Travelling with Anxiety

Do you ever do something and think afterwards how the f**k did I do that? IF ONLY IT COULD BE BOTTLED, THAT COURAGE.

I am talking about traveling with anxiety.

I have suffered with anxiety my whole life. It has limited my life to the extent I don’t go out, and if I do it’s after dark and to the supermarket to stock up on pasta and ice cream.

I have a partner I have been with for a few years. We did attempt to go out as a couple to restaurants and the like, but quickly had to knock that on the head because my anxiety did not make the experience at all fun. Then shit happened and going out at all became impossible.

But.

That said, we have gone on holidays abroad. This is the point I think HOW?

Going on holiday is stressful, if like me you have agoraphobia and anxiety. For my partner it is enjoyable. Yes. Enjoyable. What a strange old word. Let’s break it down.

Travelling with Anxiety


Writing a list. A travel inventory. Nothing must be forgotten. Shades, toiletries – are they in a clear bag and to the measurements required, pads – you never know I might start my period, notebook, books, flip flops, charger – spare charger, snacks, magazine, toilet rolls, an outfit for my hand luggage – in case I puke over myself on the plane (keeping it classy) blanket, towel, sweeteners – am I the only person who feels bad when someone on the plane has forgotten their sweeteners and the cabin crew don’t have any, raincoat, tickets, printout of travel/hotel info, wipes, soap, money – in all currencies, tissues, water bottle.

Yes, this stuff can be bought in Spain or Germany or wherever. Yes, it is ok to forget something. TELL THAT TO MY BRAIN.

Packing the suitcase. Have to remember carrier bags, day outfits, socks, underwear, night outfits, evening outfits, pyjamas, loungewear, OH MY GOD THE SUITCASE ISN’T ZIPPING SHUT.

Traveling to the airport. That involves a train into London, an overnight stay in a hotel, worrying about dinner, and breakfast, trying to sleep in a bed that is not my own, what if my alarm doesn’t ring and we miss our flight, what if I don’t have time for a shower – I don’t want people to think I stink, setting the alarm 8 times so it goes off in the lift, and in the taxi on the way to the airport AND NOT BEING ABLE TO TURN IT OFF, worrying I may have left something in the hotel when I leave – I DIDN’T UNPACK ANYTHING.

The airport. Oh the airport. Trying to navigate the way into the airport, onto the shuttle, finding the toilets, waving off our suitcases, trying to hydrate and simultaneously trying to finish the bottle of water before we go through security, finding another toilet, queue at security, sweating because – you never know – I might get arrested, wondering if you will ever see your hand luggage again when you have relinquished it, the waiting, the delays, wandering through endless cold corridors – which always make me think of the time corridors in Doctor Who – my partner gets thoroughly annoyed every time I mention it,

all this while trying to rearrange my face to appear ‘normal’ while inside I am losing my shit, having no idea what to do with my hands, trying to not get stomped on by people in a bigger rush to get this done with than me,

then asking myself if my face has changed from my passport photo and they won’t let me on the plane, more waiting, waiting, getting onto those stairs to the plane – they frighten me – I don’t like heights, knowing as someone with a large chest someone is going to elbow my boobs, or going to get them in their head or back, and how on earth you get comfortable in a plane seat I do not know. As soon as I am sat in my seat I want to leave. There is no personal space, my knees are in jeopardy, and I immediately get a headache as soon as the plane takes off. 

You think at this point I would have a chance to breathe, but no. I am counting down the minutes until the plane gets back onto solid ground. I’m not quiet about this either.

Being in a foreign country unsettles me. It’s because home is a bit too far away for comfort.

Queuing for the toilet, queuing, more queuing, and finding our suitcases. Is there no better way? Maybe it is just me, but how do I pull my suitcase off that thing without me landing on my backside.

I don’t know why, but we get a coach transfer to our hotel. It is a new kind of hell. Waiting for everyone to get onto the coach, onto the right coach, the relinquishing of luggage again as it goes in the boot, I worry about all of the kids running around, I worry about how the rest of the day is going to pan out now we are actually HERE.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It takes me 2 days to recover. So why do I do it to myself?

Because my anxiety is limiting, it also limits my partner’s life. I’m not going to tell him we can’t go on holiday, because there’s already a lot we don’t do because of my anxiety.

It’s like a bruise. Curiosity makes me keep prodding it. Travel is exciting. I like the idea of it. I like experiencing new places. New foods and new people not so much. Anxiety inducing.  The holiday we had last year was relatively less stressful, which I think means I may be getting used to it. Also the airport was trying a new way of easing queues and getting people onto their flights quicker. That worked like a dream.

It’s a privilege to travel as well, my family could never afford to take me and my two siblings abroad. I think my parents probably had enough of taking us to stay in a caravan for a week. The memories I have of that are being in a stuffy car, ants and endless walking. I still had anxiety then. I will forever dislike piers. How can walking along slats of wood across the sea ever be fun? I used to have nightmares about falling into the sea. It doesn’t take a lot to fuel my imagination.

Photo by Marianna on Pexels.com

Thanks for reading!

https://ko-fi.com/klpoetry

My Book Anniversary

Here Comes the Sun was published in 2017 on this day.

I didn’t follow any particular process writing Here Comes the Sun. undefinedI wrote the poems in this book on loose pieces of paper, while I was in different countries in Europe. Some of the poems were my reflecting on things and others – scenes that were unfolding at the time. I think this was one of the first chapbooks I put together that had a strong theme. I had written a lot of love poems previously, when I was a baby poet and posting on Tumblr. There are still poems on love in this book, but not as many. There are poems that have humour, are silly and a section of micro-poems too.


When I was putting together the poems in Here Comes the Sun I took care in editing the poems and, in saying them out loud, making sure they sounded right too. I find the movement in traveling, from train to subway to airport etc, exhilarating, so I tried to capture that.


People say ‘oh, you wrote a book,’ and treat it as if it is an achievement. I used to shit on that and say ‘it’s nothing,’ That’s BS. Writing a book takes a lot of courage, a lot of I don’t know what I am doing but I want to be able to communicate with you, the reader, and cause you to see something in a different way or feel emotions. It takes a lot of emotional labour. There is trauma in my poems on travel and I don’t talk about it. Being vulnerable can lead people to use that as a method to hurt you.



Here Comes the Sun, as a phrase, means all the good stuff to me, like hope and being alive and sunshine and summer and beaches and stepping out of an airport into a different country and feeling fresh air.


Buy the book through this link here


Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

Pocket Poems, a read for the summer

Digital Download

12 micro-poems that follow the arc of the start of a summer to its end. These vary from traveling the subway, favourite ice cream flavours & to ‘memories – fleeting passengers / all of irregular shapes,’

Poems taken from my book Here comes the Sun. Published in 2017.

Buy link

A sweary brain dump on anxiety and counselling

blogheader


Hello

 
My counselling finished. I cannot afford it. After a year and however many months of trying to access help, I got it – from a women’s centre close to where I live. It has been 8 months, I think, of one session a week. I feel lost, to be honest. The decision was taken out of my hands. After last month’s depression and feeling lonely, I don’t think not having anyone to talk to is useful. It is shit. I am freaking out at being told I can start up again when I like but will be given a different counsellor depending on availability. I am sick of telling my story repeatedly to professionals. Especially when I’m like ‘oh, it’s fine!’ and they’re like, ‘that must have been tough for you,’ so I don’t like the thought of entrusting another person with my past. I know I’m no-one special and my experiences are not unique, it isn’t that a big deal.

 
I feel like I have opened all these wounds from the past and the memories are overwhelming at times. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them. I just feel shit about them.

 
My anxiety feels through the roof at the moment. I’m thinking about appointments I need to make after lockdown and even supermarket trips have an added layer of anxiety because of social distancing. It makes me feel like shit when you are in the supermarket and waiting for a person to finish picking up what they are getting from the shelf and they deliberate and change their mind and after three minutes I realise they have no idea I am there, waiting for them to move. Coughing doesn’t sound like a good idea to do now and I lose my voice in social environments, so after looking stupid, I go and get something else and come back when it’s free. It’s a worry I have, that I have no presence, that people seem to not notice me. It makes me think am I dead, am I invisible, is there something wrong with me?

 
No, people are knobheads, Kate.

 
The anxiety pisses me off. I have always had it and thought I was used to it and I actually realise it’s isolating and people are writing what they are going to do when they get out of lockdown and seeing friends and going to the beach and whatever. I’m writing stuff like see the doctor, go to the dentist, etc. because I haven’t in so long because anxiety is like ‘bitch, please. You really think you could do that without fucking up. Stay in your lane,’

 
Anxiety about my health is huge. I don’t think people appreciate what it takes, to phone to get an appointment and then building yourself up to go to the appointment. You’re thinking about what to wear, the bus, should I walk, the weather, what will happen in the appointment, what will I say, will I be taken seriously, will I be waiting long, do they have a toilet in the surgery, will they ask me to use the self-service machine I’ve never used before to weigh myself and get my height, will the receptionist be nice, will I be able to speak, will I make a fool of myself, what if I’m late, what if the doctor thinks I’m wasting their time, will they even look up from their computer at me, will I get a chance to speak my mind, what if I break the chair, will the surgery be busy, will everyone stare at me, what if the doctor doesn’t do anything, what if the doctor fobs me off, what if they give me medication and I have to tell them I cannot afford it and no, I’m not on benefits so I cant be exempt from charges, what if I don’t know the right stop to get off the bus, what if it rains, do I need an umbrella, which coat do I wear, will I get too hot, should I take a drink, should I take snacks, what am I going to do after, I’m going to have to walk past the railway tracks, it’s too loud, too many people –

 
You get the idea. Time becomes irrelevant. The appointment takes up every waking minute of every day leading up to it. I try and stay busy and distracted but it’s hard. I wish I could take my head off at times.

 
I know it’s ridiculous. I know if I could snap my fingers and not worry and be anxious, I would but I seemingly cannot. It’s the way I live. Every part of my life involves thinking too hard about it and I am in my comfort zone and when I dare try to do something new, anxiety pulls me in. It wants to save me from looking stupid and being rejected. It’s a nice thing of it to do, but it’s a hinderance, rather than a help. I realise that. Counselling has been one step out of the comfort zone, and it was positive. It was one day a week I left home and had a purpose. I was consistently going, my routine changed. Because it’s difficult for me to leave the flat without a goal, I need a reason to go out and other than shopping, visit to the public library, I got nothing. I have no-one to help me with that. I think a person could be of help. I have my boyfriend but, you know. He’s probably suffered as well. He’s outgoing but now he doesn’t do much either.

 
It’s frustrating because I nailed it late last year. Went out at least 5 days out of 7 and when my boyfriend and I went on holiday, we went out every day. I might have a good couple of days while on holiday and then I want to stay in the hotel room and not leave. It’s a positive we have been on holidays. It hasn’t been easy. Going to the shop to book the holiday, going to Primark to buy holiday clothes, packing literally everything in case we have burglars while we’re away, the travel to the airport, then navigating the airport, security, hours to kill, queues to buy an overpriced newspaper and bottle of water, delays, boarding, the transport to the plane, getting onto the plane, off the plane is horrendous and then queues to get through the airport, toilets, finding our luggage, transfer to the hotel is awful, check in, finding our room, food control issues so must first go the supermarket and buy supplies, restaurants, the beach, public toilets, body image problems – the list is endless and I do shut down. My boyfriend knows I’m not there at all and knows not to ask, just get me through the airport, onto the plane and to the hotel.

 

No-wonder I get burnout.

 
I tried to find positives here. I’m trying, which is good.
Thanks for reading, Drop a comment if I said anything that made sense to you.


 

Cover Reveal. A Love Like This.

 

 


Hello. I thought I would do a quick cover reveal of my next chapbook, A Love Like This. It’s made up of a bunch of short poems on a toxic, shitty relationship that I experienced when I was younger. It surprised me how many poems I wrote on this period of my life, a lot of them written during the relationship. I wrote all the time when I was younger. It has some light-hearted moments, the poems have a darker, cynical edge to them. I will update you when I have more info. In the meantime, if you want to read some of my poems you can get my chapbook Pocket Poems – 12 micro-poems on travel and a few of them are fun, silly little moments I experienced. https://payhip.com/KLPoetry