So this is a post I didn’t expect to write.
You guys know how excited I was about attending the RWA conference. I shared the literacy signing info, got new swag, based this month’s website contest on it. I made plans with my agent and my editors and lots of author friends.
Here’s what you didn’t know: I have clinical depression and PTSD. I haven’t shared that before, because…I don’t know why not. I guess because for me these conditions are a part of life, and most of the time, with the proper treatment, I manage them just fine. But some things trigger them.
Air travel—for reasons we definitely do not need to get into—is one of those things. Not the part about being in the air. The part about being in airports. I feel sick and terrified being in an airport.
I know this about myself, so when I started making my plans for RWA, I considered driving to New York (20 hours by car) or taking a train (even longer, plus more expensive than flying). When those options didn’t pan out, I decided to drive to the closest airport that would give me a direct flight to NYC. No connecting flights = less time in airports = better chance of timely arrival. Or so I thought. And this morning, I drove 200 miles to that airport.
And I waited for my flight. And I did fine. Ish. Even when the flight was delayed, and delayed again.
After we boarded (finally! Yay!), we sat on the tarmac because we weren’t allowed to take off because we weren’t allowed to land in NYC just yet. Too much air traffic going there, I guess.
Then the flight crew timed out. Then the flight was canceled, and we deplaned. Back into the terminal we all went.
At this point I called my agent and freaked out. She talked me down. I rebooked for the last flight going out today and waited two more hours.
Then that flight was canceled.
I will spare you a description of my feelings at this point. Just know that I was feeling the burden of the depression and the PTSD pretty badly.
At that point I could wait overnight in a city 200 miles from my house until a flight went out the following morning. It would take me to an airport in a different state even farther from NYC than I already was, then would get me to LaGuardia by…oh, early afternoon? Maybe? After I had already missed two of my meetings?
Or I could throw in the towel and drive back home.
Many of you would have waited. I understand that. Heck, Mr. R would have waited. He was pretty annoyed that I decided to come back. (I think he wanted the whole bed and all the pillows to himself for a few nights.)
I…just couldn’t. I had reached the limit of what I could go through. I could not go through two consecutive days of air travel, with yet another one facing me down at the end of the conference. That’s not something I’m capable of.
And that really sucks. I hate that I’m not capable of something that’s no big deal to other people. I’ve worked on this issue over the past several years, and I’ve gotten better.
But not good enough, evidently. And not good enough is exactly how I’m feeling at the end of the day, as I end up back where I started but so much more heartsick and disappointed. I did my best and it was only good enough to get me nowhere.
None of this is what I wanted. I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want to cancel plans. I don’t want to put my publishers and my agent and my editors to unneeded trouble or leave them in the lurch. I don’t want to miss the chance to connect with readers and my dear author friends. Oh, you guys. I could just cry about the whole situation.
Instead, though, I’ll hug Mr. R—and maybe let him have all the pillows anyway. And I won’t give up hope that I’ll make it to another RWA conference in the future.
But that time, I’ll drive.