A couple of weekends ago we all went on a family trip to Germany for a party at Nina’s family home in Detmold. It was the 250th anniversary of the family business and her uncle put on an amazing party. Unfortunately due to illness I wasn’t able to enjoy it as I would have liked.
I want to point out at this stage that I really enjoy visiting Germany. I relax when I’m there. In the town that we visit it so much less hectic than home and everyone is just so friendly.
Family Trip & Travel Anxiety
The only part I don’t like is the travelling and this isn’t helped by my anxiety.
Our flight was delayed by an hour so we sat on the runway waiting. This didn’t actually bother me, I was pretty calm at that point. The flight is only just over an hour which is great.
The problem for me always comes when we get off the plane and have to travel by train for three hours to reach Detmold. Germany is such a vast country compared to England. The train journey has never caused any problems but it makes me anxious for some reason.
It’s partly due to the duration and partly the fact that we have to change train. I don’t like having the two steps to the journey, it makes me uptight and I can’t relax on the first train.
A Helpless Feeling
I guess I also feel a bit helpless in not speaking the language. Nina is fluent in German and takes care of everything which is fantastic. These are the sort of trips I like usually. The difference is I think that I couldn’t help even if I wanted to when in Germany. At home my wife plans our trips and it’s great for me, but I know that I can help if needed. The fact that the option of helping isn’t there doesn’t sit easy.
There are loads of ways I can help without planning though. It’s difficult travelling with two children (who by the way were really well behaved) .
The problem is that once my anxiety hits I’m basically useless. Even simple tasks go undone and it annoys me because it places a huge burden of care on my wife. She doesn’t complain but I can tell when it’s hard for her.
Anyway, cut a long story short the train was packed and there were no seats. For the first hour or so I sat on the baggage holder. My wife and sister in law managed to find some seats and the kids joined them. I went and squeezed in too. Unfortunately my not brother-in law (what do you call your sister-in law’s husband 🤔) wasn’t so lucky. He spent the journey slumped by all of the bags near the train entrance. He was joined by a man who was drinking the alcohol hand wash from the toilet and had B.O that was off the scale.
We ate at a very nice restaurant on the Friday night. As usual I over ate. Tasted good though.
Unfortunately the next morning I felt like I was dying. Let’s just say the food from the night before didn’t stay with me for long and I had to skip breakfast. Everybody knows that breakfasts are the best thing about staying in a hotel so this was very out of character for me. When my wife and children returned we decided to go in to the town for an hour before a planned meet up at a cafe with family. I managed the walk in to town but not the cafe. The I spent the whole afternoon in bed. I looked like the image at the start of the blog, but with less hair.
The big party started at four o’clock. My wife put no pressure on me to go but we’d travelled all this way, plus I was getting cabin fever in the room. We went, there was free beer, all the free cake you could imagine and savoury food to come.anxiety illness mental health I’ve never seen a better catered party and I wish I could have enjoyed it. I lasted an hour and then had to walk back to the hotel because I felt so rough (not before taking time to fully appreciate the snazzy portaloo that was in the garden).
Anxiety – The Opportunist Illness
So that’s the context, what I really want to write about though is the way my sickness bug was hijacked by anxiety. Any slight chink in the armour and anxiety steamrollers right in and gets involved. It piggybacked (huckepack for the German speakers out there) on my stomach bug and just made everything 10 times worse. Apart from a bit of a testy time on the train journey I actually wasn’t feeling bad at all and i was looking forward to the weekend. Once I fell ill though not only did I physically feel rough it was like my confidence was shot to pieces too and I felt vulnerable and uneasy.
People are at danger of infection when their immune systems are low, in hospitals for example. This is what I feel anxiety disorders are like too.
Justifying a Legitimate Illness
Another problem I faced in this situation was the feeing that I needed to convince people that I really did have a bad stomach and that I wasn’t using it as a cover for my anxiety. I’ve been open in admitting that in the past I have made up illnesses to cover for days when I couldn’t face the world due to anxiety. This was before I had any awareness of the condition and before I’d opened up.
I can’t remember the last time I felt so bad with a physical illness and I think it may even have been before I opened up about my anxiety. This was a weird situation as I didn’t want to harp on about how ill I was feeling but at the same time I didn’t want people thinking I was making it up because I was anxious about socialising. What made it more difficult was that, as described above, my anxiety did rear its head as a consequence of my sickness bug and so there was sort of truth in both sides of the story………..
All in all it was a difficult weekend which was a shame because it was something I would normally have really enjoyed. This was down to a random illness, it happens to people all the time. It’s unfortunate but ultimately that’s what you get every now and then when you eat everything under the sun.
The anxiety wasn’t a major factor this weekend. However I did find it interesting to note how in manifested itself when I was physically low. The condition fascinates me I loathe it and am intrigued by it at the same time.
It’s important to always try and learn something from every experience in life, in order to improve ourselves. What I’ll take away from the family trip is the importance of being healthy. A healthy body does help maintain a healthy mind. It’s also important to realise that an unhealthy body encourages an unhealthy mind to develop.