Dreading Vacation (OCD/GAD)

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Daisy-J&D, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Daisy-J&D

    Daisy-J&D DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2004
    I think I just need to talk this out but was wondering if anyone else experiences this too? Or has any advice?

    I'm dreading going on vacation and it's making me sick. I think we're about 17 days out from vacation and I've lost all appetite, barely eating, and I'm having panic attacks. People keep telling me to cheer up because I'm going on vacation but I am honest when I say it's the vacation that is causing the problem.

    Any tricks to help me through this? I *want* to go to Disney and I'm ok once I'm there it's just the build up to going and travelling there that makes me sick. How do I start seeing the positive in this?

  2. rewardsinlife

    rewardsinlife Mouseketeer

    Aug 17, 2012
    Bummer...my post disappeared. Ok, let's try again :thumbsup2

    Firstly, what is your main concern about vacation? Ie. what is making you sick to think about it?

    -Is it the crowds?- If so, why don't you spend a couple days in solitude before the trip to get yourself ready to go. I find this works well for me anyway so I can mentally prepare for DL.

    -Is it the OCD acting up?- Depending on what kind of OCD, is how you are going to work on it. Are you needing to clean everything? Sounds good! Just bring some clorox wipes with you and purrell. I put purrell on my hands about every hour. (May sound excessive, but I don't do it any other time but at amusement parks, and it seems to work well for me). Wipes work well to clean off those tables before you sit down with the family to eat.

    In the mean time, you do need to eat, or you will feel sicker than you are now. Maybe pick up a meal replacement shake, and cans of soup to get you through the nerves. Sometimes, even pretending(use that imagination of yours!) that vacation has been postponed or canceled until a couple days before can help you forget what is making you so nervous in the first place.

    The main thing is to remember that this is your vacation, and your time. So you don't get out at 7am the morning of? That's ok, you will miss the morning traffic and make it there possibly at the same time as everyone else. You have unlimited amounts of time to do things...don't rush. Often, people will enjoy the day more if you take your time going to rides and sitting down for shows then running from one ride to another. Finally, if you are worried about work left behind...don't. It will certaintly be there when you get back. I don't even turn on my phone at DL..I want to be as far into Fantasyland as I can. The real world will be outside when I get back.

    Hopefully this helps you out a bit! :goodvibes
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. LilyWDW

    LilyWDW Going to My Happy Place

    May 7, 2006
    I can understand fully. I have OCD and Social Anxiety along with Depression. The anxiety and OCD go full blown a week or so before a trip because I am worrying so much about things. Did I pack everything? What if the flight is delayed? Will the trip be fun? Did I make the right reservations? Where will our room be? Ect ect. And you are telling your brain to shut up, but it just never listens!

    How does your OCD manifest? Is there a way to let it out without going full blown? For example, mine is organization (aka books have to be organized by genre, then author, then either title or series order) and planning. So, I make my lists, check them a "few" times, start packing way in advance, go over my ADRs and touring plans, and stuff like that. While it may seem to someone on the outside that I am letting the OCD control things, I am actually allowing it to manifest in a way I can control. I am directing that extra energy into something helpful.

    Are you on medication? Are you seeing someone about this? Do you have any relaxation techniques that can help?
  5. SDSorority

    SDSorority Traumatized by Magic Journeys and Haunted Mansion

    Dec 29, 2009

    I so get how you're feeling. Can you explain (or make yourself REALLY think about) what exactly it is that's causing your anxiety? Is it that you're worried you're going to forget something? Or worried about being out of your home routine? Worried that something is going to go wrong on the trip?

    For me, I always get anxious when I'm out of my normal routine. I'm going on vacation to Calgary/Banff Canada in less than 10 days and I'm starting to get anxious. I was anxious before my last trip to WDW, was anxious before my last trip to Vegas... I get where you're coming from. Here are a few things that help my travel anxiety:

    Pack your suitcase far in advance. When you feel like you've got it really packed with everything you think you're going to need, take your items out one-by-one and write them down on a list. Then, go over that list to double check. If you forget something at home, no biggie. You can always get a replacement at one of the resort gift shops or at a Hess station. I then like to pack my suitcase the weekend before the trip.

    Take 5-10 minutes and write down on a calendar when you need to stop your mail and paper (and do any other time-sensitive tasks). I also like to write on the calendar when I need to make a meal or two to put in the freezer for when we get back, when I need to make time to clean up the house before we leave, etc. Just 5-10 minutes, just to get my brain dumped on paper.

    Pack some comfort items for the airport and plane- ipod with relaxation songs/podcasts/games, snacks you're used to eating at home, take Rescue Remedy and Calms Forte (google it- I swear by them) and maybe a laptop or portable DVD player with some favorite movies or sitcoms. I pack all of these and they make such a difference for me.

    Do your best to be conscious of trying to stay healthy- lots of water, lots of sleep, wholesome food, vitamins, probiotics, etc.

    I hope these tips help- just try to pinpoint exactly what it is that's making you feel anxious (sometimes you need to look beyond the obvious) and do your best to work on it, one day at a time. Also, check out Anxiety Slayer on itunes. I love Shann and Ananga- they do such a supportive podcast.
  6. Daisy-J&D

    Daisy-J&D DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2004
    After posting this last week I went into complete meltdown mode. It's been awful and I want to cancel the vacation more than anything else because I feel like all of my issues are due to going.

    Last year I flew for the first time in 27 years. I was nervous buying the tickets but then months later when I actually went to fly I had no issues at all. I got on the plane and enjoyed it. Even on the flight home I wished it had been longer because I was enjoying it. I though to myself after that I didn't really have a fear of flying, I had a fear of a fear of flying. Well this year it's so ramped up I'm out of control.

    My medication (Effexor) had been not working well for about 2 years. I finally stopped taking it at the end of March this year and I've been flopping around trying different things since (Pristiq, Zoloft, Resperidone and now Remeron). I literally feel like I've been tossed into the middle of the ocean with nothing to hold onto. In my head I think the only reason I was brave enough to fly last year was the Effexor. I don't have that calm in my mind for Remeron. I can't do it. I'm freaking out about flying and completely obsessing over medication not working etc. I just don't know how I can add a vacation into the mix of all of this.

    I've said to DP that I think this is a bad time to go but I've been told "we're going". Not very supportive at all. I know we'd lose a lot of money (even if we rebooked) so now I just feel trapped.

    What am I going to do? :sad1::sad1::sad1:
    What if I refuse to get on the plane??
    What if I get there and won't want to fly home again?
    What if I don't feel well while on vacation?
  7. nala1128

    nala1128 Huge Disney Fan!

    Feb 5, 2004
    For the past few years, I too experience great panic and anxiety before we go on vacation... yes its supposed to be fun and all that, but that still doesn't override the internal issues that go on. Like you said in your initial post, once we get there, I am fine. I cannot even explain what I stress about exactly or why I panic pre-vacation, but I just do. It is very hard for anyone who doesn't experience it to relate to including your DP.

    I just take a deep breath and try to redirect my thoughts, and tell myself that worrying about what if is not productive and keeps me from living in the present... It takes alot of work and its not always easy,. I also have downloaded some relaxation and meditation apps into my iphone that I find are very helpful at calming me.

    Often times, we make it worse for ourselves... we create a vicious cycle of worry that seems to feed on itself. Try and remember the happy feeling you have once you are there and try to redirect yourself to that. I don;t think anything anyone says will truly change the way you feel, however you should know that you are not alone in this experience!
    Just take it one step at a time... you have done this before and will be fine.
  8. SDSorority

    SDSorority Traumatized by Magic Journeys and Haunted Mansion

    Dec 29, 2009
    I don't know if this helps at all- I added this to a 'relaxation' playlist I have on youtube.


    OP, I so totally TOTALLY know what you're feeling right now. I really do. I hadn't flown for 14 years before I went on my honeymoon in 2006 to WDW. I cried before we went to the airport (happy wedding night DH... just me crying the whole time... he's a trooper, I tell you what), I cried after we got out of the car in the airport parking garage, I cried after we got to the gate. Once I got on the plane and got settled in, I saw how relaxed the flight attendants were, said hello to the pilot. During take off I just held on to hubs knee and looked out the window. During turbulence I did the same thing. During landing I did the same thing. I brought a MILLION things to distract myself with, and it was all ok! I did have one bout of claustrophobia, but as soon as I got up, walked down the isle and took a short potty break, the claustrophbia/sweating/freaking out totally went away. I had NOTHING to worry about, but boy, the fear sure does seem real, doesn't it?! :crazy2:

    I am a recovering emetophobe- have been doing online exposure therapy and it really is helping me. If you can get yourself relaxed and in a safe space, try watching this.



    For me, hubs just tells me "Feel that turbulance? Doesn't it feel familiar? Just like how it feels on Mexico (rio del tiempo) or Pirates, right? It's all normal and perfectly safe, just like on the Disney rides".

    I can honestly tell you that I am now the calmest flyer- I had to do it a few times to get this way, but now, I know what tricks work for me. In fact, I'm flying across the country on Saturday, and it's ok! This is my flight routine:

    After security I get a bottle of water and have a small snack while waiting to board.

    When walking down the ramp, I be sure to take my time to try to stay relaxed.

    I greet the flight attendants and pilot if they're at the door with a smile. If you want, you can tell them that you're a nervous flyer.

    When I get into my seat I buckle in and put my bag under the seat in front of me. I'll take out a magazine to read while I can't have my electronic devices on.

    Once we hear the "ding" for take off, I look out the window and watch the plane take off. It helps me because I sometimes get a little woosy (motion sick).

    Once in the air, before the "ding" that allows us to turn on electronics, I read a favorite magazine. Normally one that has to do with beauty, home organization, or both (like a Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, or Self).

    When the electronics "ding" goes off, I pull out my laptop and watch one of my favorite DVD's- Golden Girls, Are you being served?, or Boy Meets World.

    I alternate between DVD's, music on my ipod, games on my ipod and magazines until it's time to land.


    OP, you can do this!!!!! :cheer2:
  9. JeanfromBNA

    JeanfromBNA "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!"

    Jun 1, 2006
    Would it help to remember that the vacation is for your DH and DD too? :)
  10. crazymomof4

    crazymomof4 DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2003
    Regarding the Pre-WDW meltdown. I can relate. It's almost embarrassing to type this... but if it helps you....
    Way back in 94 I had some mysterious physical symptoms that I was SURE was cancer!!! I had it in my head that I was going to die and leave my two little boys w/o a mom! The months prior to our wdw trip were spent with me getting one medical test after another.... all came back normal but in my mind that just meant there was something the drs were overlooking. I too lost all of my appetite and was only focused on what would happen to my kids after I was dead! I too was wanting to cancel the trip but would have suffered financially if we did. Long story short, I had my last test (abdominal ultrasound) the day before we left. I told myself I couldn't go on in this misery of worry, it was taking over my life. I said that if the last test turned out normal I was going on the trip and taking a vacation from my fears. I simply would not allow myself to "go there" (with my thoughts) over the two weeks in FL. My symptoms followed me to FL but I was able to control my anxiety. It took a lot of thought control but I did it and was able to actually enjoy the trip. The symptoms took a few more months to finally disappear and I was able to (with out the help of dr.s) figure out the cause of my symptoms and it turns out it was NOT all in my head, like the dr.s kept telling me! Soo I know this is different in a lot of ways from your situation but the common thread is thought control of inner fears. You can do it!!! I was a wreck and I did!!! My brother and his wife fly all the time and they still take xanax to help calm their fears. Nothing wrong with that! Have you ever tried xanax, just for the times you're feeling anxious? I've used it now and then and it really does take the edge off of your anxiety. Some natural things work too. Google L-Theanine, Fish Oil or 5-HTP for anxiety. Just don't take the 5-HTP if you're currently taking antidepressants and don't take it with any alcohol.
    Hope this helps in some way and I hope you are able to enjoy your trip!
  11. ToddyLu

    ToddyLu Welcome aboard explorers- I love Mr. Ray

    Jun 6, 2008
    :) My DH has issues with taking trips. He uses Xanax to take the edge off flying and has flown in helicopters and planes for years. He just doesn't like having to sit quietly. He is a pacer by nature, the thought of having to sit in the car for the two hour drive to the airport, wait on the flight, take the flight really are excruciating to him. The Xanax has helped tremendously. We first tried it a couple of years ago and he said that medication was almost life chaging for him.

    Outside of travel issues I think he has a hyperactivity disorder of some kind. His parents chose not to treat him with medication as a child in the 1970s for different reasons. So today he is a very happy adult, fire fighter in a happy marriage, etc. He just can't turn his mind off--or that is how he explains it to me. So at night he found it very hard to go to sleep, then the fire fighter life breaking into that every 48 hours didn't help (on duty 24 hours, off duty 48 hours). So when we tried the Xanax for flying, he stated it was amazing--he could focus on the task at hand, enjoying traveling, going through security (that was a major issue to him) and just the normal wait. So he talked with his physician and explained how much better he felt when taking it and now he takes Xanax almost daily. He also had a sleep study several years ago and now uses a CPAP at night combined with Ambien and Sinemet for restless leg (his restless leg syndrome has greatly improved and I am sleeping better).

    Another issue he admitted to on vacation was tummy issues. He didn't want to have bathroom problems on the plane or in the parks...so he does not eat about 24 hours before our flight to and from. This really bothers me but I have to respect his decisions about his body. He has also found that if he only drinks bottled water on vacation his gastric issues are much, much improved. So on our last trip only bottled water or occasional wine. I am able to drink sodas and tea and then also enjoy the water with him.

    So please know that you are not the only one who has issues about traveling, vacations, planning, etc.

    One positive thing I love about Disney--is its consistency. Every trip I might do something new, but I ALWAYS know what to expect...so that helps me relax on vacation. You have been given some great advice and I hope that you enjoy a trip that I am sure you all have worked for.
  12. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

    Aug 26, 1999
    This is what I do:

    Answer these questions with the worst answers you can think of - and go from there.

    For example "What if I refuse to get on the plane?" What are the options? Your family goes without you is option #1.
    No one goes.
    They fly and you figure out another way of getting there.

    Run through all the scenarios, plausible or not. It's the unknown that's getting to you, and once you clear all the options through your head you should feel better. This is coming from a woman who hates to fly, and drove 23 hours (doing all the driving myself!) to have a dream WDW vacation a few weeks ago. I have anxiety issues, panic attacks, and migraines triggered by unresolved stress.
  13. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 1999
    I sympathize about the med carousel. DS has OCS and GAD, and getting the right balance with his meds drives us all to distraction sometimes. (Fingers crossed, he's doing well on Luvox right now.) However, he does have a small script of Xanax that we keep ONLY for traveling. When we fly, I give him one when we get to the gateway for our flight. By the time it's time to board, he is mellow. By the time we take off, he's asleep. You may want to discuss this particular fear with your doctor to see if something similar would be helpful for you. Note that we are very careful with the Xanax and use it ONLY for this purpose, so he takes it maybe twice a year. I keep it locked up otherwise because it is so incredibly addictive. I don't want anyone who is in or out of our house to have access to it. (Son is an older teen with lots of friends.)
  14. Kellykins1218

    Kellykins1218 DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2012
    I have to say that I totally understand your DP's point of view. My brother gets all worked up over trips as well. He gets so anxious that he continually "thinks it's a bad time to go." After spending months of planning & prepping and getting his 2 sons all excited about the trip he would cancel it. I'm sorry he's sick but I find him doing that over and over as emotional abuse to those 2 sweet little guys. Apparently his wife has finally had enough, too, because she said the same thing to him when the last trip was planned "We're GOING." They went & he had a wonderful time. His wife has made it perfectly clear that they will not be cancelling any more vacations. If my brother can't handle it, he can stay home but the kids will not be put through that again. It sounds to me as though your DP is being supportive, he is supporting your child. Really, how could that be a bad thing?
  15. oynk

    oynk Earning My Ears

    Feb 2, 2008
    My son has "bad thought" OCD and this reminds me of him. I don't know if it will help you, but we understand that he can't "out think" the thoughts when he gets like this. The only thing that helps for him is to use humor.

    So, What if I refuse to get on the plane? He will then think of, and visualize, the most ridiculous answers and we will all help him until it becomes silly:

    You will have to catch a giant bird and fly on its back.

    You will have to walk home and it will take six years and you will be the oldest student in the history of the fifth grade...

    I know it sounds kind of silly, but when we try to calm him by making reasonable solutions, he just builds up the tension and comes up with more excuses why it won't work.

    Maybe it will help... Either way, good luck.
  16. Daisy-J&D

    Daisy-J&D DIS Veteran

    Jan 18, 2004
    We're flying out tomorrow...
    I'm feeling better on my new medication but I'm still having obsessive worries that are really getting in the way of my general enjoyment of life. I have one last dr.'s appointment before the trip which is also the last time I'll see my doctor since she is leaving her practice while I'm away (this is making me cry as I type it, I love her as my doctor). I'm going to spill out my last worries to her and hope for the best tomorrow. I think the timing of everything with her leaving is causing me additional stress and worry. I also have a CBT session with my psychologist tomorrow morning.

    Food is still an issue but at least I'm not crying and running out of work this week... I should be saying I need a vacation (do I ever!) but instead although I'm not excited I can say that I've come to terms with going tomorrow... I don't feel like I'm swimming upstream to get away from it any longer.

    So there it is... thank you everyone. Much appreciated reading your stories and advice. I'll post an update when I get back (or maybe even while we're there since it's free wifi!!). :)
  17. SDSorority

    SDSorority Traumatized by Magic Journeys and Haunted Mansion

    Dec 29, 2009

    Hope you're having a great time! I just got back from our Canada trip yesterday and thought of you while on the plane, trying to come up with more tricks that I use to keep myself calm. This was probably the most relaxing trip I've had yet, so I'm hoping that the tricks I have learned that work for me become a "travel routine" to keep me calm from here on out :goodvibes
  18. An_Island_Girl

    An_Island_Girl DIS Veteran

    May 29, 2008

Share This Page