Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (2022)

It was supposed to be the highlight of my life.

After suffering from a breakdown due to the most stressful eighteen months I’ve ever fought through, I needed a break. I wanted to treat myself.

And for me, a treat means travel. I rarely spend my money on clothes or shoes or furniture, instead preferring to splurge on solo trips to beautiful destinations around the world. Experiences over possessions and all that.

This trip was due to be my best ever.

I was planning to spend a month island-hopping my way around in the Indian Ocean. I was going to visit the most spectacular places on the planet, spending time in the Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion Island, and the Maldives, and all done on a budget so that I could show you guys it’s possible to visit paradise for as little as $50 a day.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (1)

This adventure was supposed to be my first step towards getting back to being the person I used to be.

Back in 2014, my anxiety returned. I started having panic attacks every day. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t go outside. Nothing I tried would get me back to being the person I used to be.

I thought this trip would help. I sort of believed that heading offline and focusing on healing in a beautiful part of the world was what I needed to do to fix myself.

In short, it was going to be the Best Trip Ever.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (2)

The nightbefore leaving, I had a panic attack.

And when I have a panic attack, I have a panic attack.

I’m talking chest pains, heart palpitations, pins and needles in my eyeballs, hyperventilating, sweat pouring down my body, dizziness, a loss of vision, severe tremors, and the unwavering belief that I’m currently minutes away from death.

(Video) Carson Daly Opens Up About His Anxiety Disorder: ‘I Know I’m Going To Be OK’ | TODAY

A bad case of the flu had knocked me down the day before and left me barely able to move. On top of that, I had a debilitating migraine. I was exhausted, I was dizzy, I was nauseated, my head was spinning, my joints were aching.

How I was I going to get on a flight when I felt so terrible?

And now I was having panic attack on top of all of this.

The flight I’d booked was an overnighter that would seeme transiting through Ethiopia at 4 a.m, and I knew it was going to be rough when I felt this bad.

I called my mum to my room and burst into tears.

“I can’t go, I’m too sick,” I sobbed. “Why does this always happen to me?”

But I had to go, didn’t I? Because what would I have done if I hadn’t been resting at my parents’ home? If I’d been travelling, I would have had to suck it up and get on the plane. Not to mention the fact that I’d booked most of the trip already. Cancelling would lose me several thousands of dollars.

I Skyped with my boyfriend, pulling him out of his Camino challenge and dragging him back to my hellhole when I allowed my anxiety to take control. He told me it was my decision to make, but he thought I should go. I tweeted about it and everyone told me to go.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (3)

The next morning, the day of my flight, I felt even worse. My head was pounding and blurring my vision.I ached, I was dizzy, I was so tired. I had another panic attack. Over and over, I decided to goonly to change my mind moments later.

I packed my backpack. I printed out the ferry confirmations I needed to take with me.My dad came home from work to take me to the airport and found me and my mumin tears, because we’re ridiculous.

“She doesn’t know whether to go,” my mum wept.

“I don’t know whether to go,” I sobbed.

(Video) Panic Attack on Live Television | ABC World News Tonight | ABC News

My dad grimaced and ran upstairs.

But I still didn’t know whether to go.

I started to talkmyself into staying at home with my parents, telling myself how great it would be to spend more time with my family. I could catch up on work andrelax and see the friends I hadn’t managed to visit this time around. Travel can be stressful. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just stay at home?

I calculated I’d lose $3,000 if I cancelled my plans. Blown on a trip I never took. Visiting these places would have been so good for my site. I want to be the person who goes to places people think are crazy-expensive and shatter the illusion. And, well, it’s the Seychelles. How many people would kill to go to the Seychelles right now?

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (4)

I decidedto go.

My dad and I left for Heathrow Airport, butmy stomach was churning and all I could think about was how I really didn’t want to get on the plane.

“But I have to go, don’t I?” I askedmy dad. “Because nobody in the world would turn down a trip to the Seychelles to spend a few extra weeks in Staines, would they? What’s wrong with me?”

My stomach lurched and I pressed my fist to my teeth.

I struggle to say goodbye my family when I leave to travel. There’s always tears and wishes that I could stay longer, but I could tell this wasn’t what this was. I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting on the plane and feeling this unwell in a foreign country.

“I need to go home,” I announced.

“What?”

“I can’t do it. I want to cancel my trip. I want to go home.”

(Video) Dear Anxiety || Spoken Word

“You sure?”

“… No.”

“Well I’m not taking you home unless you tell me 100% that you don’t want to go.”

I shook my head. I couldn’t sayit.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (5)

We arrived at the airport and I sat in the car and stared at the planes taking off and almost retched from the anxiety. I thought about lifting my backpack up and putting it on my back and shook my head. I thought about my 4 a.m. layover. I thought about my bed back home.

“100% no,” I said, an hour before my flight. “I want to go home.”

“100%?” my dad asked.

“100%.”

My biggest fear was that I was making a huge mistake. What if I felt better in a couple of days and spent the next two weeks full of regret? What if this was just my anxiety convincing me I couldn’t do it? I didn’t want to be the type of person who gave in to it again. I wasn’t that person anymore.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (6)

Here’s what I’ve learned.

I’m Need to Stop Travelling for a While

I’m a big believer in leaving your comfort zone in order to conquer your anxiety. I’ve had a lot of success with it in the past, and solo travel has been one of the biggest things to help keep my panic attacks at bay.

(Video) If You Struggle With Anxiety, This Mind Trick Will Change Your Life | Mel Robbins

Unfortunately, this no longer seems to be the case.

I think it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention when it gives you a sign. In this case, I feel as though my anxiety is too severe for me to handle travel right now. I feel too broken to be able to cope with the stresses that solo travel can bring, and I think now is the time to take a break.

Rather than travelling every couple of weeks to new destinations, I’m going to make a change, find a home, and set off on slow, infrequent adventures. I think it’s important to have some stability in my life so that I can work on improving my mental health.

Agoda are Awesome

I’ve been recommending Agodanon-stop over the past few months, mostly because they’ve consistently been the cheapest accommodation provider I’ve found. If I’m not in an Airbnb apartment, I’m staying in a guesthouseI found on Agoda.

I emailed themwhen I decided to cancel my trip, and was surprised when they replied to tell me they were going to email each guesthouse, explain I was sick, and ask if they would be willing to make an exception to refund me the money. Only one guesthouse agreed.

Then Agoda phoned me and told me if I could get a note from my doctor saying I had been sick, they would refund me the money from the other guesthouses from their own pocket. I couldn’t get a note because my departure date had already passed, but I was seriously impressed with all they did for me! I’ll be using them even more from now on.

I Gotta Fight to Get Rid of This Anxiety

I hate writing about my anxiety, because nobody wants to hear about the struggles. Everyone wants to read about a success story, but nobody wants to read about the messy, awful process it takes to get there. Unfortunately, though, my anxiety is overwhelming at the moment and I can’t seem to stop it. If I don’t write about what I’m currently dealing with, I don’t know what to write about instead.

It’s time to take control and work on getting back to the way I used to be. Eating healthily, exercising, cutting out triggers like alcohol and caffeine, meditating, and taking time away from my laptop. I’ve made a start over the past month and I need to stick to it.

Confession: Anxiety and Panic Attacks Led to Me Canceling My Dream Trip (7)

It’s Time to Start Prioritising the Right Things

Travel’s the best, and for the past four years, it’s been my sole focus. I travel, or I write about travel, or I plan for my upcoming travels, or I read travel memoirs, or I write my own travel memoir, and I have zero hobbies outside of travel. After four years, I need a new direction. I’m so desperate to do new things that I’m even starting to crave learning how to knit.

I’m grateful but frustrated with myfinancial situation, too. If you would have told me four years ago that I would travel for the next four years and end up with the same amount of money in my bank account bythe end of it, I would have felt like I was living the best life in the world. And for the longest time, I have felt that way. Now, I’m getting fed up with breaking even every month. I want to build my savings — maybe even buy a house at some point. Four years spent running a business and breaking even isn’t good enough. It’s time to start experimenting.

I’ve learned how much of my time is spent on things that aren’t furthering my business. Sometimes I’ll spend five days straight answering emails, thinking it’s the most important task on my to-do list, and not receive a single thank you. Since cancelling my trip, I managed to earn back all of the money I lost in a week — it showed me the things I should be focusing on.

Finally, my health. Today, I weighed myself and was shocked to discover I’ve gained over 10 kilograms since I started travelling! It’s not like I’m obese, I know, but my healthysize is pretty tiny. An unhealthy diet, eating out for every single meal, and spending every day in front of my laptop has contributed to this. I want a base and a gym membership and a kitchen, so that I can get back to my normal size.

(Video) Panic attacks

All signs are pointing towards a base! More time to work on myself, to work on my business, to work on my health.

So, What’s Next for Me?

I’m at home for another ten days, and then I’m off to Madrid to meet Dave as he finishes his Camino adventure. After six weeks without shaving his head or face, I can’t wait to see how hairy he looks! From there, we fly to Bangkok solely so we canhang out with good friends.

We’ll be pottering around Southeast Asia for the rest of the year, barely travelling, then heading to Melbourne for a month for Christmas. After a couple of months basing ourselves back in Oceania, it’ll be time for us to find a home. Now I just need to figure out where it should be.

Have you ever cancelled a trip because you were anxious? What do you think of my plans to get a base?

FAQs

Can a panic attack make you feel like you're losing your mind? ›

Many people who have panic attacks describe feeling as if they're going insane, losing control, even dying. Two symptoms that often occur during panic attacks are depersonalization and derealization.

How can I stop my anxiety from tripping? ›

Tips to help overcome anxiety about traveling
  1. Identify your triggers. ...
  2. Plan for certain scenarios. ...
  3. Plan for responsibilities at home while you're away. ...
  4. Bring plenty of distractions. ...
  5. Practice relaxation. ...
  6. Travel with friends. ...
  7. Consider medication. ...
  8. Find the positives in traveling.
30 Jul 2019

Why do I keep having anxiety and panic attacks? ›

Factors that may increase the risk of developing panic attacks or panic disorder include: Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder. Major life stress, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one. A traumatic event, such as sexual assault or a serious accident.

Why do panic attacks make you feel crazy? ›

While people may feel as though they are going crazy, they are truly just experiencing a reaction to the surge of adrenaline (that occurs during anxiety and panic), and the activation of your fight or flight system.

How long does derealization last after a panic attack? ›

Derealization can last for as long as the panic attack lasts, which can range in length from a few minutes to 20 or 30 minutes. In some cases, however, these sensations can persist for hours and even days or weeks.

What is derealization anxiety? ›

Depersonalization-derealization disorder occurs when you persistently or repeatedly have the feeling that you're observing yourself from outside your body or you have a sense that things around you aren't real, or both.

Is anxiety a mental illness? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

What is pre travel anxiety? ›

“Pre-trip anxiety is a form of anticipatory anxiety,” explains Marie Casey Olseth, a psychiatrist based in Minneapolis. “It's not a specific phobia, such as a fear of flying or fear of driving, although these phobias can contribute to the anxiety felt by someone with pre-trip anxiety.”

Do I have mild agoraphobia? ›

People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. You may feel that you need a companion, such as a relative or friend, to go with you to public places. The fear can be so overwhelming that you may feel unable to leave your home.

What are the signs of a mental breakdown? ›

The most common signs someone is having a mental breakdown are:
  • Hopelessness.
  • Thoughts of suicide.
  • Sense of worthlessness.
  • Unable to sleep.
  • Lacking appetite.
  • Inability to focus.
  • Severe disappointment with their life.
11 Feb 2022

When should you be hospitalized for anxiety? ›

An anxiety emergency or extreme panic attack may require an ER visit if the sufferer is unable to get it under control. Extreme cases of hyperventilation can lead to tachycardia, an occurrence where the heart is beating so fast that it is unable to properly pump blood throughout the body.

What is a mental breakdown? ›

Instead, a mental health crisis or a breakdown of your mental health is a situation that happens when you have intense physical and emotional stress, have difficulty coping and aren't able to function effectively. It's the feeling of being physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by the stress of life.

Can you lose your mind from anxiety? ›

You can have increased anxiety because of a particularly stressful situation. People who have anxiety disorders1 may become anxious for seemingly no reason at all. Either way, anxiety and anxiety disorders can make us feel out of control, and can make us feel as though we are “going crazy” or losing our minds.

Can anxiety drive you insane? ›

It's important to note that there is no connection between anxiety and going crazy. While it may feel like you could go crazy due to anxiety, you actually can't. It's a physical impossibility. Much more could be said about this symptom.

Is panic attacks a mental illness? ›

You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you're having lots of panic attacks for no obvious reason. This is a type of anxiety disorder. You might feel worried about going out in public because you're afraid of having another panic attack. If this fear becomes intense, it may be agoraphobia.

How do you snap out of depersonalization? ›

Things you can do right now
  1. Acknowledge your feelings. According to many psychology researchers , depersonalization may be an adaptive way to cope with stress. ...
  2. Take deep breaths. When stress arises, your body's nervous system fires up. ...
  3. Listen to music. ...
  4. Read a book. ...
  5. Challenge your intrusive thoughts. ...
  6. Call a friend.
27 Jun 2021

Can you dissociate during a panic attack? ›

However, dissociation can also happen in the context of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders. Often, dissociation that happens due to extreme stress or panic is recognized but attributed to other causes such as health issues.

Is derealization a trauma response? ›

Depersonalization and derealization are often responses to overwhelming traumatic events that cannot be escaped, such as child abuse and the trauma of war. 4 They help the person to keep functioning at the moment of being severely traumatized.

What triggers depersonalization? ›

The disorder is usually triggered by severe stress, particularly emotional abuse or neglect during childhood, or other major stresses (such as experiencing or witnessing physical abuse). Feelings of detachment from self or the surroundings may occur periodically or continuously.

What does derealization feel like physically? ›

Derealization is a mental state where you feel detached from your surroundings. People and objects around you may seem unreal. Even so, you're aware that this altered state isn't normal. More than half of all people may have this disconnection from reality once in their lifetime.

Can anxiety make you feel detached from reality? ›

Health Research Funding reports that stress and anxiety are the primary causes of derealization, and that women are twice as likely to experience it as men. Up to 66 percent of people who experience a trauma will have some form of derealization.

What are signs of high anxiety? ›

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

Is anxiety a chemical imbalance? ›

Thus ended the “chemical imbalance” theory cause for mental illness, including anxiety disorder. So, no, anxiety disorder is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

What does anxiety feel like physically? ›

When you are under stress or anxious, this system kicks into action, and physical symptoms can appear — headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain. "Doctors see it all the time — patients with real pain or other symptoms, but nothing is physically wrong with them," says Dr.

How common is travel anxiety? ›

Flight anxiety, or the fear of flying, is a common concern that affects between 3–8% of people. It can be triggered by several things, like worries of crashing, fear about being so high in the air, claustrophobia, or discomfort during takeoff or landing.

Do you have agoraphobia? ›

If you have an intense fear of people and places where escape may be difficult, you might have agoraphobia. Do you feel consistent, intense anxiety while using public transportation or while in crowded, open or enclosed spaces? Does being alone outside of your home cause you a great deal of anxiety?

Does Dramamine help with anxiety? ›

Dramamine, an over-the-counter medication commonly used to treat motion sickness, can also be used to alleviate anxiety during air travel.

What can trigger agoraphobia? ›

a traumatic childhood experience, such as the death of a parent or being sexually abused. experiencing a stressful event, such as bereavement, divorce, or losing your job. a previous history of mental illnesses, such as depression, anorexia nervosa, or bulimia. alcohol misuse or drug misuse.

How do I prove I have agoraphobia? ›

A diagnosis of agoraphobia can usually be made if: you're anxious about being in a place or situation where escape or help may be difficult if you feel panicky or have a panic attack, such as in a crowd or on a bus. you avoid situations described above, or endure them with extreme anxiety or the help of a companion.

How do you get tested for agoraphobia? ›

Agoraphobia is diagnosed based on: Signs and symptoms. In-depth interview with your doctor or a mental health professional. Physical exam to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

How do I know if I have Hppd? ›

Symptoms of HPPD include visual illusions such as flashes or streaks of color, color confusion, object distortion or movement, and trailing images. Symptoms can also include migraines, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty reading.

How do you stop overthinking? ›

Here are six ways to stop overthinking everything:
  1. Notice When You're Stuck in Your Head. Overthinking can become such a habit that you don't even recognize when you're doing it. ...
  2. Keep the Focus on Problem-Solving. ...
  3. Challenge Your Thoughts. ...
  4. Schedule Time for Reflection. ...
  5. Learn Mindfulness Skills. ...
  6. Change the Channel.
24 Jan 2022

How common is flight anxiety? ›

Fear of flying, or aviophobia, is an anxiety disorder. About 40 percent of the general population reports some fear of flying, and 2.5 percent have what is classified as a clinical phobia, one in which a person avoids flying or does so with significant distress.

How can I calm my nerves before flying? ›

If you're stressed about an upcoming flight, consider using one or more of the following calming techniques:
  1. Fight fear with knowledge: ...
  2. Practice breathing exercises: ...
  3. Refocus your attention: ...
  4. Strike up a conversation: ...
  5. Drink lots of water:
5 Sept 2019

How likely is it to develop HPPD? ›

There is no relationship between the occurrence of HPPD and the amount of substance used. The prevalence of this disorder is approximately 4.0% to 4.5% in people who have a history of hallucinogen use [1-2]. The most common comorbid conditions are panic disorder, alcohol use disorder, and major depressive disorder [1].

Do Antidepressants Make HPPD worse? ›

SSRIs appear to worsen symptoms of HPPD, at least during the initial phase of treatment: People with HPPD treated with SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics (risperidone, olanzapine) reported an initial exacerbation of their flashbacks with a subsequent gradual improvement over time [Markel et al.

Does HPPD cause depersonalization? ›

It is usually apparent to a person experiencing HPPD that they are not seeing things in the way they used to. This can be unnerving and may cause anxiety.” HPPD symptoms can bring about panic attacks, feelings of anxiety, depression, and depersonalization (feeling disconnected from one's own body).

What foods to avoid if you have anxiety? ›

If you eat lots of processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you're more likely to be anxious and depressed. A diet full of whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish can help keep you on a more even keel.

Is overthinking a mental illness? ›

Is overthinking a mental illness? No, overthinking isn't a recognized mental health condition, but it can be a symptom of depression or anxiety. Overthinking is commonly associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), says Duke. GAD is characterized by the tendency to worry excessively about several things.

What is the difference between overthinking and anxiety? ›

Worry is temporary.

There's a concerning situation (like COVID-19) and you worry about it. Worry prods you to use problem-solving skills to address your concerns. Anxiety is persistent, even when concerns are unrealistic. It often compromises your ability to function.

Does Benadryl help with flight anxiety? ›

Benadryl is an antihistamine that may cause you to feel sedated and drowsy. This doesn't mean it calms anxiety symptoms, though. There's simply no scientific evidence to support its use for anxiety. In fact, it's not recommended for this purpose.

How many planes crashed in 2022 so far? ›

accidentsfatalities
20229202
5-yr-avg.8205

What's the longest phobia? ›

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary — and, in an ironic twist, is the name for a fear of long words. Sesquipedalophobia is another term for the phobia.

How do planes deal with anxiety? ›

8 Steps to Overcoming Your Fear of Flying
  1. Latch on to triggers that set you off. ...
  2. Step onto the airplane with knowledge. ...
  3. Anticipate your anxiety. ...
  4. Separate fear from danger. ...
  5. Recognize that common sense makes no sense. ...
  6. Smooth over things that go bump in the flight. ...
  7. Educate fellow fliers how to help you. ...
  8. Value each flight.
19 Sept 2016

Can I get diazepam for flying? ›

Diazepam and similar controlled drugs are illegal in a number of countries[v]. They may be confiscated or you may find yourself in trouble with the police. The passenger may also need to use a different strategy for the homeward bound journey and/or other legs of the journey.

Can you be a pilot with anxiety? ›

To fly, pilots must have a medical certificate approved by an FAA aviation medical examiner (AME). Under the current guidelines, depression, anxiety, and similarly categorized psychological conditions don't lead to automatic disqualification.

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