14 hr. road trip, dont think i can make it

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 318
   Posted 5/8/2009 6:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I am going to be taking a loooong road trip on the 21st with my family and I am so nervous. I will be traveling down south to see my mom therefore I can not back out of going like I would in other situations. First off traveling by plane is totally out of the question because I have never flown before and now with my anxiety being so bad flying is completely impossible. I never was so bad with car travel before but recently I feel like when I get in the car I get very uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel like its hard for me to breath like as if my shirt is too tight. I know it sounds crazy. Also I go into panic attack mode when I am not in comfortable "safe" place to relax and there is nothing comfy about a 14 hour car ride. We will be riding in an SUV but it won't be much space as we are going to have 5 adult passengers and my 2 kids. I am the type of person who doesn't like to be in uncomfortable situations with people who don't know or understand what I'm going through such as my sisters husband and my fiancees brother who are also going to be in the car with us. I am so scared that I might have an "episode" and they won't understand. I am so dreading this road trip. The only comfort I have is the fact that I'm going to my moms house where I can be comfortable. I guess I should mention that being around a lot of people affects my anxiety, not to mention being in the heat.and were going to visit for a memorial day celebration(that means people and sun) what am I gonna do?? I can't back out because I really want to see my mom.
This too shall pass...

Post Edited (nellebutter) : 5/8/2009 5:40:12 PM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1683
   Posted 5/8/2009 9:20 PM (GMT -6)   

Road trips- or any long trip are my nightmare from hell. BUT, i actually find once im doing it, travelling along, it wasnt as bad as i expected and i begin to enjoy myself to a degree.

If i know ahead of time, i ask my pysch for some extra Valium for emergency 'calming down' purposes- and i rarely end up using it. remember to breathe slowly as soon as you feel anxious, but could you look into getting some meds for this?

Sorry i cant be of more help, but you are most definetly not alone.

Maz XX

            'He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.' (Psalm 147:3)                  
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Date Joined Sep 2006
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   Posted 5/8/2009 9:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Roadtrips can be really difficult, but I believe you can do this.  One of the best tips I received about going on long roadtrips was just to take it a mile at a time.  Don't think of it as 14 hours, break it down into doable amounts, and stop when you need to stop.  It always helps me to stop, get out, get a drink, walk around a little and then I'm ready to go again.  Is there a possibility you could explain to the others who are going what your situation is.  I understand if you can't, I know there are people out there who just don't get it, but for me it's easier to be with people who know what's going on and will understand when you need to stop and take a break. 
Do you have any comfort items?  I pack a few things that help me calm down, like my Claire Weekes books, my i-pod, a drink and my xanax.  Anything to keep your mind occupied will help you.  Do you do CBT?  That will help you too. 
I truly wish you the best of luck with this trip.  Keep a positive, "I can do it" attitude and I hope you come back and report that you had the best time!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
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   Posted 5/8/2009 10:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Would it help to be more in control and having more space? For me if I drive or sit up front I am a lot more calm. Just say you get carsick and would prefer the front. Also, I wouldn't say flying with anxiety is out of the question. It is over a lot quicker. There is a post about it right now. So don't rule it out. But you can do this!! If you still think you will be really uncomfortable could you just drive your own car at your own pace?
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/8/2009 11:21 PM (GMT -6)   
don't know how much help this will be but I will tell you what helped me, just moving to KY we made about 10 trips from IL to KY about 600 miles one way, I found if I got a map of each state and kept track of where I was, I would pick a town on the map and say only 50 miles to this town and then watch the road markers or the exit signs when you reach that town say to yourself that 50 miles went fast and pick another town etc. it helped me it seemed to get to my destination faster.
 Hugs Anna
Help Me Lord To Be All I Can Be And To Take One Day At A Time

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 341
   Posted 5/9/2009 2:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nelle,

Oh I so know how you feel on this one. My last job I had to quit because I couldn't handle the road trips any longer. I was an activity school bus driver. My longest time away from home was 8 days in Albuquerque NM.

Anyway what I do now is I take my dvd player. A set of head phones and I pick my most favorite movies to watch the entire trip. An mp3 player is a great idea. I know some people (my mom) can not read in moving vehicles. But I do love to read. But I only take those sappy romance novels. The ones that make you wish you were the actual char in the book. Anything to keep my mind busy the whole trip.

If I get bored and anxiety starts to kick in I'll get the kids to play slug bug or the license plate game. Something that makes me focus on something else. I stop in every town and 'relax" some. Count the miles to the next town before I can be at ease again.

In another case if that doesn't work. I will sleep. And boy can I now sleep in car rides. I've gotten so used to sleeping on demand that I can do it whenever I start feeling bad. Its my way of not dealing with it. For me all it takes is a benadryl and just a half of one and I can sleep 8 hours without a problem.

I hate hate car rides. I avoid it as much as possible. My hubby scares me to no end with his driving. I'm used to safety first. I am very careful about my driving all because of the 3 monthes of training I got before I got on the bus and then our 6 training sessions through out the school year.
(But now I can not drive more then 1 mile away from the house without freaking out and I have to plan for it days in advance)

You can make this trip. Keep telling yourself its OK. And you will be fine. Yes you MIGHT have an attack or a "scene" but you are strong and can do it. This is an important trip for you. Do whatever you can to make it and make it a fun safe trip. Only you can work your mind into making it. Take some board games to play with the kids. Or start an abc game. I'm not sure how old your kids are but take advantage of the time you can have with them to your advantage.

Good Luck. You will do fine. Just take the time to relax in the towns you go through. That alone will make it a little easier =). If things get bad call your mom. That would be a good reminder on why your taking this wonderful trip!

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/9/2009 7:29 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey there nelle,

I do not know if this is feasible but is there train service to the destination you are going?  On a train you can get up and move around freely. 

On my first road trip after I had my major meltdown I was in tears and begging my hubby to turn around and take me home but he just said let's make it to the next town and see how you are feeling then.  Well eventually we got to the point of no return as we were closer to our first nights stop then to home.  Then my hubby bargained with me to just spend the night at the hotel and if I still had panic in the morning we could go back home.  So mile by mile I made it and I had a good time when I arrived at my destination.

You have all of us supporting you so try not to anticipate the worse case scenario and picture yourself being successful.

Many hugs,



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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1011
   Posted 5/12/2009 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I second telling the driver you get carsick. Everyone understands that, even if they can't comprehend anxiety. If you can't sit in front, get a window seat. That way you can open a window and get some fresh air and you won't feel so boxed in.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 5/12/2009 11:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Road trips are difficult for me, too. I live in California and my father is in Idaho. Three times I've driven from my home to his with my two daughters. We have always stopped in Reno, Nevada and spent the night. I take my Ativan with me, my Prozac, a paper bag (in case of hyperventilation). I find out where hospitals are located and it's great that there are so many. It makes you feel better knowing the hospitals are on the way to your destination. I bring snacks, water, CD's.

More than likely, if you have an episode, everyone will understand. Most people are sympathetic and caring. Personally, I would make sure everyone knows how you are so you don't have to use energy trying to hide feelings. If you have an anxiety/panic attack, remember to use positive self talk. If it helps, have the car stop and go for a walk. Stay in the present.

Let us know how your drive goes. I bet you'll have a blast and forget about your worries along the way. Take care!
Anxiety Disorder
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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 5/13/2009 3:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Nelle - Sorry your having anxiety about this, I'm sure I would as well! I think the 14hr drive alone would give me anxiety. Try to keep your destination in mind, since your moms is a safe place & you know you'll be comfortable their. Can you take a CD player, or a DVD player as some mentioned? Maybe that would help you relax in the car a bit. And like someone else said, maybe if you feel uncomfortable & someone notices, you can just tell them you get car sick. I'd also try to keep yourself busy before the trip as to not dwell on your worry about being in the car with a bunch of people.

I know I always feel "trapped" when I'm having anxiety around other people because I don't want them to think I'm crazy & I just feel like I have to put on a happy face when inside I'm freaking out & want to leave the situation. Will having your sister & fiancee around help you at all? Since they are women, maybe you'll feel like they'd be able to comfort you?

I hope your able to have a nice trip, Nelle! Let us know how it goes.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 318
   Posted 5/13/2009 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your advice guys. I think the first thing I'm going to do is tell my fiancees brother and my sis husband is that I'm claustrophobic and it causes me to have these "episodes" of panic so be prepared because I probably will have one, or two, or three. I also plan to take my ipod, a book, I haven't started my xanax yet but I will bring it just in case, also I can browse the real web from my phone- my favorite passtime- so when ever I see an attraction or a sign with a website I will check it out. Also I will be able to talk to my AP family for support. Thanks again.
This too shall pass...

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 5/15/2009 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
One thing that may help is to take a notebook and write what you see like your writing a description in a novel. I do this and it helps so much..There is so much to focus on, it could be the car next to you on the highway, the people in it and how they are dressed, what they are doing, it can be the sky, the trees, a billboard ,,etc... but you have to weave a story out of it and actively create a great paragraph from it.
example: The Semi driver is probably going home after this road trip, he is chatting on his CB as we pass, his wife is anziously awaiting his arrival. She has cooked his favorite meal. He will go home and greet his 3 kids, all under the age of 15, his daughter is excited to show him her report card. She got all A' s! Etc..Etc...Etc....

Before you know it,,,you will be 25 miles down the road! Then everytime you feel panicky, pick up that notebook and write some more or start a new story. Re-read what you wrote before to get your mind off the anxiety.

You can do all this while listening to your headphones.

If your not a writer then take a crossword puzzle or some other mind busy activity.

Also, I keep in mind that each mile I go is another step forward, and when I arrive at my destination I know I have conquered a great fear which gives me power, for the ride home and the next time I do something that stresses me out so bad I have this success under by belt and it makes the next challenge easier.
Given enough successes the anxiety lessens with each new experience.

It's all about releasing the fear thru doing.

Hope this helps.
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