My Travelling Anxiety Story

Well hello there!


As I sit here to write this, I'm still not too sure how to go about it. My intention is not to offend anyone, to make anyone feel bad, or for any kind of pity. My intention is simply to share what I go through, maybe in hopes of letting other people know they're not alone and in turn making me feel like I'm not alone. So if you can go forward with that mindset, then please read on. If not, then I think it would be best if maybe you found something else to read.

Recently I've been experiencing a sort of anxiety. It's a fairly new thing to me, only within the last maybe 2-3 years has it been happening. I haven't talked to a doctor about it yet so it's not a confirmed diagnosis however my "symptoms" or "attacks" conjure this up to be anxiety. It doesn't happen on a daily basis for me, more so just circumstantial. If you know me, or follow me on social media, you'll know that I'm not much of a traveller. I've never been on a plane and the furthest I've been from home is maybe New York City. That trip was in 2012, I moved to a totally different city for university in 2012-2013, and that was the last time I remember not experiencing the panic attacks.

I don't know what happened after 2013 that makes me have a form of travelling anxiety, nor do I remember the first time it happened. What I do know is how I feel, what I'm thinking in those times and that it's gotten worse over the course of just this year. I guess I'll start off with the fact that when I get these panic attacks, it doesn't have to be a long trip. I can go to a different city for just a day, over night, or even a few days. I can be with friends or without them. I can be hours away or just 45 minutes. I can be in a place I've been before or somewhere completely new. I can drive there or take a train. Every single time tho, I start off by telling myself it's going to be okay.

There's this whole monologue that takes place in my head before and during my trips. I constantly repeat the words "you're going to be okay, everything will be alright, there is no need to worry, you have everything with you, friends and family are only a phone call away, if you don't like a situation you can leave." For the most part, I completely block out the conversations around me. I see people, I see them talking, I see them enjoying themselves, all while I'm having my inner voice tell me that everything is alright. Just this past week I went to a concert in a city that I've been to a bunch of times before and the only thing that was able to make me stop the inner monologue was a stranger. This older man came up to me and started talking to me about my tattoos and the place where I go to get them, and just like that everything melted away. It's seemingly odd, since your parents tell you not to talk to strangers, and as a young woman especially to an older man, but that 5 minute conversation stopped everything that my anxiety was making me feel.

Now it's not just a mental situation when it comes to the panic attacks, it's a total physical body reaction, as of recently. The way I've been putting it is that my body completely shuts down, and wants all of my insides out in any way possible. The most noticeable and distracting part is that my head pounds. It feels as though there is nothing on this earth that I would like to do more than to crack my skull open so that I can relieve some pressure. This part happens first, and lasts straight thru until I am home, and sometimes even then. But while I'm having these attacks I experience extreme nausea, as though my stomach needs to rid itself of anything and everything in it. I can't eat, I can't look at food, and it gets increasingly harder to swallow something as simple as water. This is the point where I get scared of what's happening in my body that my eyes begin to well up and all I want to do is just cry. There has been a point when my body is just so overwhelmed that my face has actually gone completely numb. I've thrown up before, and sometimes I shake uncontrollably. These are things that I can't control, all while telling myself that I'm okay, that absolutely terrify me.

Maybe I've gotten to a point where those feelings alone put a fear in me that now causes them to happen more and worse. The only thing I know in that time is that I want to go home. Sometimes the attacks last for 10 minutes, sometimes they last for days. Often enough I can experience an attack, go home, sleep, and still wake up the next day being completely scared. It can go on for a few days, where the thought of the situation makes me completely break down. There is nothing that I can do to stop myself from feeling all of these things. Yes, maybe there is medication that I can take to help with it, but I am referring to my mind and body's attempts. There's been very few instances where I've been able to feel better in the moment, more often than not it's because my mind is away from where I am and what I'm feeling. It takes a lot to keep your mind off of your body and your surroundings, so there's no one thing or person that's been able to do that. It always just seems like it's a matter of the right person in the right place saying the right things.

I always feel bad, and that's probably an added pressure, for the people I'm with in these situations. I stop talking, I withdraw, and sometimes I just have to leave. I want someone to be with me when I'm in a different city for safety reasons, but at the same time I just want to be completely alone. I don't want to talk, I don't want to feel like I have to be doing something, most of the time I just want to go be outside away from the world. But at the same time I want someone to distract me and make me feel safe. I have come to the conclusion that with the panic attacks and anxiety, there is just no winning.

I'm writing this so that maybe I realize it's time I go see someone about it. I'm writing this so that I have something to look back on, should it get worse or better. I'm writing this because it's something I need to get out of my system. I'm writing this so that if there's someone out there that experiences the same things, they'll know they aren't the only one. And lastly, I'm writing this so that maybe it'll start a discussion. I think it would be great if people could share their stories, their experiences, and their triumphs. I think it could really help a lot of people that feel solidarity to feel as though they can talk to someone who understands what they're going through. I hope this helps someone, whether it be so that they don't feel alone or so that they feel inspired to share their story. At the end of the day, we are all human, we are all alive, and we are all loved.

Until next time....
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1 comments:

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