My AS and Travel Anxiety
Before I had AS I loved to travel. I still absolutely love traveling, but now I get terrible anxiety before every trip. I get stomach aches, panic attacks, cry, and almost cancel every time. It’s strange because I never used to be this way, but I think I have a few suspicions on what it could be.
The fear of a flare
I think we can all relate to this. Every time I go somewhere, I’m afraid that I will flare. A flare on a vacation can mean wasted time and money. Or, if you push yourself through the flare, there’s the chance that you could make the flare worse.
No one wants to be in extra pain on their vacation. That idea is always in the back of my head when I’m getting ready to travel. As I’m packing, I think of every possible scenario and I pack accordingly. Which means my suitcase gets heavier and heavier.
If I do happen to have a flare during a vacation, I try to take it easy and walk slow, sit down as much as possible, and use heat when I can. Hot and cold patches are my best friend when traveling.
Fatigue is my worst symptom. I battle it every single day, home or away from home. While traveling and on vacation, I really don’t want to put up with fatigue.
Last summer I went to Portugal. I’d never been to Europe before so I didn’t really know what to expect. Portugal hit me hard. The cobblestone roads and many hills were difficult to handle. I pushed myself and ended up in bed around 7:30 pm every night.
We obviously don’t want to stay in our hotel/hostel all day, or even half a day when we’re traveling. Rest days don’t really exist while traveling unless you’re on a resort vacation. And if so, I’m jealous.
We all know sleep is extremely important. I find sleeping to be incredibly difficult while I’m traveling. I’m extremely fatigued, but I can’t sleep. It’s hard to sleep anywhere other than my bed anymore.
I tend to wake up a lot during the night when I’m traveling and I always wake up earlier than I normally would at home. It’s hard to get a full night of rest for me when I’m away from home.
What I do to ease the anxiety
I’ve learned a few things about what I need while traveling. I bring my hot packs, my heating pads, and hot and cold patches with me every time I travel in case some part of my body is in pain. I also make sure I bring any pills and meds I might need.
Fatigue wise, that’s a little harder to handle. I make sure to rest as much as I can, but sometimes rest can be hard if you’re in a place with lots to do.
I try to go back to where I’m staying and rest in between activities. Even if it’s just for a half-hour, it’s better than no rest. Laying in bed is better than staying out, even if I don’t end up napping.
As for sleep, I tend to bring sleeping pills with me when I travel so that I can get some rest. Otherwise, I won’t get much and as the days go on, it’s harder and harder to function.
I try to do as much as I can to make traveling easier on me. I still get incredibly anxious before a trip, but if I can make myself as comfortable as possible while I’m not home, it makes it a lot easier while I’m on the trip.
Do you have any tips to help ease travel anxiety?
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?