Anyone have tips for anxiety and dealing with the uncertainty of plane travel right now?

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Post by Guest »

I recently cancelled our trip to Italy 5 hours before departure because I’ve been suffering from severe anxiety and insomnia issues. I can go days without sleep at this point. I’m heartbroken, deep down I know it was the right choice for my health at this time, but the regret is real.

I’ve been to 8 countries, 23 states, 6 national parks. I’m only 24. I want to continue to see the world but my sudden anxiety and insomnia is getting in the way.

It all started a few months ago I had a flight for work and had to get up at 3 in the morning. The time change hit me hard and I didn’t sleep for 3 days, I was unproductive and useless on the staff retreat. I came home and continued to have  issues with sleep. Then the anxiety came. I flew again in October to visit family and had that same awful 3 am wake up and ended up getting stranded for a night in a gross hotel and didn’t sleep 3 days.

Our Italy trip was again that 3 am wake up call. I thought I was prepared this time as doctor gave me seroquel and I use cbd which has worked for me. It didn’t work that night. I cried and hyperventilated about how I wasn’t sleeping. I cried about the 8 hour overnight plane ride that I knew I wouldn’t sleep on. I knew I was doomed because by the time I got to Italy I’d have been awake for 50 hours. So I cancelled. The first time I ever cancelled. A 2.5 week vacation. Cancelled.

I travel about 6 months out of the year, 2 for pleasure, 2 to visit family, and 2 for work. I fly with delta always. I am not lying when I say, I am on the phone with delta at least twice a month trying to fix my flights that they keep changing and rescheduling. They’ve actually changed my final destination on me without asking. Supposed to fly to Marquette and they changed it to end my journey in Detroit. That’s 8 hours away.

This keeps happening. I’ve had numerous flights cancelled day before, numerous layover changes, getting stranded due to short layovers.

I was never fearful of flying or traveling or anything.

But with all the uncertainty of flying it has given me severe anxiety.

I am wondering if anyone else here has anxiety in general or anxiety with all these flight changes and has tips to help. I am getting into therapy. I don’t ever want to cancel a trip again 😭 especially when In the US vacation time is so scarce 😢

I feel everyone always talks up travel but I think we all can admit that at times it’s really stressful and exhausting.

Post by Darcey »

Quick reply would be to schedule flights that don’t depart anywhere near 3 am and see how you do.

Anxiety is real and crippling so you may have to put travel on hold and figure out what is driving this shift in your mental health.

Post by Jenny »

I take regular anxiety medication and then take Xanax for a day or two prior (at night) and also for the flight. It's a life saver and I actually sleep on flights now.

Post by Heidy »

Get a really good travel insurance and know they’ll help if anything goes wrong. I have the yearly Premium Allianz and helps me fly with confidence

Post by Debi »

There’s no doubt that travel these days can be stressful! It sounds as though your anxiety is not well managed. Congratulations for starting counseling and seeing your doctor, those are both good starts! However, not every medication works the same for every person… there are many more anti- anxiety medications out there and some of them help with insomnia and panic. Your healthcare provider can change your meds to help. Don’t stop looking for better control of anxiety and insomnia. Also, consider that CBD could be making things worse (yes, it can have these paradoxical side effects). You may want to trial down or off for a few months to see if that helps (a few days or 2 weeks isn’t long enough). And I’m definitely with you on taking a later flight if at all possible! If not, find ways to nap or at least rest on the plane.

Post by Katee »

I have anxiety and the one thing I can tell you is that lack of sleep exacerbates it.

Post by Tracy »

I can never sleep if I have an early flight either. I prefer to wake up at my usual time and take a later flight, otherwise I’m too nervous that I’ll oversleep. I take Benadryl or melatonin to sleep the night before and while on the trip in a different time zone.

Unfortunately I have no tips regarding the anxiety aspect, but I understand. Normally my husband and I travel often but we haven’t been doing that since the pandemic due to uncertainty with travel. Hope to be back in the saddle soon!

Post by Christina »

You are not alone. I have anxiety and have had the same thing happen to me.

First, those early flights are rough—your sleep is probably disturbed by the notion you might not wake up to your alarm, etc.

Second, air travel is a nightmare (to me) right now. I had multiple trips canceled by COVID (as many of us did) and yesterday was my first time flying since March 2020. My departure was 2.5 hours late.

I’ve accepted that for my own sanity right now air travel is not worth the stress to me. I’ll continue to travel by car/camper and explore the places nearby until things are a little more settled.

Great job working with your therapist on how to overcome this. It takes time, patience and a lot of practice, but you can do it!

Post by Michelle »

I think you need to stop traveling for a while. Sounds like you’ve overdone it. Stay home. Relax.

Post by Laurel »

I have flight anxiety and probably undiagnosed GAD. Are you seeking out a therapist for some of this? I understand insomnia also, I have it all the time and I think it makes my anxiety worse.

Travel now is rough. There are more disruptions and unpleasantries. I say if that is too much for you then maybe pause until it calms a bit. Or, once the insomnia can be resolved. Have you talked with a decent doctor on it? It could be something like thyroid. I mention this because when I had insomnia and anxiety they went first to thyroid or adrenal issues. Wasn't either and I was supposed to go a sleep study and focus on sleep hygiene (no blue lights before bed, etc).

I had to cancel an anniversary trip last year. Tons of planning only to be cancelled. It was when Austria went into a lockdown and COVID was off the charts. My husband was anxious we would get stuck there and be in trouble with work and I was worried I would get sick. I was so sad and lost money. But it all worked out okay. This too shall pass for you.

Post by Karle »

Sorry you're going through this. Seems to me that for some people anxiety actually springs from strengths (being thoughtful and wanting to be prepared, etc.) that have been turned up too high and need to be dialed down. You sound like a person who's willing to work at getting a handle on it, and the good news is that there are so many avenues to try to overcome this, including therapy, meds, and what others have suggested plus changing how you eat, how your sleeping arrangements are set up for optimal sleep, your physical routine, your self talk, anxiety workbooks, meditation, for some people, prayer, the music you listen to, the media you consume, the people you surround yourself with. Wishing you all the best as you explore.

Post by Stephanie »

I planned too many trips this year and had the same issue in September. The thought of going was stressing me out more than I was excited to travel. We canceled our trip to Ireland (thankfully it was the same week Ian hit so we would have been stuck) Sometimes you just need quiet time at home to recharge.

Post by Marian »

Seeking help from your doctor was the right step in handling your anxiety. If what you were prescribed isn’t working for you, I suggest following up with the doctor because sometimes a medication might not work for you personally but I can’t help but think there is a right med available. Some meds take a while to kick in, like 3 or 4 weeks.

Travel can be difficult right now as we know. Maybe give yourself some time before you do anything more than what’s necessary if that’s possible. There are a lot of travel agents available who would book your air for you and help you deal with changes in the schedule when necessary for times you must travel. Request flights at times that work for you and be sure to have long enough layovers when changing planes to reduce the stress. Maybe another airline would have nonstop flights for where you want to fly. Anytime you can avoid changing planes is beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety but that involve a different airline.

Give yourself the gift of time to sort this out so you can enjoy the travel when the time is right. I wish you good health.
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