I have decided that I no longer want to worry about my anxiety and depression when I travel.
Sounds great, right? It’s also a bit of a pipe dream in my healing journey. That doesn’t mean that I am not going to try. I am heading to Europe for a riverboat cruise in May. I want to enjoy my time. I don’t want to deal with myself and all of my issues. Sigh. But all of this is a part of me.
My anxiety started to ramp up last week. With all travel, there are many things that I cannot control. I try to focus on those things that I can control. And that control is planning.
The key to anxiety planning is to have a general plan outline but allow room for adjustment. Having a plan outline decreases my anxiety to manageable levels. My anxiety is still there, but it is a murmur instead of a banshee wail.
However, if I plan without flexibility for adjustments to the plan that also initiates banshee-level anxiety, I would like to avoid that. It is not pleasant. I have written about my need to plan and what I have learned in several blog posts. You can read more about my anxiety in Plan(s) A Day Derailed and Plan(s) A Day Keep Anxiety at Bay.
One of the challenges with making plans for me is that when traveling with other people, especially in large groups, I have to be able to stick to my plans. That means saying “No” and putting up boundaries. For me, that is extremely difficult. As a result, I have what I refer to as a “Yes Brain.”
I have A “Yes Brain.”
What is a Yes Brain, you ask? It’s when my brain says Yes or similar affirmation to a question or statement before I have even registered the question or statement. It usually occurs when I am teetering on the edge of banshee wail-level anxiety. Or situations I feel that I am “on the spot” and must respond right away.
Younger me learned to survive by agreeing with everything, no matter what. It was easier that way. Although as a survival mechanism probably not the best; but hey, I survived, right? So maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
I had a conversation with a friend about my “Yes Brain,” and she mentioned that she fawns in high anxiety situations. When I asked what she does to help herself, her response is what my therapist and I are working on with my “Yes Brain.”
Could my “Yes Brain” be fawning?
Well, that sounds about right for me.
Now, I know that it is a trauma response, and yes, most likely, Myggy (my nickname for my amygdala) is behind all of this “Yessing” stuff. How do I stop doing this? It is very annoying, to be honest.
I say Yes to things that I don’t want to do because, at the moment, it is the best way to avoid conflict or to make someone else happy. Even after I have said Yes, it creates and causes banshee wail anxiety for me because I feel stuck.
Being stuck pushes the anxiety spiral higher because I don’t know how to say “No.”
Therefore I need to teach myselfself to be a “No Brain” instead of being a “Yes Brain.” That information is for my blog post on Thursday, May 5th. Stay tuned. It is a continuous journey.
- Gina Ryder (January 9, 2020). “The Fawn Response: How Trauma Can Lead to People Pleasing.” psychcentral.com https://psychcentral.com/health/fawn-response#definition
- Katy Sukol (March 13, 2018). Beyond Emotion: Understanding the Amygdala’s Role in Memory. Dana.org. https://dana.org/article/beyond-emotion-understanding-the-amygdalas-role-in-memory/