The day has come! All those workdays and stress-inducing weeks have paid off! You finally get a few days off to go on that much needed vacation! Your bags are packed, you got your checklist ready, and you managed to get all your children in the car. The only thing to do now is sit back and enjoy the ride!
Unless you have anxiety.
Back when I was a kid, I would often go on vacation with my family. Most of the time we wouldn’t go farther than Vicksburg, Mississippi, but when my aunt lived in South Carolina, we sometimes took a trip to visit with her. I loved to travel! The sights, the landmarks, it was just different to me. Who knew there would be a whole new world out there? We may not have explored the globe, but to me, it was still an adventure.
It was after I became nervous Nelly that my love for traveling would cease. I hated to go outside, much less leave home. When I did go to Vicksburg, I just wanted to come home. I wanted to lay in my bed and promise I would never leave again. Even trips to the grocery store were awful. I would get so irritable going in public. People in general angered me when I thought they would stare or when I thought they were in my way or whatever. I mean, I just wanted to get my shopping done and come home. I had social anxiety.
It’s better now. Simple things like grocery shopping don’t bother me as much. I still have a hard time at large gatherings, but at least I won’t be having a panic attack.
I also still have a hard time traveling. I want to go places and see the world so badly, but I have fears. “What if I get lost?” “What if something happens to one of the kids and I can’t find a hospital?” “What if the car breaks down and our phones are dead?” It’s just a few of the many “what ifs”.
There are a few troubling thoughts, but there is one thing that terrifies me the most about going places: Being in a vehicle.
If you’re like me, just the thought of being on the road makes you uncomfortable. I live in constant fear I will be a part of a massive car pile-up. Not only that, but I don’t want the vehicle to break down. It’s actually kind of funny, when you think about it. Every time I drive a different car or pick up, I ask if the brakes are in good condition. You should see the looks I get. Even in a brand new car, I wonder when the brakes are going to give out. If I’m not in complete control, I am panicking. I will drive, if I have to, but I don’t like it.
Even being in the passenger seat scares me. A fifteen minute drive into town consists of me yelling things at Dillon like, “Slow down!” “There’s a car coming!” “No, you can’t drive the speed limit, it’s too fast for a speed limit!” Bless his heart, he catches it from me.
The bravest driver I have ever seen has to be my grandfather. (Papaw, for short.) As a result of an accident when he was young, he can only see out of one eye. Despite this, he still drives as if he is auditioning for Nascar. To top it off, his truck has no brakes!!! The brake line is connected with vice grips. Now, I am not a mechanic by any means, but I’m almost certain you aren’t supposed to drive a vehicle that is only being held together with hay baling wire.
A couple of days ago, he stopped driving it because, well, the grips finally fell off. My father-in-law is a mechanic and he thinks Papaw is nuts! (Do you blame him?)
Where was I? Oh, yes, traveling.
This is just another way anxiety can take you away from the things you love. Not just going on trips, but spending time with family and friends. You may not want to go anywhere. You feel like you’re missing out on outings with friends or lunch with your family.
For a while, it was extremely hard for me. I felt so guilty that my kids couldn’t go to exciting places because I was just too scared to take them anywhere. I hope to change that, though. I want them to be able to go places like I did when I was a kid.
I still want to go places. My dream is to actually go up north to see the Aurora Borealis. (I think I spelled that right.) There are so many adventures my family and I are missing out on and it’s because of fear.
Anxiety doesn’t have to take away your desire for adventure. I know there are ways to overcome the fear of traveling. I may not have perfected any techniques, but if you find one, please share! It may just be taking it one foot at a time, it’s still something! I’d love to try out your tips and tricks! I need as much help as I can get!