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Thread: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

  1. #1

    Unhappy Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum but want to start using it regularly as a source of support and to give support to others. I am in a really bad way at the moment and would appreciate any advice anyone can give.

    The basis of it is that I have recently graduated university and so my boyfriend and I have been planning a trip for a long time before we come back and start our careers. Our flight is booked, we are going to Vietnam to teach English, having taken the appropriate courses.

    This all seemed such a good idea, I've been excited for months. Now suddenly, the flight is on Monday (the 6th), and I can't sleep, keep crying, and have a horrible feeling. I feel really overwhelmed by my feelings and I'm not sure what's caused this sudden change of heart.

    My main source of pain is leaving my family behind. Now, in the evenings with my parents (I've been living at home comfortably for 5 months), I'm recognising each moment as so special as it's going to be a while before I see that again and that seems to hurt me irrationally. My Mother and Grandmother have expressed how sad they are that I am leaving, and I am scared they will be depressed. I feel my Mum depends a lot on me for happiness as she doesn't have many friends, and I feel an overwhelming sense of guilty about leaving her. She does have my Dad, though. I am so comfortable here and leaving it, and not being able to give them a hug at the end of the day and see that they are okay and cheer them up makes me literally weep. I like how it is, being able to see them daily. They are my best friends in a way. I am a very sensitive person and I care about my family more than anything in the world, but I don't know if this is verging on unhealthy / dependant. They won't be here one day after all, my parents are already 60. What will I do then?

    I have no idea why I feel these overwhelming emotions when others seem to go off and travel at this age having the time of their life. I have no idea whether this means I'm totally not ready, or if it's normal and I'd regret not going. I don't want to let my boyfriend down, and I know this is probably the only opportunity we will have to spend this sort of time together if we want steady careers.

    The plan was to stay for 6-12 months and at this moment that seems so intense and so far away to me.

    Can anyone offer me anything to put my mind at ease with these troubles? Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    13,424

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    It is anticipatory anxiety and I am sure you will be fine when you get there and so will your parents. My daughter went to Canada for a year and to be honest I probably spoke to her more in that year (Via Skype) than I had when she was living close by
    Think of it as an adventure and focus on being there for 6 months to start with. You will be surprised how quickly that time will go.

  3. #3

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Annie0904 View Post
    It is anticipatory anxiety and I am sure you will be fine when you get there and so will your parents. My daughter went to Canada for a year and to be honest I probably spoke to her more in that year (Via Skype) than I had when she was living close by
    Think of it as an adventure and focus on being there for 6 months to start with. You will be surprised how quickly that time will go.

    Thanks for the response! As your daughter went travelling, can you offer any advice from the family side? My Mum seems pretty upset about me leaving, I guess it's sorta like going through the empty-nest thing all over again, as I've been home for a while after university. Did you feel like this at all , did it get better? I hate thinking of her feeling empty. I've made her a scrapbook with photos and reassuring messages in it, so she knows I'm not gone forever! And I do plan to Skype a couple days a week and message on Whatsapp daily, but I think it's the physical presence she'll miss most.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    372

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    Hi there Alana,

    I wanted to respond to your post as I too went travelling after university, and as the dreaded date drew nearer, I experienced exactly the same feelings as you have (bar perhaps the being worried about leaving family - I am clearly far less of a giving soul that you are and happily left them to fend for themselves!). I felt so confused, as if perhaps I'd made the wrong decision, and didn't know how to sort through all the emotions I was having.

    The best thing anyone has ever said to me about anxiety/depression is that you mustn't let it get in the way of what you want to do. If, in your well moments, it seemed fun and exciting to go off to Vietnam with your boyfriend, then that is what you must believe is real - not the stew of anxious worst-case scenarios that your mind is feeding you. The key thing is that before the natural anticipatory anxiety started up, you felt excited about going on this trip, and so you can definitely get back to that feeling again.

    Running the worst-case scenarios might also help. What is the absolute worst thing that can happen? You get out there and it isn't for you. OK, well, you wouldn't be the first person in the world to come home early. A lot of anxiety is about feeling helpless, but you wouldn't be helpless: you'd have your boyfriend for support, and you of course would be your own best advocate. Looking at it logically, it's definitely better to put up with some uncomfortable feelings now and try to go, rather than not try to go.

    I can imagine that your feelings of guilt about leaving your family are clouding how you feel. It's hard to get excited about anything when you feel tugged in different directions. I think you should talk to your Mum about how you're feeling, and reassure her that you will be in touch LOADS and it's not forever, but that you feel you want to try. It really is true that it's a very small world what with current communications technology, so you won't *feel* that far away. At the end of the day, you are not responsible for your mum's mental health, and whilst it's lovely of you to feel like you don't want her to suffer, equally, you don't want to miss out on a great opportunity because she will miss you.

    On my year travelling, I went to teach in Paris. On the first night I wobbled over one of the bridges over the Seine, took a deep breath and looked around at how gorgeous all the lights were, and I knew that I'd made the right decision. I look back on that trip as the thing that made me who I am, and I have a hunch that you will feel the same about the trip you're about to take, too.

    I hope you feel better soon and please do PM me if I can help further!

    Beatroon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    13,424

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    Quote Originally Posted by alang View Post
    Thanks for the response! As your daughter went travelling, can you offer any advice from the family side? My Mum seems pretty upset about me leaving, I guess it's sorta like going through the empty-nest thing all over again, as I've been home for a while after university. Did you feel like this at all , did it get better? I hate thinking of her feeling empty. I've made her a scrapbook with photos and reassuring messages in it, so she knows I'm not gone forever! And I do plan to Skype a couple days a week and message on Whatsapp daily, but I think it's the physical presence she'll miss most.
    I know how your Mum feels as I was the same but children have to fly the nest at some point us Mums just have to get used to it. I spoke on Skype a lot and kept up with what she was doing on facebook. I collected all her photos from facebook and put them all in a book of her travels for coming home.
    My daughter is now back in England, married and expecting her first baby. My oldest son lives a 4 hour drive away and my youngest was an hour away but is moving a 5.5 hour drive in a few weeks. I am finding this hard but I am proud of what my children have achieved and that they have been able to visit different places.
    As Mum's we never stop worrying, my son is on holiday in USA and I am worried sick but I don't let him know.
    I am pleased that they have become independent. You can help your Mum by returning calls or messages ASAP (If a Mum doesn't get an answer we don't think, no connection or phone battery low, we just think something really bad has happened
    Let her know the places you are and how safe it is (even if it isn't!)
    My daughter cycled down the most dangerous road in the world in Bolivia but didn't tell me until AFTER she did it
    Have a lovely time and I am sure your Mum will soon adapt and enjoy the peace quiet

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    223

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    Make sure everyone at home has all the Skype, messaging software etc set up and working and is familiar with using it. Then... have a fantastic time!

  7. #7

    Re: Severe anxiety about upcoming trip

    How did this trip turn out for you? Fun?

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