy dose of Panic and Anxiety Disorder, these questions loom in my mind like real, serious discussion points.

Somewhere in my brain there is a single thought – posing as a rational idea– that says I’d be better off not to go. It is as if that thought-cell has some secret information and is trying to warn the rest of the cells in my body to avoid inevitable and imminent danger.

This is just not true!

I know that once I’m in the flow of the experience I’ll be okay. I will realize that I’m fine, and that I’m actually enjoying myself. I also know that the inexorable march of time will have this trip behind me before I can really experience it. (In my late 40’s I’m seeing the reality of this time-march and its rapidly increasing speed!)

However, those are future things – right now I’m simply in the anticipatory stage. And this, for me, is the most dangerous and most painful part of my life with Panic and Anxiety. It is never the crisis itself, or even the experience or event.

No, it is the lead-up, the anticipation. The underlying, gnawing “knowledge” that it is coming!

Like some B-movie out for Halloween this fabulous trip gets to dress up like an ancient mummy and lurch its way into my presence.

So, I’m going to practice my breathing, do some more laundry and maybe go to a REAL movie today.

So far, the actual sweaty, shaky panic is just an idea.

I’d like to keep it that way.