Let’s try this again. Voyage #2. Will I or will I not, freak out again?! The Claustrophobic Glamper (me) goes to Palomar Mountain.
If you’ve read my earliest posts, you know that I’m claustrophobic. For some reason, per pound of body weight, and per square inch of body surface, I seem to require more air and space around me than the average bear.
And if you’ve read my earliest posts, you know that I completely freaked out my first night in our new RV. I’ve left you hanging with that saga, ’cause there was so much other newer funny stuff that I had to write about.
Nothing new and funny to write about today, except that I did ask some of you to pray for me because I was getting my hair cut today. And thank you for that, ’cause I love my new crazy ‘do. (pic below)
A week or two following our maiden voyage to Santa Barbara, we did a weekend trip to Palomar Mountain to practice our glamping skills. After a visit to the Palomar Observatory (a cool place!), we drove over to Palomar Mountain State Park, and got ourselves a campsite at Doane Valley Campground . Gorgeous campground!
Palomar Mountain Observatory
Doane Pond @
Doane Valley Campground
Fiona @ Campsite #1 @ Doane Valley Campground
Long story short….because it got dark and cold by 5:30pm, and we had no wood to make a fire outside, we piled ourselves and the dogs inside the RV at 5:30pm. We ate dinner, watched a video, and went to bed early.
It was really really dark out. We went to bed with most of the shades up, so that I could see outside, since that seemed to help calm my freak-out a bit on our maiden voyage. But it was so dark, that I couldn’t see a bloody thing!
I did manage to sleep a bit. But I woke up around midnight. I was still weirded out about how dark it was outside. I got out of bed and went and sat in one of the chairs up front. I calculated…if it was midnight, then I still had about six more hours to kill before daybreak. WHAT THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR SIX MORE HOURS??!! We’d already been inside what is basically, a large van, for seven freakin’ hours!
I got out a flashlight and read a magazine for a while. OK. That killed like 15 minutes. NOW WHAT??!!
I WAS CRAZY ITCHIN’ TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THAT RV! But I couldn’t even get out and take a walk. We were in the woods, it was pitch black out, and I was afraid an animal might attack me. You laugh, but shit like that happens!
What a looooooooong freakin’ night that was. As soon as day broke, I leashed up the dogs and took them for a walk. Finally, fresh air and freedom…for me…not the dogs…they didn’t really want to get up and go outside that early. But I had to get the hell out of there.
This long night led to another great epiphany about my panic attacks. This attack wasn’t so much a claustrophobic attack, as it was that I realized I just cannot be stuck inside for that long of a time. Think about it, I was inside the RV for 13 hours. I wasn’t actually claustrophobic, I was totally bat-shit stir-crazy!
You’ll be happy to know that, for each awful night I endured at the beginning, I learned valuable things about my triggers and about how to cope with and prevent these episodes. I’ll do a little recap here, in the hopes that, if you or someone you know is struggling with the same issues, that something here might actually help.
1. I like to be able to see outside, so we don’t pull the privacy shades closed all the way. This gives me a sense of space. It also opens up opportunities for perv’s to look in, but for some reason, I don’t care.
2. I can not be inside the RV for abnormally long periods of time at night. Now we stay outside as long as possible, around a campfire, or with our battery operated lantern burning low, and we talk or play music until it’s time to go to bed.
3. Unless it gets pretty darn cold, we don’t run the heater at night. We’ll usually set the thermostat to around 55ºF so that it doesn’t get too stifling inside. In our small space, once that heater kicks on, it can get hot and stuffy real fast, and me no likey.
4. If, for some reason, we have to be inside the RV earlier in the evening, I’ll spend time sitting up front and reading until I’m ready to go to bed.
5. I always sleep on the side of the RV that does NOT have the bathroom and tall cabinets. This way, I have a better view of the whole RV, and I can see how spacious it is.
So there you have it. Pretty simple solutions. I figured all of this out by analyzing what was going on each time I had a panic attack.
Happy to report, I’m doing really well now on our road-trips. I don’t even need the chewing gum or sleeping pills (see earlier posts). Makin’ myself and my family proud, one phobia at a time!