This is a topic I have wanted to touch on for a long time. There are so many people that deal with this fear on a day to day basis. Unable to travel to work, take vacations, or just drive to another city a few miles away.
The physical symptoms that come with the fear of traveling and anxiety in combination can be overwhelming, and frustrating, making it impossible to travel anywhere, or do normal everyday activities or daily tasks.
I would like to begin by talking about a fear that I had, which was personally very hard, was the fear of traveling by car or "travel anxiety". The thought of being to far away from home was terrifying for me. The second I was a certain distance away from familiar territory, I lost it. All the physical symptoms would come, shortness of breath, feelings of loss of reality, sweaty palms, racing heart, upset stomach. I would just feel horrible until I reached my destination.
Once I reached my destination, and became familiar, and relaxed where I was, the anxiety would begin to loosen it's grip and I would begin to feel better. But, not completely. The panic and anxiety was always just seconds away at any given time. Please know that any trip I could not do alone, or I would really be overwhelmed with fear and panic. I always had to be accompanied by someone.
This is just a horrible feeling. I was scared, but at the same time so disappointed, and frustrated that I was feeling this way, and everyone else was ok. I was scared, and worried of the fact that I wasn't going to be able to live a normal life for myself or my kids. I remember thinking, "How in the world am I going to be able to take my kids to Walt Disney World when I feel so crazy?" I may never be able to see anything the world has to offer, except for my small town in Indiana.
Then after some words of wisdom from my psychologist and books, I learned that there is a way! There is a way to overcome this! I want to share with you some tiny steps you can do that may help you with your fears of traveling.
1. Once you leave home, you need to remember your safe place. Remember that you were fine there, and nothing has changed from that point to where you are now.
2. If you are not driving, relax, kick your feet up and enjoy the scenery. Set your mind free of any negative thoughts, and look around at the positive.
3. Always have a relaxation tape or cd with you so you can play it at anytime. You should also have with you a breathing technique. At the first sign of any tension, listen and breath.
4. For some, you may want to take along a medication. I have used a very low dose of Ativan in the past which worked very well for me very quickly. If you are planning a trip, try talking to your health care provider about it. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you something that will help.
5. Personally, prayer helped me tremendously! Whenever I feel discouraged or scared, I pray. For some, this is not an option, but for many it is. No matter who you believe in, carry a prayer with you at all times. It does help! I have some beautiful prayers here at LivingWithAnxiety.com that I personally use that you may find helpful. All the prayers are printable, so if you like one you can print it out and keep it with you for whenever you need it. Click here for anxiety prayers.
There is also the fears of travel by bus, train, or plane. All five of my tips may help you recognize what you can do to overcome some, if not all, of the fears of traveling. I hope that this will benefit you.