It’s finally time! I am so excited to start traveling internationally again and what better way to go than London. So the night before I left, I spent so much time making sure I had everything I would need for London. I couldn’t even think about if I forgot something really important. I was freaking out. Needless to say, sleeping that night was impossible. I was so anxious about forgetting things, incidents that can happen while I am there and most of all, flying. As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I have a hard time flying. Now, I grew up on planes basically. I have been doing 7 hour flights since a month after I was born since my family lives overseas. Traveling is not a new concept or thing for me. So when I developed my anxiety disorder, it was a huge shock to see how much anxiety I would have about travelling. I would have panic attacks getting on planes, enough to where I had to get off before we took off. I’ve almost passed out multiple times and have thrown up more than I can count. So to say I was anxious about this travel day was an understatement. 2 hour flight to Houston, 5 hour layover and a 9 hour flight to London, not to mention getting through customs and getting to the apartments. I was freaking out. This was also going to be the first time I am away from my dog and I was an emotional wreck trying to get out of the house this morning. Now there are a few things that I recommend to do if you have travel anxiety.
- I take motion sickness medicine. Since my body manifests anxiety through my digestive system in nausea and stomach problems, motion sickness medication like Dramamine and Bonine can help. When I was younger, I would to take two and pass out. Now, my nerves are at such a high that two pills just keeps me from throwing up. Most of the stomach problems and anxious feelings pass after time, but on long flights, I’m not willing to risk it. I usually take two Dramamine when I am boarding so it will start having an effect by the time we take off.
- While I am in the waiting area, nerves are at an all time high. It’s the anticipation of having to do something that gives you anxiety and sit in a place for a long time. Therefore, I try to have ways to relax while I am waiting. I found that using emergency meditation videos on Youtube is a great way to refocus your energy and calm yourself before you actually get on the plane. If you are able to just sit, these videos will help ground you and remind you that it all passes. Then, I can get on the plane without my heart beating through my chest or feeling like I am going to throw up. Everyone has there own ways to help them relax in tough situations and it may take time to figure out what that is. Just keep trying different methods to see what can work best for you during stressful travel days.
- I am usually really strategic when I get on the plane. I almost always sit in an aisle seat when I am traveling alone. I don’t feel confined and I have a quick escape to the bathroom if I am feeling overwhelmed. It’s also important to take time settling in, especially on long flights. Have everything you may need on long flights in a comfortable reach so it is not too much of a hassle trying to find something mid flight. Also, I am constantly listening to music while I am getting on the plane and before we take off. Music has immense power and it has always been something that I can use to distract me from anxiety and push through it. Some people need calm piano and acoustic vibes but I usually need songs that are up beat and going to pump me up. The fast tempo and heavy instruments help me tune out everything else that is going on around me. Most of the time, I don’t even realize we are taking off until we start moving.
- Be prepared. You know yourself better than anyone else and that makes you the expert on what you may need in an anxiety emergency. I have a plan on if I need to throw up immediately or can I make it to the bathroom. I have breathing techniques that I use to calm my heartbeat. You know what you need to do in these situations and there is no shame in any of that. You don’t have to be embarrassed by anything or ashamed that you had a panic attack on a plane. It happens and you just have to move on and prepare for the next time. You come first.
The flights were not actually that bad. Gratefully, I was able to fly first class from Houston to London which definitely helped. Even so, anxiety doesn’t care where you are sitting. Waiting in line for passport check was the worst part since the line is so damn long. But I am currently in London sitting in the flat I am sharing with other girls on the trip. Honestly, I could not have had a better travel day for my anxiety and I am very excited to explore London and get out and live life. Until next time!