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Travel, work and anxiety

(21 Posts)
newhairdontcare Tue 22-Mar-16 23:43:50


Looking for some guidance really. My job requires occasional trips to Europe (6 days max each time). When I started the role 9 years ago this was fine and I didn't struggle at all. However, over the past 4 years or so I have gotten increasingly anxious at the thought of traveling abroad. It's not the work itself, its the flying mainly and the thought that something terrible 'might' happen to me.

I managed to keep a lid on it until I had DS. My anxiety has increased dramatically, until the point that I am in tears at the prospect of going away (sobbing mess most nights in the run up). My sleep and mood suffers and I'm only calm once I am 'safe home'.

My fears are (mainly) irrational. I know logically the chance of anything happening to me is very low; however, the anxious / crazy part of my brain takes over and I am a mess.

The bottom line is I wouldn't leave my family if I had a choice in the matter. I would quite happily never step on-board a plane again if it wasn't for work.

I'm due to go away next weekend and, as a result of today's awful attacks in Brussels, I am a wreck. My DH and DM think I should see a doctor and asked to me signed off. I'm not sure though as I have never considered this sort of action before.

What should I do? Suck it up and face my fears, or try and avoid the trip altogether? My next trip won't be until later this year, and I'm fully aware I need to tackle this before then. Probably by looking for an alternative role.

It's worth me adding I can't talk to my boss about this. She just wouldn't understand / allow me the opportunity not to go.

Sorry for rambling on. I am a mess tonight and just want a second opinion.

caroldecker Wed 23-Mar-16 00:07:50

You took the job knowing of the travel required. Unless they are sending you somewhere against Foreign Office advice you have 2 choices:

1. suck it up and do the travel
2. finad another job that does not require travel

MrsBertMacklin Wed 23-Mar-16 00:16:38

Fellow travel anxiety person here, hello!

I'd strongly recommend a request to your GP for a CBT referral and in the meantime, perhaps looking into some self learnt anxiety techniques.

Maybe also ask HQ to move this to mental health, lots of people at various stages of anxiety treatment, who will probably offer something more constructive than 'suck it up' hmm

lorelei9 Wed 23-Mar-16 00:25:42

IT depends what kind of resolution you want really
Are you looking for something that will rid you of your travel anxiety or do you want to stop traveling?

If the job requires it, you may need a different job but it's worth talking to your boss. I know people who've packed in work travel because they hated it. You never know what plans might be afoot for jobs and the organisation.

I used to think I had travel anxiety, now I realise it's more just I hate it. It is quite possible I'll never get on a plane again. I live and work in London though, always have, so the terror thing doesn't change anything for me.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 23-Mar-16 00:26:51

OP this is easy: go to the GP and explain what you have said here. They can write you a script for e.g. diazepam which you can take before the flight (and in the run up if needs be). As a short term solution, this should see you through and buy you time to look for a new position.

Sorry you are going through this, it can't be fun.

lorelei9 Wed 23-Mar-16 00:28:23

Blame it, I take diazepam before travel. It's not that good to make it easy, but GP on,y gives 2mg.

newhairdontcare Wed 23-Mar-16 07:53:39

Thanks for all your replies.

Would the diazepam affect my ability to perform? I have to work the other end after the flight, so need to be 'with it' IYKWIM.

I have had CBT in the past (2 sessions - I didn't qualify for it after that as I was 'better') for other anxiety related issues. It did help, but I can't vseem to keep a lid on the travel thing.

I need to think all this through today. Thanks again for your input. X

lorelei9 Wed 23-Mar-16 09:49:37

New, I can give a presentation etc on Diazepam no problem.

newhairdontcare Wed 23-Mar-16 11:45:02

Thanks lorelei

HermioneWeasley Wed 23-Mar-16 17:16:49

I am stoned out my my mind on diazepam, but it doesn't last that long. I certainly couldn't work when it's active

lorelei9 Wed 23-Mar-16 23:14:19

Hermione, what dosage achieves that please?

Putty Wed 23-Mar-16 23:26:43

I would go straight to your GP and if you can afford private counselling go for it because it will be quicker. It sounds like it has been building up and it's not going to go away on it's own and it's something you can't deal with on your own.

Don't let it ruin your career, try and nip it in the bud before it gets any worse. Best of luck.

BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 24-Mar-16 00:17:08

lorelei9 - 5mg achieves that for me. That's what my gp prescribed when I needed it. But the fact of taking it eventually took away my association between planes being afraid and actually conquered my phobia of planes. I'm now on and off them several times a week.

lorelei9 Thu 24-Mar-16 00:20:13

I only get given 2mg and they hate prescribing them so alas, I cannot waste a precious one and a half extra on one thing.

headexplodesbodyfreezes Thu 24-Mar-16 01:05:43

I would strongly advise finding some help for the anxiety rather than finding another job. The avoidance tactic doesn't work, the anxiety just finds another outlet.

I've seen a very capable person lose their entire career by dropping down the ladder, one rung after another, because "it will be ok if I don't have to do A/B/C/D/E and on and on". The issue was never A, B C D or E, it was her anxiety. She was more than capable of ABCDE put together.

Don't let this happen to you. The consequences are horrible and probably impossible to come back from. Don't get signed off, that isn't addressing the problem. How supportive is your employer? Could you ask to miss this trip, explain why, and ask if they would pay for you to do a Fear of Flying course?

Find a way to confront this, honestly it's a much better option than running away from it.

Puffykins Thu 24-Mar-16 01:15:42

This happened to me. It got easier as DS and DD got older, and in my case was tied into post-natal depression. A year of psychotherapy really helped (I hated CBT and saw it as totally pointless) as did my therapist telling me to 'be kind to myself'. And actually I cut back on the travelling hugely - I'm not good at being away from my children, and that's actually a primal urge so fighting it, if you have it, will naturally cause anxiety - and life is generally much better. So if you can find time to look for a position without travel, do it.

MabelFurball Thu 24-Mar-16 21:13:21


You took the job knowing of the travel required*.

Yes, but a lot of things can change over the years. She may have started the job happy to travel but that was over 9 years ago. Nobody stays in the same static mentality forever.

caroldecker Fri 25-Mar-16 00:06:14

mabel I agree, but that means the OP needs to leave the job and find one with no international travel. Most jobs do not have international travel, so not difficult. This is not an issue that the employer needs to make adjustments for.

newhairdontcare Fri 25-Mar-16 22:17:35

Thanks for all your replies. I am feeling better now, after talking things through with my sister today.

Puffykins is right, part of the issue is the fact I don't have any desire to be in a separate country to DS, it just doesn't feel right when he is so young (DH is brilliant at holding the fort, so no worries there).

My employer wouldn't be supportive of me missing a trip unfortunately.

Carol, I was suggesting for a minute my employer should make any adjustments for me (as they wouldn't). I have 2 choices - find a way of managing it or find alternative employment.

newhairdontcare Thu 14-Apr-16 12:47:10

Just in case any of you are interested I have just returned from two back to back trios. One overseas and one UK based. Both were fine once I was there, the anxiety seems to just kick in before.

I do plan to seek help for this.
Thank you again for all your replies.

tava63 Thu 14-Apr-16 14:19:00

Well done - check out books by Albert Ellis or in U.K. Professor Stephen Palmer to keep your fear busting 'muscles' well toned! (ps I have no commercial interest in these)

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