Travel Anxiety

A lot of people who don't normally have anxiety probably get anxious over one thing, traveling. Whether that anxiousness if over flying, traveling alone, driving or even riding in a car, or the actual trip/destination itself. My travel anxiety is not exactly normal, but it is there. Flying has never bothered me and is actually something that I LOVE doing, and have probably done alone more often than with others. Very strange for someone with (regular) anxiety. My anxiety flares when I start to think about preparing for vacation, and what will happen when I am at my destination. It doesn't matter if I am going out of town for one night, two nights, or a week. I always want things to be planned so I know what I am doing. I don't like the whole "we will figure it out when we get there" mentality. What if we are late for something we wanted to see? What if we get lost trying to find where we are going? What if we get somewhere and it's not what we are expecting? What if we want to go somewhere and it's closed when we get there? SO many ridiculous "what if"s and really stupid thoughts that are a waste of time! I think I have gotten a little better at this. I have realized that not EVERY single second of all of my "free/vacation" days need to be planned. While I like to know what I am going to be doing each day that I am on said vacation, I also have learned to embrace free time and going with the flow. I however, do not like it when there is nothing planned for a day and I get asked what I want to do. Especially if it is an unfamiliar area where I have NO CLUE what there is to do! Plus I hate it when my suggestions and ideas get shot down. Don't ask me if you don't want to do what I suggest. I don't need a timeline on when we will be doing what, but a general idea like.."today we are going shopping" can help ease my anxiety so much. 

AND THEN there's the anxiety of coming back home. This also makes it's presence known no matter if I am gone for one night or 10 nights. Anxiety does not discriminate! There have been times we get home from a long weekend away or a long holiday with family that I do not talk, move, or eat for days. I have had feelings that range from being sad that the weekend is over, sad that the people we were with are gone and we won't see them again for awhile, bummed that the weekend wasn't as fun as I was expecting, or even just sad that it's time to go back to reality! I never know what my mood is going to be after a vacation. There have been times where I have been completely fine and life went on like it was before we left. Then there have been times I do nothing but sleep. There have been times I think I'm in the clear and then BOOM, a mile away from home and I'm near panic attack. The not knowing is the worst. I wish I could figure out a method to my anxiety madness.

This weekend and upcoming week will probably be a struggle for me. It will also be a test, to see if I can "learn" from past incidents. We are leaving early tomorrow morning to go to St. Louis for Thanksgiving with my husband's family. They always celebrate the weekend before, which works out well because it eliminates any arguments about where we are going for Thanksgiving, it really gives us the best of both worlds. Up until this year we have gone our separate ways for Thanksgiving but now that we are married we need to establish our holiday routine. I don't have many concerns about how the weekend will go since we will get there later tomorrow evening, be busy with a bunch of family on Saturday, and leave on Sunday. On Sunday we will go to his mom's house where we will be until Wednesday morning when we leave to come back to SD. I learned that I do not handle long vacations with people besides the two of us very well. I can handle a 3 day weekend surround by family or others just fine, but it seems like once we get past 3 or 4 days I start to struggle. What people don't understand is that it's not something I can control, or something I WANT to happen. It's like a switch is flipped in my brain and I'm suddenly not okay. There's usually a lot of crying, a lot of silence, a lot of "agreeing", a lot of what probably comes off as be being a grumpy bitch. What others don't seem to grasp is that I can't just flip the switch back on (off?) and be okay again. It doesn't work like that. This is why I do not keep my anxiety/depression problems a secret. I don't want people to think I act this way on purpose, that I do it to hurt anyone's feelings (usually mine are the ones that end up hurt when all is said and done), that I am bored, or anything of the like. It is MUCH easier to be happy and enjoy myself than it is to have anxiety and panic attacks, and cry. Do you know how exhausting it is to cry and have your brain on over drive for multiple hours/days? I can't ever tell when this switch is going to be flipped so therefore I can't prepare. It could be a comment that hit me wrong, an event, a conversation, a thought from my past, it could literally be ANYTHING. These episodes tend to last at least a day or two past us coming home, which also (should) proves that this isn't something I intentionally do. If that was the case, I would suddenly be back to myself once we got home, not the case. 

 I always hope and pray that I can get through traveling with no major problems or melt downs (before, during, or after). I have yet to be successful, so maybe this is my time!!!

Do you struggle with travel anxiety? What do you do to help alleviate it? Do you have any tips/tricks that work for you that you can share? 


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