No need to tell you again I suffer from travel anxiety related to physically moving away from home and being in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable place. The moment I wondered how to turn my blog into something different, I thought: I need to write about something I reaaally know. And that’s mental health. So in this post, I’ll talk about how it looks like living with an anxious mind. The fact is-it will never go away-I just have to learn how to walk with it hand in hand.
What is travel anxiety?
It’s a type of anxiety that occurs when thinking about traveling or actually traveling and includes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, etc. It can occur while thinking about traveling, when flying or traveling by car, staying in an unfamiliar place, etc.
Although travel makes great stories and it should be a pleasant experience, this type of anxiety can do otherwise.
Why does it happen?
It can occur in the once unpleasant experience that causes trauma, for example, car accident-people can develop travel anxiety while traveling by car. There are about 60% of these cases. Other people’s experiences are also important: if they report negative experiences at a particular place, illness or eventual plane crash in a place, people can develop panic attacks or travel anxiety while traveling there. The third important factor is genetics. General anxiety disorder has a medium genetic risk (around 30%) and may be associated with separation in childhood, social phobia, and panic (source)
How to we feel it?
We can feel travel anxiety in a form before the actual travel. It can occur while planning a trip, thinking about the itinerary, buying airline tickets, thinking about packing and leaving home. Before the actual journey, we can feel travel anxiety as restlessness, insomnia, irritability, accelerated heartbeat, mild nausea. I fell it the exact way as described.
The most common type of travel anxiety is fear of flying. On the first flight, I experienced this fear myself, and it was the biggest one ever. It almost prevented me from leaving that day and it originated from all the stories I heard from others. The next flight was more pleasant and I can’t say I developed flight anxiety. The biggest problem for me is leaving home (and this way comfortable) environment. It starts with before mentioned symptoms and continues with severe nausea and vomiting, tingling in the knees, indigestion, and headache.
So what’s living with travel anxiety like?
Quite difficult when it’s tied to any move from home (going grocery shopping, visiting friends, traveling with my parents to the sea,…). These cases are severe, so the appropriate psychological (and medical) therapy, support from the loved one and appropriate psychological education are most appropriate. To anyone interested in how I feel at that moment, I explain: “Try to imagine that you have such a strong homesickness you can’t get out of bed and you cannot conquer the day at all”.
Ever since I was in the dark anxiety tunnel, I have managed to :
– attend therapy sessions once a week, where I learn about grounding and mindfulness
– have a daily log of thought and anxiety progress
– talk with my friends about my exact problems and have them by side 10000%
– educate my parents, who weren’t really supportive at first because of the unawareness of the severity of the problem
– meditation strictly every day
– Being present (with the exercise: What I hear/see/smell/taste at least 5 times a day)
– reading and educating myself
So what’s really like to live with a travel-anxious mind?
– constantly canceling trips
– struggling with thoughts and tears and endless homesickness all the time
– canceling meetings with friends
– often disliking outdoor places with tons of people
– preferring to drive a car than being a co-driver
– packing and planning everything to the point
– fighting with the symptoms mentioned before.
That doesn’t mean I don’t travel. And it doesn’t mean I don’t love traveling. I adore it. The anxiety is just something that is packed inside me and it’s not wrong to have it. Or right. Does any of your experience travel anxiety? How do you manage to still go places?