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Thread: Terrible Holiday/Vacation Anxiety - Can't eat - Anyone the same?

  1. #1

    Terrible Holiday/Vacation Anxiety - Can't eat - Anyone the same?

    Hi all,

    I think that - in posting this - I'm trying to find someone who can relate strongly to my below experiences, as I think (or hope!) that I'd feel some reassurance from that. When I research holiday/vacation anxiety online, I can often find reports of people suffering with similar experiences, but they always seem to be quite different to my own. This leaves me feeling hopeless and pretty much writing off any suggestions in such reports as I immediately feel that they don't 'apply' to me.

    I'm in my mid-thirties and have experienced these feelings for as long as I can remember:

    • When on holiday/vacation I feel that I am pretty much guaranteed to suffer with terrible anxiety symptoms.
    • This occurs whether the holiday vacation is 10 miles or 10,000 miles from home!
    • In my day-to-day life I am well known for LOVING food. On holiday, my appetite becomes non-existent. I feel so overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety that the thought of a mouthful of food makes me feel like I would spontaneously combust! Being in a holiday setting surrounded by delicious food that I have absolutely no interest in is incredible soul destroying.
    • My sleep is greatly impacted. I will typically awake at around 4am and toss and turn until the rest of my travelling companions awake.
    • I feel trapped to the point that - at my worst - I can't remain still. I feel that if I was to stay still I'd once again be likely to spontaneously combust!
    • Historically I always tried to hide these feelings - my ex-wife was pretty unsupportive ("You're doing this to yourself, it's just in your head... just stop it"). My current partner is however extremely supportive, but in spite of this the feelings of anxiety bring such shame that I do feel compelled to hide them. I think this is also with a view to not ruining their holiday.
    • My typical coping method for these feelings is... alcohol. 90% of the time I can have a few beers and very quickly like 'normal me'. I find this strangely reassuring as it's sort of a reminder that there's just a rogue wire or two in my head, and that relatively small amount of alcohol can relax me enough for those dodgy wires to no longer cause me issues.
    • I typically secretly pack alcohol on my trips and when I awake early as mentioned above, I will secretly consume it in the hope of feeling 'normal' by the time my partner wakes up.
    • Whilst experiencing these feelings, I feel like the only solution is to be back at home. I feel like returning home is like flicking a switch that makes everything OK again.
    • I often make notes on my phone when I'm away, trying to act as a reminder to my future self to just accept that holidays/vacations are not for me and next time we're considering booking one I should just refuse, rather than go through with it and torture myself.
    • Around 10 years ago I was medicated (Citalopram and Propranolol) but found that these didn't help.

    Apologies if the above is rambling (I think it is!) - I just feel like I want/need to empty out my thoughts on all of this.

    The reason I have found this forum and made this post is that we've just booked a week long holiday in early August, which will be the first time going on an international holiday with my 5 year old stepdaughter. I'm feeling intense pressure to make this holiday fantastic for her, and as a result I'm already feeling feelings of dread, anxiety and shame that I feel like I'm guaranteed to ruin it for her and my partner by being an anxious mess the whole time rather than a fun father figure that I want to be.

    Thanks for reading... if you've made it this far!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2021

    Re: Terrible Holiday/Vacation Anxiety - Can't eat - Anyone the same?

    I've never used alcohol to relax when away. But I have felt anxious about going on holiday/being on holiday many times.

    I use distraction a lot, I read a lot, I take a whole array of things with me that make me feel a bit secure - almost like nest building I guess. I also make sure I have calm time on my own.

    Whether at home or on holiday, I'm always up early. On holiday usually earlier than ever! What do I do? I get up and I read. I guess reading is a safe place for me.

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