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Old 10-06-2012, 05:24 PM   #16
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I have panic attacks, claustrophobia, issues with crowds, anxiety of flying etc... Lots of great suggestions here! A few things, pick a couple must dos because there is so much to do and trying to fit it in would be hard. Resort break mid day- recharging!! Also, I rely on my husband to help bc the past few years we've gone down with Another family- but I can discreetly whisper to my husband that I need help, space, whatever and he plays interference so I can regain my composure before it gets bad (it helps from me spiraling into panic/anxiety episodes). Good luck, take it easy and breath!! When it gets tough sit and relax!
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:33 PM   #17
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my advice would be call virgin or whichever airline ur flying with and inform them of your special needs and ask what they can do to help, check out the website, plan what films you are going to watch etc.
buy a kindle... i sweae by mine
we stayed at ssr and the hotel is amazing, request a room with a view of DTD... sit on the patio and relax in the evening, praise yourself for everything you dealt with that day.
if you dont like characters (they freaked me out the 1st time...just stay away
plan what you re going to eat, i have ocd planning, and that helps alot, knowing when i can sit down/chill
be aware the 1st aid stations in the parks will give you a quiet haven to lie down/sleep whatever helps you to relax
use youtube to watch videos of fantasmic/rides etc so you are prepared.
get used to the idea of size, no one can prepare you for how big wdw actually is... the car parks for example are huge!! write down where tthe car is so you dont panic about not finding it, put something personal in the windscreen as all hire cars look the same!!
i second the comment about watching wishes from the beach at the poly

have a great time and try and enjoy yourself
tracy xx
2004 - 1 week I Drive / 1 week Miami
2006 - 3 weeks 192 / 5 days HRH
2008 - 2 weeks PORS free DDP
2010 - 2 weeks SSR free DDP 1 week creekside villa
2013- 2 weeks okw free ddp[/SIZE]
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:50 PM   #18
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Two other things that have worked with friends of mine-
If you can, try and board your airplane first, and make sure you have the window seat (this, of course, only helps if the height is not going to bother you). That way, someone you know will be on one side, no one will be on the other, and you will have a little room to move side to side and have that breathing space.

Another thing is, since you're going with others, have them help form a barrier for you if you start feeling the start of your anxiety. While you're going during a slower time (according to your countdown), there can still be lines and crowds. Having people you know around you will help, and what they can do to help you is to make a space, if that makes any sense. They can spread out a bit in the queue or the sidewalk, so that you're in the middle (think ) and then you have some breathing room instead of feeling like this:

And there are a lot of places in all the parks to take a breather- benches, out of the way pathways, even corners of counter service eateries where you can put your back to the wall. Make your plans without having everything exact to the minute (say, today I'll be in Animal Kingdom, and I'll have an awesome day if I get to ride Expedition Everest and see Festival of the Lion King, instead of at rope drop I'm running to EE, then to the Safari and then by 10 I have to be at dinosaur and by 10:30 I have to catch the first Nemo show, and then....)

Hope your trip is wonderful!


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Old 10-16-2012, 08:36 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by dsneprincess View Post
Just remember that you can always find a quiet out of the way spot to relax, recharge, just catch your breath, if need be. Just keep your eyes open, if you feel the need to find a spot. At Animal Kingdom, there are quiet places long the river & around the tree that are usually pretty empty. At Magic Kingdom, around the Splash Mountain exit/bathroom area. Tom Sawyer Island is a great escape, sometimes, You can secure a rocking chair with a water view & forget you are in a busy park. Just remember to go at your pace, relax and enjoy! No one can see it all in one trip & neither can you! If you are helped by blocking out sound/stimuli, maybe carry an iPod & concentrate on that in lines if you need to. Use your family as a buffer if you need to. Not to make light of your situation, just know that everyone reaches their breakpoint sometime within their Disney vacation & most of us use some sort of similar coping strategy to deal with parks, crowds, heat, family, whatever. DW is NOT for the faint of heart!!!
I had to ask twice the recent trip or a place o sit away for a bit to control nerves. Once my dd was in line for Princesses at MNSSHP and the line was so long, not moving and I just had a melt down. I sat away for about an hr as she went brow the line and the CM left me know as she got close. He was very kind. His brother has as purgers and can only due three hrs of Disney before too much stimulation.

There is so much expectation to get all we can from a trip, but some of my calmest enjoyable times were watching a squirell, sitting having a Dole Whip, or pineapple juice, chatting with new friends, or getting big hugs from Goofy with tears running down my face cause he loved me....PS I am 57........oh, I forgot to carry my Ativan to the park, I think that would have helped too.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #20
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I'm 20 and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when I was 14. I'm on medication, which helps my day-to-day anxiety, but doesn't help if I'm triggered by something specific. Because of this, I was very worried about my most recent trip to WDW, but with planning, I had an amazing time, and so will you!

As other have said, accepting that you may not be able to "keep up" with everyone else is important. You'll have a wonderful time even if things don't go according to plan - which can be hard to believe, as I'm usually unable to handle plans going wrong, but WDW has a way of making everything okay.

I don't know when you're booked, but off-season is best so there won't be as many crowds. Try and go as early as possible each day to avoid crowds, and take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. One of my triggers is being touched by strangers in crowds, so this one was very important for me. Resting helped me regroup.

Using touring plans was a lifesaver. Having my days planned in advance lessened my anxiety tenfold. Even if things didn't go exactly as planned, I could use the plans to get back on track and I felt much more in control, which helps my anxiety. It helps if your family is on board with this and let's you take the lead.

Another one of my issues is getting unwanted attention/being judged/being embarrassed, so I understand not wanting to use a GAC. It might be worth it to get one just in case. Knowing you have it if you need it may ease some worries. Disney cast members are extremely nice and very helpful, and many of my biggest concerns were put at ease on day 1. I never once felt judged.

I hope you have an amazing time! I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have, as we're almost the same age and it seems we have similar anxiety issues.

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Old 10-19-2012, 11:00 AM   #21
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Hello, I am bipolar and have panic and anxiety issues and also happen to be an RN, maybe I can give you some tips. I have a fear of heights so I take Dramamine about half an hour before boarding the plane and always get an aisle seat, thinking about looking out the window makes my palms sweaty, plus being in the aisle makes it easier for me to flee to the bathroom if need be.

I take deep breaths too, but what I do, is take a deep breath in and then count one one thousand, two one thousand, until I get to 5 before breathing out, in through the nose, out through the mouth, if I concentrate on counting, it clears my mind. I will also, in desperate situations, like lines in stores and probably lines for rides would be the same, I stare at the floor and recite the alphabet backwards. I have to concentrate to do that and it takes my mind off things around me, plus a lot of breathing, but slow, no hyperventilating.

I also like to think that others may feel the exact way I feel right then and so I watch people, sometimes I will focus on someone standing completely still and just keep my eyes on them and tell myself they are doing what I'm doing and this calms me, thinking I'm not alone.

I'm on bipolar meds and even though I'm a nurse, I'm against most benzodiazepines for anxiety. But, in this past year, with my son being dx'ed ADHD and evening times being the worst for the family dealing with his meltdowns, I told my psychiatrist I would try a low dose of Xanax. I don't take it everyday, just when I feel a panic attack coming on. It works within 15 min. of taking it and doesn't sedate me, but slows me down and calms me well. I wish I would've tried it sooner, it has really helped me immensely.

You said you are seeing a therapist, are you doing cognitive behavioral therapy? I did that for a year and it is a lifesaver if you do it consistently and get used to all your triggers and hot thoughts.

I went to the World back in 2005 and I remember sitting on benches and just concentrating on the scenery and sights around me when I needed a break. Although my family was with me, sometimes they were overly helpful and I had to politely tell them to go enjoy a ride and just let me sit alone for a while. It was a huge relief to be able to sit quietly on my own while I worked through my anxiety.

I wish you the best of luck, feel free to PM me if you'd like, I can tell you more about CBT if you want to know more about it.

Blessings, Michelle
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