Some people love travelling the world, some prefer being in the comfort of their own home. There is no right or wrong way to live your life. However, when anxiety starts to make the thought of going somewhere new unbearable, then it’s time to challenge it.
Dealing with an anxiety disorder makes things tough, no matter what the anxiety disorder it may be. Something that I struggled with for a long time was going to a new place. All the unknowns would send my mind into a bit of a frazzle. There was the case of getting there, what it looks like there, who will be there, is there an easy escape, etc. So many questions and hardly any answers. The anxiety would come about the day before I had to go to a new place which meant I was feeling awful for a really long time. There were a few things I learnt over time.
1. Drive past the place
One of the things that made visiting a new place easier was driving past it a few days before. It meant that I could see the area, become familiar with the building (to a point) and the parking. This helped a lot with my driving theory test as the exam was somewhere I’d never been before.
2. Go with a friend
It makes a big difference having someone there to support you when going somewhere new. When I started at university, I had someone come with me there and back. It made the whole thing a lot less scary. It can also make the event more fun as you can turn it into a day out almost.
3. Spend time getting ready
When things were really bad with anxiety, I would take my time getting ready. It can be therapeutic and you don’t have to think a lot. It’s easier having things to focus on like make-up, hair, nails, those kinds of things. It’s a good distraction from the fearful thoughts that come around from visiting a new place. It also helps to feel good about yourself when tackling a strange situation.
4. Plan a way out
This is especially helpful for those suffering from Agoraphobia. I’d always see the best way to get out. Often you can’t plan that until you get there but it can be something like arranging a phone call with a friend. Sometimes it’s necessary to arrange it with others. For my graduation, I arranged with members of staff beforehand to make sure leaving was easy for me.
5. Research the place
The great thing about this day and age is that there is a lot of information about places online. You can pull up Google Maps and the satellite view. There’s usually a website for the place, or some reviews on other social sites like Facebook. Have a look at different resources to find out as much as you can about the place. That way, when you go there, you will feel like you’ve already been.
Visiting a new place can be scary and it can definitely heighten anxiety. Hopefully these tips can make that a little easier but remember, you’ve already overcome anxiety and you can get through it even if it’s unpleasant. Decide what’s more important to you.