Firstly, you’re Not the Only One.
Every one person out of three suffering from panic disorders on an average develops Agoraphobia. And about six-eight million adults in the States alone experience panic disorders in a calendar year.
Often a recurring phenomenon, Agoraphobia is that fear of leaving the house, the safe walls of an accustomed surrounding and the horrors fed through one’s imagination against traveling, especially. Gazing through open windows, seeing others walking around or watching the traffic whizzing away and that feeling of helplessness, of severe anxiety for the unknown. Extremely unfair, life then seems equal to serving criminal punitive sentence for a crime that one didn’t even commit.
Typically developing in early adulthood, women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorders. Astonishingly, close to one-fifth of the population in the United States suffers from anxiety disorder and around quarter of these cases being classified as severe. Fewer than 40% of anxiety sufferers are receiving treatment for their disorder. The prolonged effects demoralize one to the extent that they find themselves incapable of ever leaving the house. The thought of going out sometimes is too overwhelming and the worse thing one may do is to give into it. For starters, making some plans and arranging to meet a friend is a great way to leave the house.
Start by telling yourself that it’s going to be okay out there. Open the front door, stand on the porch, take a few deep breaths and think about all the miraculous places that you haven’t been to. All the wonders of the earth that are yet to be explored. Do this a couple of times each day, just for building your confidence before the travel journey For many, surrounding themselves with others is the most powerful remedy. Never let your fears stop you from living your dream. Undue stress and panic attacks are not necessarily symptoms of Agoraphobia. Fear keeps one sharp, and mastering one’s fear is quite a tough nut to crack. After all, stress and fear are only in the head and are miles apart from reality. The big question being, should one stop doing the things they love and give in to their fears. Never!
Traveling Tips for the Agoraphobic: Calm your mind and get yourself out on the road.
Always be ready to leave your comfort zone. The best method of conquering anxiety is by doing the thing that scares you, and also repeated exposure to your fears is more successful in countering anxiety than avoiding it. Travel is great for this! Step out of your comfort zone and do something new every day, whether it’s figuring out the public transport of an unfamiliar city or an invitation of chilling with the locals.
Imagine yourself in that place, and remind yourself why you’ve always wanted to travel. If you ever have doubts or are thinking about canceling the trip, just picture yourself in the place, and tell yourself that you have to get there no matter what. These positive affirmations tend to calm you down, and regular practice helps grasp the idea of successfully traveling the world.
Plan out your first few days meticulously – Anxiety often stems from feeling that you’re not in control, and detailed planning is a great way of negating this. Some suggestions:
- Go through a map and the photos of the arrival terminal and plan your route through the airport building.
- Google and pen down set of instructions for the crisis scenarios. Such as lost luggage, local numbers, details of the accommodations etc.
- Plan a taxi from the airport to your accommodation so you don’t have to deal with unfamiliar transport on your first day.
- Most importantly, make a list of things that you want to do during your time there.
By focusing on each step at a time, you can feel like you’re in control, and you won’t fear the unexpected as much.
The interesting point to make here is that a panic attack feels the same no matter where you are. The key to master it is learning to live with it, instead of trying beating. There’s always a strong possibility that the anxiety and sheer panic inculcates a feeling of disenchantment towards traveling, and you might not enjoy at all. But once you are at peace with the panic attacks, accept them as a part of reality and your life, and you’ll observe a positive shift in your attitudes and behavior towards life as we know it.
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Remember this folks, you can always head back home. If you realize travelling isn’t for you even after trying it.. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means that you tried it and things just didn’t work out. But yes, you’ve got to try! So go out there and overcome your fears.