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Koios and I are flying out to see his family for the holidays tomorrow. I am… less than thrilled about it. Every year we switch off over which side of the family we’re going to be with at Christmas and this year it’s his turn. I’m happy to go with him because I know how much he loves his family, but I absolutely hate the traveling part. Most of it has to do with my bipolar.

Why It’s Hard For Me To Travel To See Family (in list form)

1. Timezones. I’ve found that I don’t have a problem with traveling in this timezone. I adjust just fine, no hiccups or bumps in my mental health at all. But when I’m traveling to a place that’s three timezones away it fucks up my internal clock and when I take my medications. I’m tired and irritable and snappy and undermedicated one minute, then zombified when my medications hit. It sucks.

2. Staying at someone else’s house. We can’t afford to stay at a hotel so we end up staying at his mom’s house. Koios’s mom is awesome and friendly, but I don’t like having to sleep in other people’s houses. I can visit with family and make my required appearances so long as I know that I have a “home base” where I can just relax and put aside my public persona. When we’re staying in the guest room I feel like I always have to be “on”, holding together my bipolar tendencies by a very thin thread. I don’t want to go crazy in front of Koios’s entire giant family, which puts more pressure on me that makes it harder to hold myself together.

3. Not having a car. When I travel I usually feel very out of control and not having a personal mode of transportation intensifies that. When we have to bum a ride from his sister/mom or take the bus I feel like I’m not in control of where I am. I’m always relying on someone else to come or go from someplace and it makes me more on edge.

4. Caring what people think of me. If I didn’t care if Koios’s family liked me or not, traveling to see them would be really easy. I’d just say “fuck it” to everything and do what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. Instead being around his family makes me weird and awkward and starts the hypomanic racing thoughts, over-analyzing everything that I do and say to someone. I get really insecure and uncomfortable and almost terrified to move or talk, lest I do the wrong thing. I know logically that his family is really laid-back and nonjudgmental, but I still feel that way anyway.

5. Lack of personal space and control at the airport. Sitting really close to someone for 7 hours on a plane puts me in Everyone Else First mode. “Should I get my laptop from my carry-on bag at my feet? I don’t know, I might bother the guy next to me reading. It’s really hot but I don’t want to take off my jacket; I might bump that guy. I have to pee, but I don’t want to inconvenience that guy while he’s trying to sleep”. That’s pretty much all that I can think when I’m on a plane. Add that to the anxiety about missing a layover because I can’t just MAKE THE PLANE WAIT FOR ME makes flying hell. I expect too much of myself and disparage my lack of ability to somehow make everything okay.

Anyway, I have to clean and pack for tomorrow. Wish me luck.

-Ashes

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