Photographer & Mental Health Advocate

Anxiety Awareness

Travel anxiety

A few days ago, I had to do something that caused me extreme anxiety, I had to fly on a plane. I'm afraid of flying because of September 11th. My mother and father figure both worked at The World Trade Center and when those planes crashed into them, I thought I had lost them forever. By the grace of God, neither my mother nor my father figure were killed. But ever since then, flying has become a big phobia.

I know a lot of people won't understand why someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder fears so much, but it has to do with the constant idea of worrying. Humans worry for everything except that the worry is usually mild; with an anxiety sufferer, the worrying is ten fold and can feel life threatening.

I had to do this, not for myself only but for my best friend. The whole point of me going to Georgia was to see my best friend graduate from the military and it was imperative that I was there. 

Doing something that causes so much anxiety is not only mentally draining, it is physically painful. My stomach hurt for days and I had a lot of moments of heart palpitations. But I knew if I didn't do this, I'd be angry at myself for such a long time and so would have my best friend. 

It wasn't easy and I remember the fear that raced through my mind. I cried a bit before going on the plane and in the plane. I find that crying helps release some of that anxiousness that is boiling within me. It takes a lot out of me talking about this because it is something extremely private but I want to be honest, even when I am at my lowest. 

To make me feel a bit normal, I tried to dress "nicely" for this plane ride, alas it was 3 am in the morning so I did what I could haha!

I also brought items with me for comfort to help the plane ride go more smoothly for me. A blanket that I had for almost 10 years, my pump (just in case I had an anxiety attack and couldn't breathe) and my Xanax pills (if I couldn't handle it). Unfortunately for me, I couldn't handle it and had to take a Xanax pill. I advise any anxiety sufferer if you have these pills, use them only in extreme cases. I hated having to take it but I knew it would make the trip easier for not only me but my fiance as well.

Taking the Xanax pill caused me to go in a state of blankness and then sleep. When we got off the plane, I was in and out of sleep (one of the sucky side effects of taking the pill) and I don't really remember much.

Later on in the day,my fiance and I went to the Georgia aquarium and I took lots of pictures of the ocean life.

I find that when you do something that causes so much anxiety, it blinds you from the beauty of the world. I did this for my best friend but to also show myself that I am not my anxiety. And I know it might seem like the end of the world. but it usually isn't :]. Everyday is a challenge for me but because I deal with anxiety, I am able to cherish life a lot more and each moment and memory means so much to mean. If I allowed my fears to overcome me and take over then I wouldn't have seen my best friend graduate or get to hang out with some amazing people. Every challenge and fear brings me a little bit closer to accepting that it is who I am but only a small part. And I could let that small part dictate my life or I could live the life I know I should. With love, happiness, family and friends, all my fears seem to shrink. Don't ever give up on yourself when the going gets tough. You are always stronger than you can imagine and I will always be rooting you on. Until then, 

Xoxo, Jacklyn