Monday, December 5, 2011

Traveling with Anxiety: Trip #6- GUATEMALA!


This week I have a once in a lifetime opportunity. I surprised my husband with a week long trip to Guatemala and we leave on Friday. Ten years ago my husband served an LDS mission in Guatemala. This means when he was 19 years old he lived in Guatemala for two years teaching the gospel and baptizing the locals to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Ten years later the church has grown enough that a temple has been built in that area, and next week they dedicate the temple and open it up for patrons. Its such a rewarding feeling for him to know that he helped the church grow there so I thought it would be awesome for us to go celebrate the temple opening and revisit his mission stomping grounds. Especially since he hasn't been back since.


This trip is bringing up a lot of anticipatory anxiety, mainly because I will be leaving my 3 year old and 12 month old behind with family. I have never left either of them before. My baby boy has intense separation anxiety right now I can't even leave the room without him crying in protest. I know this trip will be good for both us and the kids, but that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to leave them.



In a way its nice to look back at my previous trips that I have blogged about and see the same pattern of anticipatory anxiety and the same concerns arising. At least I'm consistent :) It gives me hope that maybe the anticipatory anxiety will be the worst and when I am actually on the trip I will be ok.

I know that I need to prepare, prepare, prepare if I want to feel better and have a successful trip. So I have been putting some time aside to do my ten step mental exercise so I can start reprogramming the negative thoughts with positive ones. The idea is to print this out and bring it in my pocket so I can take it out and read it whenever I need to. Feel free to read the ramblings of my worried head.

What am I telling myself to make me feel this way?

    This is stressful. I should feel stressed. I am going to freak out any minute. This is too much for me. I’ve been worrying about this for months and its now right around the corner. This is going to be soooo hard. I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to ruin the trip. I don’t want to feel stressed. I am going to worry so much about the kids. My baby is going to have such a hard time. What if he cries and is fussy the whole time and is too much for my sister? What if I am too sick to do anything? If I am stressing this much already how bad is it going to be when its time to go?

What if the worst case scenario happened? What would I do?
   
    Worst case scenarios are:
  1. I am so sick that we have to come home. Or I am so sick that I am no fun on the trip and its a bad experience.
  2. The kids are so miserable and upset that we have to come home. 
After writing this, I took my kids to visit my sister where they will be staying. Watching her interact with my kids has made me feel SO much better. I know they will be fine. So this helps with number 2. I know they won't need us to come home. The anxiety isn't as intense, but it's still there.

If I am as sick as I am worried about, I will have mt Clonazepam with me which should be enough to handle any anxiety I may have. If not, my husband has ALWAYS been super supportive of me when I am sick and he won't think I am ruining it for him.

Alright, now here are some positive affirmations I can use to help me with my other worries:
  • What if I am anxious the whole time? I will ruin the trip for my husband. I don't want to feel this way.

Circumstances are what they are but I can choose my attitude toward them. I can be anxious and still have fun on this trip. I've done it before and I can do it again. I can handle this. He loves me more than this trip. I love and accept myself the way I am. I respect and believe in myself apart from other's opinions.

  • Trips make me anxious. I should be nervous about this trip.
This is overgeneralizing. Just because I have been anxious on trips in the past that doesn't set in stone that I will be anxious on this trip. I am learning to be calm. I'm responsible and in control of my life.
  • This is too much for me. This is going to be soooo hard. 
This may be hard but I CAN handle it. I CAN!
Alright, hopefully this will help me a bit. I will make sure to report on how it goes. Wish me luck!


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13 comments:

Gweb said...

Good for you, and good luck! I would never be able to travel to another country. Hope it's awesome!

Drama Queen said...

Amiee I know how you feel, trips for me are my BIGGEST trigger and all the internal conversations you had are identical to mine. You are correct that it is about perspective, on any of my biggest trips I have felt anxious occasionally and that represents only 1% of my total time away, whilst its not pleasant whilst you're in it, we know it passes...:) Have a wonderful time, I am so jealous x

Anonymous said...

I can say you are very courageous
Good luck always ( :

Meredith said...

Amy- you will do great. I just dealt with the same situation... My husband and I just took a trip which meant leaving my 3 kids. The youngest is 7 months. I had all the same anticipatory anxiety as you, and while the first day was hard, I was able to let go and have fun after that. I think you will be able to do the same!! By the way your kids are gorgeous!!!! Let us know how you made out after the trip!!!

Jill said...

You're going to be so happy you went, I promise. I know it's hard when you have little ones, but remember it's only for a very short amount of time, then you will all be together again. Your sis will be great and the kids will be fine. My oldest used to pull at my heart strings with the separation anxiety, but everyone always assured me that she was fine and calmed down quickly once I left.

Please enjoy every minute!

Jill said...

ps your kids are beautiful! :)

N said...

I hope your trip is wonderful and exciting, as well as relaxing! I am excited to hear about how it went. I'm having a bit of travel anxiety now for a xmas vacation with family. I had my first ever panic attack on a plane and have been a fearful flyer ever since. I take clonzapams for flying and general anxiety during stress. My prevacation anxiety usually starts over having to fly to place, and of course then escalates to worry about the trip in general, being nervous while I'm there and feeling far from home! Anxiety sucks! I'm trying to stay positive and tell myself that the anxiety is more like an excitement that I am misjudging as anxiety.

Mike said...

All of us knows that anxiety really stinks. I know you've probably heard it all before, but it really is helpful if you have an action plan for when an attack sets in. Know how you're going to react to the panic before it sets in. Doing this has helped me to take the edge off those overwhelming feelings.

Jesse Goldberg said...

Anxiety def does suck but you can o it!! Just try to focus on the amazing vacation!

Becky said...

Hi there, I'm Becky. I have been thinking of starting an anxiety blog for a while, until now, because your blog is so wonderful, I don't feel the need so much. I wish I'd found it a while back. I think you've done such a good job of putting together so many resources, and combining such great experiences (I especially love that you put down your 'ramblings' so that others can understand the thought process of an anxiety sufferer -- your latest one could've come straight from my head!). I'm recovering from anxiety, and have been doing so much better, (I initially had it after having brain surgery and a the trauma associated with it). I've been able to feel anxiety free (for the most part) for about a month, and though I will always need coping mechanisms, I'd love to share my story, particularly about the benefits of prayer, and religious outlets. I don't have any endorsements, but would just like to offer support by sharing it. Email me if you'd like: beckstarr@gmail.com. Quite a while ago, I began a blog that I don't do anymore: mrscraftypants.blogspot.com if you'd like to see it. And thank you for such wonderful tools! Great job going on so many trips, too!

Jessica Brown said...

Hello! Very helpful post. I've talked about anxiety in my latest blog post if you want to have a peek: cantshutitup.blogspot.com. As a sufferer myself, I endeavour to write more on the topic of anxiety, your blog is a great inspiration for that :)

natural remedies for anxiety said...

yes, i have had the same experience with anxiety. i always make sure i brought with me my flower essences. for those who dont know yet, its a great natural remedy for anxiety.

JanessaD said...

Your blog is outstanding; the matter is something that not many people are talking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.curing depression naturally

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