Yesterday, I had a major anxiety attack, and it consumed most of my day. Two days ago, 3 February 2015, I went to the only hunting and camping store in town to get a water filter and a hunting bow. I am in Veracruz, the metropolitan area has a population around 700,000 people. Mexico City, by contrast, has a metro population of 21,200,000 people, and it is classed as an Alpha City, which is the same category as Chicago, Frankfurt, and Los Angeles: Mexico City is a world class city. In Mexico City, I went to dozens of stores looking for a water filter for camping, but I was unable to find one. I did see some hunting bows and crossbows, but I did not buy one because they were either too expensive, low quality, and only powerful enough to be a toy.
Veracruz has dozens of fishing stores–it would be simple to buy the exact fishing equipment I wanted, if I wanted fishing equipment. My original plan was to go to the Pacific coast and I would have spent nearly all of my time near the coast, so I planned to fish for food. I came to the Gulf of Mexico instead because of many reasons, and now my route to Guatemala is mostly away from the coast, so fishing equipment is not useful to me. I went to over a dozen stores here looking for a water filter, but none were for sale. At the hunting store, they had arrows for sale, but not one bow or crossbow. They told me to come back in two weeks but they did not explain why. I did buy a pot for cooking or boiling water, so at least I have something for treating water. Nevertheless, I was pretty bummed because I am missing two important things: clean water and a way to hunt for food.
Yesterday, I assembled the water bladder (canteen) I bought, and I discovered that the valve is missing. That was even more disheartening because the hunting store did not sell any type of canteen–not even the old school metal canteens. Therefore, I do not have a simple way to carry water, which is not ideal for hiking.
Yesterday morning, I was productive–until I assembled the canteen. My symptoms of anxiety and depression went into overdrive. I felt hopeless and that I was going to fail before I even started walking. Most people have setbacks when working on a project, and negative feelings are common: frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness, and other feelings. The difference is that my anxiety and my depression caused my feelings to be disproportionate to the circumstances. I felt that I wanted to die. I felt that I would die of dehydration in some random jungle. I felt complete despair.
I know many techniques for coping and for dampening these feelings, plus I have medication to help me. I used everything, but it was not enough. By 11 am, I was asleep, and I slept for much of the day. When I would wake up, the best I could manage was “avoidance,” which is partially a symptom of anxiety and PTSD and partially a short-term coping mechanism. In the long-term, avoidance is not positive because it delays or inhibits healing. I am aware of this, and I try to use avoidance only when nothing else is working. I spent at least 12 hours suffering from my symptoms or attempting to cope with my symptoms. I accomplished very little during that time.
Very late last night, I was able to accomplish a few things, and I was able to preparing my emotions and rational mind for today: prepared to tackle the last few issues and to get on the road. Today, I have had to push myself quite hard and use multiple techniques, but I have been productive and I am on track to accomplish all of my goals for today.
Frankly, I have many feelings that I am not accustomed to feeling. Besides the feelings that are overreactions caused by depression, anxiety, PTSD, and panic disorder, I have some feelings that are difficult for me to describe.
I believe one of the feelings is fear. I know it seems silly that I do not know what fear feels like, but if you look at my life, it makes sense. I have accomplished many things that should have been impossible because I did not feel any fear. To me, courage is feeling fear but acting anyway. Throughout my life, many people have told me that I am courageous: I always take it as a compliment and thank them, but since I have rarely felt any fear, I rarely felt that I was courageous. I do not think I have often felt fear, so it is difficult for me to be sure that what I am feeling right now is fear. Furthermore, if I feel fear, what am I afraid of?
What do I feel? Fear, worry, hesitation, trepidation, frustration, despair, useless, unimportant? I do not know. I do know that some of my feelings are not a result of my symptoms, that some of those feelings are strongly negative, and that I do not know how to handle the feelings.
Despite the anxiety attack (which is distinct from a panic attack), and despite the unidentified negative feelings, I am still confident that this is the best plan–because of my financial circumstances. When I get some inertia and when I get away from electricity and the internet, I believe that good things will happen. (I do not have a book to read, so I do not have an escape from my thoughts–I will need to find a solution for this issue.)
I have about US$320. I must spend MXN$306 to exit Mexico (it is the law), and I hope I do not need to bribe the Guatemala immigration officer to let me in to Guatemala (it should be free). I need to buy water and food, and I need to buy a canteen, water filter, and a hunting bow. A hunting bow can be modified for bow fishing, so I could use it for both land and sea food. Most websites list that total cost of that equipment as at least US$500. Of course, I am trying to find less expensive alternatives, but those items will certainly use much of my remaining cash. I also do not have enough money in my budget for an important medicine: modafinil.
A little help, just a couple of dollars per week, or a one-time gift could help me a ton. Without the help of some of my friends, none of this would be possible. I ran out of money about 18 months ago, and only because of the support of good people have I been able to have shelter and eat food. A little more help from a few more people, and I will be successful.