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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