I suffer from anxiety. I’m not sure where it has come from but as I get older it has got progressively worse. One specific problem is what I call travel anxiety. For my 30th Birthday I went to South Africa which involved long flights, internal flights, car journeys and even a safari truck journey. It was an amazing trip and I didn’t worry once about travel or anything else.
Fast forward five years to the next holiday to Spain. I was so excited as it was my first proper holiday in five years and my first with my partner. I wake up in the morning feeling sick. So sick we almost didn’t make the flight. I don’t feel anxious about travelling in particular but I do feel anxious about feeling o sick. As soon as we landed I started to feel better. It was strange. I tried to forget about it and get on with the holiday, and we did have a great time, but I wasn’t fully relaxed. We’d organised a mid-holiday flight to another part of Spain and the night before I started to feel ill again. I’ve never thought of myself as having a fear of flying, I don’t particularly enjoy it as some people do but after take off I’m happy enough, so I just couldn’t understand why I was getting worked up over travelling. Only when I was back home did I really start feeling like myself again. More relaxed. Looking back it was anxiety. I was so anxious I was making myself feel sick.
Knowing I get anxious when I travel doesn’t really help. I often get anxious about the fact that I’m going to get anxious. We’ve travelled since then to Italy and Croatia before we had The Boy. Neither of those times have been as bad as the Spain trip but they weren’t easy. I feel like I had to mentally prepare to go on holiday which is so sad because holidays should be something to look forward to, and then I get annoyed with myself.
Last year we went to Jersey with The Boy. It is the first time we’ve taken him anywhere other than to visit family. I managed to get there no problems and I was so pleased and then on the last day when the flight was booked for the afternoon, I started feeling sick in the morning. It really was out of nowhere. It doesn’t feel like I’m panicking about something, I just feel ill.
At Easter this year we went to Kent for a few days, I managed to get there and back without an issue so that is something to be pleased about.
It is not just big trips though, it can be small ones to visit family. There are the normal concerns of ‘I hope I don’t miss my train’, ‘I hope the boy isn’t ill’. But there is something else, and I’m not quite sure what to be honest. I guess it is all part of being an anxious person. Anything out of my routine can take me by surprise with a panic attack.
Why am I telling you all this? Because we’ve organised a trip to the Isle of Wight and a week in Sheffield solo parenting and I’m excited about holidays but already I’m worried about being anxious. The Boy helps, having a distraction and someone else to look after keeps my over active mind occupied, but sometimes it isn’t enough.
Needless to say I’ll be taking plenty of Imodium, Rennies, Pepto-Bismol and Rescue Remedy everywhere I go. I’m also trying some self-help techniques such as self-hypnosis and mindfulness. I’ll let you know how it all goes.
The good thing is, I’m not letting it stop me.