Heat and Anxiety

Mags - July 21, 2011

For many reasons, Abs and I describe summer as our anxiety season.  Of course, as we are anxiety sisters, all seasons bring anxiety, but summer is the whopper.  The intense heat (which touches off anxiety for both of us), the lack of structure (which touches off anxiety for both of us), and the frequent travel weekends (which touch off anxiety for me), all combine to make us—hmmm, how should I put this—anxious.

Today, I am dealing with travel anxiety, No, I’m not going to drive to Yellowstone, bike through Denmark, or trek up mountains in Nepal. I’m heading for an unexotic couple of days at a nearby water park in Pennsylvania, just a few hours from where we live.  However, whether the trip is a grand adventure or an overnight outing, I still end up with trip anxiety.

When I think about it, I really don’t have travel anxiety as much as leaving-my-house anxiety.  When it’s time to leave home for even one night, I find it overwhelming to pack my bag. What will I need? What will the kids need? Is what we all need clean? Can I locate what we need? Why is my husband napping on the couch?  After I spend a few hours pacing around my house and eating every sweet in sight, I will finally start to pack. But I will be edgy (and nauseated from the cookies).

Everyone in my house is so excited about our trip, while I smile along and think about how much I just want to stay home. (Abs says that’s more a product of being an exhausted mom than anxiety disorder, but it feels more the latter to me.) However, once I get up and get everyone into the car and convince my husband that the stove, lights, and air conditioners are turned off (yes, I have a touch of OCD too), we will get on the road and the anxiety will start to dissipate. Which makes me wonder if what I have is really trip anxiety or packing anxiety. Well, in either case, summer means trips and trips mean packing, so anxiety, like the stifling heat, will probably hang around until after Labor Day. And then it will be Fall, and the kids will go back to school. Which will mean a whole new season of anxiety…

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