Travel Anxiety

Jacob and I had a blast in Boston a few months ago, but I left something out of my recap.

I had some major anxiety. A few days before the trip, I felt irritable, emotional, annoyed and overwhelmed. I wasn't able to accomplish anything the week before because we were all sick and I was just plain exhausted. I still had to clean the house, get the kids' stuff ready, plan menus, do laundry, leave notes for my mom, pack, and plan our itinerary. But all I really wanted to do was hide in my bed and not go. 

The morning of our flight, Nolan woke up with a bright red rash on his cheeks. It turns out he had Fifth Disease - a virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms and ends in a rash on the cheeks, chest, arms, and legs. It was probably just the "cold" he had the week before, but I freaked out. I was crying on the phone to my mom saying I was a bad parent, totally selfish, and that I should just cancel our trip. But there was nothing else to be done about Nolan's rash. It was probably going to spread, but the virus was over and he felt totally fine. I always leave a Power of Attorney behind my mom can make medical decisions and I trust her completely. She's raised a bunch of kids and knows what she's doing better than I do. After talking to Jacob I felt a little better and kept packing.

I've flown a hundred times, but have never liked it. I'm a germaphobe, so I sort of freak out about the recirculated air and get a little claustrophobic. Plus, it's just plain uncomfortable. I'm six feet tall and my knees touch the seat in front of me and start to hurt after an hour or so. I can never sleep to help pass the time and I feel so gross and dehydrated when it's over. This was the first time I felt afraid of flying and dying though. On top of that, I kept having dark thoughts about leaving our boys without parents. Jacob was not helpful at all. He doesn't really worry about anything, probably because I do enough for both of us, and he's terrible at talking me down because he doesn't understand how or why I get so worked up. He also falls asleep at the drop of a hat. This is what he did after we sat down for three minutes waiting at the gate around 9:00 pm. Thanks a lot, dude.

We got on the plane and I took a NyQuil, hoping I'd be able to get a few hours of sleep on our red eye. Once again, Jacob fell asleep instantly, before we even taxied! He's the worst! I got sweaty, had a hard time breathing, kept thinking sad thoughts, and shed a few tears. Luckily, we can keep electronic devices on during take off now and I was able to distract myself with a movie. I did fall asleep for almost two hours and woke up calmer and ready for a middle of the night snack. I watched more TV, then the sun came up and I was excited to get on the ground. I definitely had fun in Boston, but those scary thoughts were still in the back of my mind. I was nervous going home, but didn't freak out quite as much. I just wanted to get back to Seattle as fast as we could.

This weekend Leeann and I are going to New York City for a few days before taking the train to Philadelphia. We're going to see a ton of friends along the way too. I'm so excited to go, but I've honestly just been trying not to think about it. When I do, I feel my heart beat faster and start feeling overwhelmed. I'm already freaking out about the heat and humidity, my poor foot and knee, the fact that I can't breathe at all right now, and that I'm going to look like an ugly tourist in the fashion capital of the world. Oh well, I'll just pretend I'm normcore.

The big difference this time is that Jacob will be home with the boys. If something happens to me, they won't be orphans. I talked to my doctor about it and she gave me a few Xanax to take with me. I noticed on my after-visit summary that she diagnosed me with "Separation Anxiety." Now I know where Milo gets it!

I know this is a pretty common issue, but it's brand new to me.
What are some of the things you do to calm your nerves when traveling?


Kristine said...

Ugh, I can somewhat relate. Not so much to the parenting dealio, but anxiety about traveling. The only time my nerves are calmed is when I finally get there. Annoying, right? We're leaving on a road trip down the coast on Thursday and I can't even begin to explain the amount of stress that I have built in anticipation.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I take Dramamine and sleep if I can!

I just accept that I am not and will not be as fashionable as NYers, but it's a city that accepts it all so take comfort in that!

Karen M. Peterson said...

I get a little bit of travel anxiety, but I can't imagine how I would handle it if I had kids!

I'm sure your trip will be perfect and I can't wait to hear all about it!

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

I can't sleep on a plane. I don't know how people do it. I'm so glad I can read or watch movies while flying because I'd probably go crazy otherwise. I don't get too anxious though.

srjones03 said...

Everything you described is me 100%. I HATE traveling, flying especially. I have generalized anxiety disorder anyway, throw getting on an airplane and I'm done. Xanex really does work, but take it before you travel just incase you have any side effects. Unfortunately I travel for work and can't take them before I travel and then go into work acting drunk :( Good Luck with everything!!

Jodi said...

Good call on the meds. Take one when you get to the airport and it will help a lot!!! I hope you can relax and have fun w/o worrying about the boys. But if you need to vent/talk I'm there for ya - I am a therapist after all. Haha

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I've been checking the weather like a psychopath and it's (fingered crossed!) going to be decent weather in BOTH cities. Let's hope the forecast a week out doesn't change, but as of now we're looking at low-mid 80s. Humidity of course, but that's better than 100 degrees, so hopefully that's one less thing to worry about. I wish we were flying together so we could calm each other down!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I love flying but I do get edgey before a holiday I am jumpy and excited and nervous at the same time I am in fact starting to feel a little like that already and we don't leave for Hawaii till next month