Anxiety is not just a single disorder as we know.
It is an umbrella term for many many conditions that come with dozens, possibly hundreds of symptoms.
So here is my umbrella ‘Anxiety’…
And here is what is under it…
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Health Anxiety
- Travel Anxiety
- Phobia and Fear
- Mild Social Anxiety
Today I can going to reveal my “Travel Anxiety”.
I do not have a fear of flying, I am always fine after take off.
It is not always about flying it includes driving, trains etc. Just travelling in general.
Its just another piece to my anxiety puzzle.
So last year I decided to go abroad for the first time in 7 years, just a short weekend break with friends to Amsterdam.
I was meeting my friends out there and flying on my own.
It sounded like a great idea at the time as around the time I was booking my solo flight, I had a few things going on in my personal life and was receiving bad news after bad news!
I had my fuck it attitude, my strong independent confident mask on.
The day of my flight and weekend break arrived. I could feel my anxiety bubbling up.
I got to the airport early which I instantly regretted, I sat around twiddling my thumbs, breathing erratically, and thinking I could just walk out and go home.
I managed to get to the gate and saw my plane and then it started, a dark hole opened up inside me, I was hot, dizzy, feeling sick, shaking and sweating.
I had extra baggage with me, my anxiety.
I hate taking off, hate it. It’s the motion, the speed and the having no control. Once again my imaginary fear of flying came back but it was my anxiety in disguise.
Thoughts rushing through my head, I can’t eat nothing because what if I get sick? what if the plane crashes? what if, what if, WHAT IF?
After a horrific take off, a chat with my fellow passengers (who could see I was nervous) and a glass of wine, I arrive safe and sound in Amsterdam and beat myself up for getting so worked up.
The rest of the weekend I ate vegetarian food and had little alcohol. Compared to my friends, that was boring but I was safe.
Early this year me and best buddy (and who i always travel with) decided on a road trip to Liverpool, quite a journey from the south of England.
Both our cars were too unreliable so we hired one. However my friend and I both have similar anxieties, both nervous, both have anxiety disorders, and we both don’t like driving on motorways! Well actually I do not really like driving at all, seeing as my car is so unreliable someone could be having a BBQ and I am sure the smell is my car about to catch fire.
I am also a nervous passenger so I decided to drive, as long as we avoided motorways.
A journey that should take around 4-5 hours turned into 7 long, exhausting hours!
Note to self: must gain confidence driving on motorways.
A couple of months after, we went to Dublin for another weekend break.
We decided to book our seats and priority boarding, so we could get on and off the plane quicker.
As soon as i arrived at the airport it started, I brought myself a bottle of water and I never drink water on its own, only when I am anxious. I was wearing a brand new outfit and I had one of those choker necklaces on and it was making me feel reserved and sick. I then decided to have a cigarette to “calm” my nerves, it made me feel worse! My friend hates airports, it’s where her anxiety hits the roof and the anticipation of waiting for a plane is not my favourite thing to do.
We decided to book our seats and priority boarding, so we could on and off the plane quicker. I brought myself a bottle of water and i never drink water on its own, only when im anxious.
Let’s just say we must of looked a right pair in the airport!
I must say the rest of the weekend was pleasant we had lots of exploring to do so it had distracted us both.
Dublin is highly recommended and not just for the drinking, there is lots to see especially if you like history and the city is small so most tourist locations are in walking distance.
So July came along and I decided to take my son on his first aeroplane trip along with his dad, out of the options I gave him, he chose Edinburgh.
Now my anxiety sky rocketed the week up to the trip. Firstly I was worried about going on a plane again and this time with my son, would he like it? Would he be ok? Secondly there had been a terrorist attack at an airport in Turkey which set my mind racing! And thirdly my manager had been off the previous week with a stomach bug and I was terrified I would catch it!
So I was cautious of what I was eating and eating little at that.
The day before I was driving to work and I had my first roll up of the day, I always do on my way to work even though I hate smoking in the mornings.
I pulled up to work, turned the engine off and something wasn’t right.
My heart was beating like crazy, I was having heart palpitations and they were very strong, I couldn’t breathe and then I couldn’t see, it was like tunnel vision! For a second I thought I was dying, I honestly did!
It still affects me now thinking of it. It was by far the WORST panic attack I have ever had!
Now I don’t cry very often and I also don’t tell many about my anxiety. Well that day my whole office had found out and of course it had to be the day we were having a board meeting.
My manager took me to the doctors as I was certain something was wrong with my heart and I didn’t want to go to Edinburgh if there was.
I was crying uncontrollably and after a check up and an ECG I was sent home. Of course there was nothing wrong with my heart, just my anxiety punishing me again.
That was the day I quit smoking and for anyone who has anxiety and smokes, I recommend you try to quit. I never thought I would quit, ever! But it made me realise how much it aggravated my anxiety.
I did go to Edinburgh and although I was on edge the majority of the time, I had a great time with my family. It is a beautiful city and has a friendly atmosphere.
I literally push myself to do these things. I get an idea in my head, first comes the excitement and then the anxiety follows.
My next trip is Prague. I’ll keep you updated.