Saturday, July 16, 2022

Family Vacation: Expectation Vs. Reality

  Vacation. It’s what most people live for. A much needed break from your job, a much needed break from your day to day life. But vacations bring a different kind of stress for me. The kind of wanting everything to be perfect, that you have a panic attack in the middle of a show at Dollywood.

My anxiety has been way up since my dad’s cancer diagnosis. Therapy helps some, but when on vacation, who has time for coping skills? I want everything to go perfectly, and exactly as planned. And when it inevitably doesn’t go as planned, I flip out. Especially with this being our first big family vacation since COVID.

So, imagine the anxiety of taking a big family vacation, 10 of us, and wanting everything to be perfect. Now imagine 2 of them are your children, that you want to give the world too, and one has terminal cancer, that you want to make as many memories with as possible. And now, imagine the rest of your family is also suffering from their own issues. What do you have? An anxiety ridden me trying to hold it together for everyone.

 But the one good thing of being on a big family vacation, most of my support system was with me. And I had anti anxiety medicine with me to help as well. The stigma of mental health, the needing of medicine to literally help a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like a broken bone or a heart attack, medicine for mental illness alleviates symptoms and saves lives.

 The stigma of having the “perfect” life is just not possible. Even without mental illness, mental health and taking breaks is very healthy in preventing mental health issues. With depression and anxiety running rampant around the world, remember to check in on your family and friends. Encourage taking time outs for selfcare. Encourage their hobbies. Don’t push them, but encourage them. Sometimes just being there for someone can make all the difference.

Most people think taking a vacation will solve all their problems and help them relax. But most people, like me, try to jam pack to many activities and strive for the perfect vacation. In reality, life isn’t perfect, and most vacations are just as stressful as everyday life when you put too much pressure on yourself.

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