So recently I was travelling back to university after spending two and half wonderful weeks with my family and friends. Since I already had my ticket printed off, I arrived only half and hour early and sat down to wait for the bus. The bus station was really busy, and many people were lining up for different buses. When bus did come everyone that was left over stood up to get on. It was a huge mob of people and I didn’t make it on, although they said that another bus was coming. That second bus took 2 hours to get to the station.
I have always had travel anxiety. Just the waiting, moving onto the next like up and then waiting again makes me agitated and uncomfortable. I find it hard to breathe and sometimes I even feel sick to my stomach. Not knowing what was happening, when my second bus was coming, etc. made me very nervous and anxious. Other people find they have anxiety more because they have a fear of flying, or due to the leaving of a home or comfort, rather than the busyness and the fear of missing their loading.
I have had to take the bus often. After these times, I would assume that I would expect changes, know the station and just be prepared. However, each time that I sit down to wait for bus, or try and figure out what platform my bus will be, I start to panic. But no matter how often one travels and no matter how planned you are, travelling represents change and distance from comfort, and therefore can cause much anxiety.
I have found some strategies that help me but it really depends on the situation, and I guess the severity.
- be preapred: I’m a very organized person but travel still makes me feel lost. Make sure that you print off your ticket, and even have your ID in a handy place. Keep them together, so that when you are asked for them, you can easily access them.
- water: I found that eating and/or drinking sodas, etc., can sometimes only increase my anxiety. Because I start to think that eating and having fizzing drinks can only make my stomach more unsettled. I also find that drinking water allows to fill my time instead of staring at people and wondering if I’m missing my bus.
- music: I would love to read but I find that it distracts me too much and makes me think I’m missing something. But music gives me just some background music but still allows to me watch and follow what is happening. Also, the themes and the vibes of the music makes me happy, instead of anxious.
- fresh air: Maybe this is because I’m from the country and I find that all other air is just not as nice, but sitting in a busy station makes me feel like I’m breathing stuffy air, or maybe this is due to my breathing heavier when having a small panic attacks. Either way I find that I have to just go out and breathe outside, calming me down.
These are the only things that finds help but, of course, it doesn’t solve the issue completely. I never find that it’s a debilitating completely, but it’s obviously uncomfortable.
I’m sure this isn’t only effecting me and I’m very open to suggestions on how you deal with travel anxiety and just anxiety in general! Would love to hear other ideas and stories on how to manage.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” — Dan Millman