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Old 06-15-2014, 10:35 PM   #1
lam0037
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Solo Trip with Severe Anxiety

Hey y'all!

At the age of 16, I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety, panic disorder and mild depression. This was pretty much under control until my father passed away October 2012, which exasperated everything. I was diagnosed with MDD and was having panic attacks daily. It's better now but often changes in plan and little things can still send me into a full blown panic attack.

This fall, I am taking a solo trip to Disney on the anniversary of his death because it is just too hard to be at home. But I'm very nervous about this. Normally we drive, but my anxiety has kept me from getting a license so I will have to fly by myself, which I have never done before (solo, I have flown before). And then, it will be navigating Disney for the first time by myself without someone else there to help calm me down when I'm about to have a panic attack.

Does anyone have any tips about navigating an airport and Disney with anxiety? The thought of having a panic attack at Disney by myself is starting to give me panic attacks (oh, the vicious circle)
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:41 PM   #2
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I'm sorry for your loss~days like today are difficult. Is there anyone that can go with you? A sibling, a significant other, a good friend?
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:46 PM   #3
adisneyworldprincess
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First off, I'm so sorry for your loss. My best friend also has anxiety, and depression, as well as bipolar disorder. I know what she has done, when traveling alone on public transit, she texts and calls me so she doesn't feel as stressed and anxious. The best thing to do in navigating is to just go along with the crowd. If you're trying to make a certain time, it is just going to give you more anxiety. I would try to stay away from meet and greets unless it is a short line. Some of the characters wait times are ridiculous and I would even get anxiety from waiting for so long by myself. I get anxiety myself, but not on a grand scale at all. If you're outgoing, I would just try to talk to people, or cast members. Cast members are extremely friendly to solo parties and will keep you talking forever. Try not to be too stressed out about it... it is going to be a great and relaxing time for you. As for air ports, I would keep a game or something to occupy myself. For my friend, she usually blogs or something to keep herself busy so she doesn't have to pay attention. Just make sure you are fully aware of when you're supposed to depart. Please don't stress, you're going to have a great time! I would totally go with you, if I could! I hope I helped! xo
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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First: Check with your Doctor. Get some Xanax... it is your friend.

At the Airport, arrange for wheel chair transport. Don't feel guilty that you can walk. Some people have different disabilities then other people. Anxiety IS a disability. They will transport you from the curb to the gate and help you navigate expeditiously though security. When you land they will meet you at the other end and help you navigate through the airport so you can get on your way.

As far as Disney is concerned, see if you can join a guided tour or group so you are not alone and DON'T skip taking the Xanax! If you can't take it slow and don't feel like you have to see and do EVERYTHING. Stop and enjoy the benches and enjoy the scenery.

Good Luck!

Last edited by DavidG1966; 06-16-2014 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:59 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone! My mom was supposed to go with me, as we just need to get away that weekend. But my grandparents health is declining so she has to stay with them and can't go. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip in December and with classes and work he can't go in October at all. So I'm looking for a friend but I'll probably be there solo!

I love the idea of a tour, I've never done one but have always wanted to. And I never would have thought about getting a wheelchair in the airport. That was something I was really worried about, waiting in the terminal going through security waiting at the gate, etc. A wheelchair really would help. My other concern was the bus by myself but I'll probably just occupy my time with my phone.

Disney has always been a place where I am not such a slave to my anxiety. Except for a few issues of crowds and waiting by myself in lines, I feel I will be fine once I'm in the parks just getting there and around will be my big issue.

I was also considering online check in. I'm assuming it would be a shorter line but I've never done it so I'm not sure!!
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:21 PM   #6
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... I was also considering online check in. I'm assuming it would be a shorter line but I've never done it so I'm not sure!!
Later this month WDW is testing a new process for those who do online check-in -- they'll be texted their room number when it's ready, no need to go to the front desk. Maybe that will roll-out world-wide () by the time of your trip, eliminating the need for any line at check-in.

To prepare, I suggest you consider what coping mechanisms will be most helpful to you in various situations you may encounter. Maybe make note cards that you can carry with you as a reminder.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:10 AM   #7
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My other concern was the bus by myself but I'll probably just occupy my time with my phone.
If you're traveling by Disney's Magical Express, they play cartoons and little video clips the whole way to keep you entertained for the ride and get you pumped for your trip. (Makes me cry every time lol.)

Another handy tip that someone already mentioned is having a list of your like top ten coping skills handy. I keep it in my park bag phone pocket. I actually carry it in my purse at home too. My list has things like deep breathing and listening to music (of course I remember to charge and pack my ipod every day). At the parks I also like to go through my pictures from that day so far.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:06 AM   #8
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As someone with anxiety I wouldn't try a solo trip, even with Xanax. It just helps to have someone there, especially if you do have a panic attack. My advice is to wait until someone can accompany you. I'm sorry for your loss but maybe a trip closer to home would be better this time.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:08 PM   #9
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As someone with anxiety I wouldn't try a solo trip, even with Xanax. It just helps to have someone there, especially if you do have a panic attack. My advice is to wait until someone can accompany you. I'm sorry for your loss but maybe a trip closer to home would be better this time.
Ita, if you need a wheelchair just to get through the airport this sounds like a particularly bad idea. I would also find something else close to home to do that weekend, maybe you and your boyfriend could do something together within a reasonable drive.
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:18 PM   #10
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Try the xanax out first. It can wipe some people out entirely.

Have you considered Disneyland instead of Disneyworld for your October trip? I find it much less stressful than the world, as it is smaller, easier to get to things. The FP system there lets you go with what you feel like that day, rather than planning in advance. Restaurant times are much less structured, you don't need ADRs for sitdown restaurants.

And, it gives you some variety when you go back in December with your boyfriend.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:27 PM   #11
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Try the xanax out first. It can wipe some people out entirely.

Have you considered Disneyland instead of Disneyworld for your October trip? I find it much less stressful than the world, as it is smaller, easier to get to things. The FP system there lets you go with what you feel like that day, rather than planning in advance. Restaurant times are much less structured, you don't need ADRs for sitdown restaurants.

And, it gives you some variety when you go back in December with your boyfriend.
I have thought about it, but since I've never been to Disneyland I didn't think it would be the best idea. I've never flown into CA (never been to CA ever actually), and the thought of a new airport, longer flight (it's like an hour and half to two hour flight from ATL to MCO) and an entirely different park so I will probably have to wait for DL until someone can go with me. I do like the smaller size of DL though for my anxiety.
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:04 PM   #12
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Sorry for the loss of your father.

From what you have described I don't think I would take this trip solo. You are going in December with your boyfriend; so, I would do something else in October.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:57 PM   #13
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I appreciate everyone's input and yes, going closer to home or having someone go with me would be ideal. But this isn't going to be an option every time I need to go somewhere. I have lived in the same town for 19 years, and I want to leave when I'm done with undergrad. In fact, I have to. The closest medical school to my hometown is 2 hours and it's hard to get into, as it is one of two in Alabama. So, I'm applying to other states and I will have interviews coming up. I can't expect my boyfriend to miss class and take off work to fly with me to Texas for two days. Same with my mom missing work to fly with me to North Carolina. It is something I have to learn to do on my own, as I'm not letting my anxiety keep me from doing something I have wanted to do for years. I have panic attacks in class but I'm not dropping out of college because of them.

Disney is something I felt would be a great way to get my feet wet with, as I know the parks, the airports, etc. And my plan is, if i get a little nervous in the airport or on the plane, I would just have a drink to take the edge off. I would be going to MNSSHP on Friday night and then F&W on Saturday, with DTD before my flight Sunday.
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #14
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I get anxiety and one thing that helps in buses and on the plane is to sit up front. I just don't feel so closed in. I understand your trying doing something on your own but maybe you could try doing a few days away, by yourself and see how that goes before you travel to Disney and stay for an extended stay. Try a small solo trip somewhere else first perhaps. Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:46 PM   #15
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I'm afraid I don't have much advice but I don't see that anybody has mentioned this. Do you have a portable charger? That way you don't have to worry about being in the parks all day or wherever and having your phone die, especially if you need to use it to make a call/text to family or friends to calm yourself.

Depending on the price, portable chargers can last through quite a few phone re-chargings and can be small enough fit in your purse.

Hope this helps!
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