Later today I will be boarding a plane and heading west to visit family on our annual winter trip to the desert (don’t worry the house is being house-sat and not vacant). It’s almost always a nice relaxing time, with explorations of an ecosystem that is totally foreign to me. However, because I’m flying it also means I get my special bonus. Anxiety.
As someone who deals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, things like flying are absolutely brutal for me. The biggest issue is that it starts days ahead of time. My worst anxiety is often 2-3 days before a flight. All of my symptoms will explode and I’ll spend a good solid day feeling miserable, tense, and suffering. There’s little that I can do about the symptoms, except acknowledge that they exist and that they don’t control me. I know that I’m not dying, and that everything I’m feeling is just my body being unreasonable.
Because it doesn’t happen very often, taking any type of regular medication is pointless. I do have some pills for situations where it gets really bad, but I obviously need to treat those with care, as they’ll make it hard for me to drive and function. So I often will try and just relax with a beer and wait for the tension to, eventually, release. What is even dumber is that my anxiety on the day of the flight is often less than 2-3 days before. That anticipation episode is often the worst of it. I just need to get through it, and get to my destination, and everything ends up being good.
So for all of you that suffer from GAD, know that you’re not alone. Remember your body is dumb sometimes, and that no matter what you’re feeling, it’ll be OK. I’m sure there’s plenty of folks out there reading this who will join me in raising a glass and declaring that anxiety can suck it!