I had a rough anxiety day yesterday and it killed my hype for my trip. How do I get it back?

We’re leaving for Florida a week from tomorrow. I should be over the moon, but yesterday (and the buildup to yesterday) was so stressful and lousy that I just feel numb today.

Backstory: my mom died of cancer last March and that’s the root of my recently-developed anxiety. I’m constantly worried about things going wrong and I’m terrified of anything happening to anyone else I love. And every time I get even mildly sick, it sends me into a panic. Watching/reading the news is off limits.

Planning this trip has given me something to do for the last 150+ days and I’ve been counting down for months, unable to wait until the trip finally came. I’m going with some of my sisters and we’ve chatted about the trip every day since Christmas, except for the last few days I haven’t sent my usual countdown reminder. I know they’re going through their own process of grieving and I wanted this to be a trip where we could all cry and heal and also have fun and forget the outside world. I want to look forward to it with them. But it’s next weekend and I feel almost nothing. The thought has even crossed my mind to cancel.

Does this happen to anyone else out there? Is it the excitement that triggers the anxiety? Is it realizing that you have so much to do before the trip that makes you shut down?

Any help is much appreciated :heart:



I have seen a few similar stories here and elsewhere. It is a lot of planning and very stressful and several people have reported similar feelings. I have had some myself and my 3 Disney trips were among the very best times of my entire life. I am sure you will have a great time ! :smiley:

I am very sorry about your mom. It sounds to me like you are struggling with significant anxiety (which is perfectly normal and understandable) and I know a fair bit about that myself, unfortunately. I encourage you to talk about it with your loved ones, with doctor and/or seek therapy; I know many people whose life has been helped tremendously in similar situations. What you are going through is difficult and it is perfectly normal in such situations to suffer. Getting help shows strength, not weakness. :slight_smile: :hugs:


We leave the same time as you. I’m sorry to hear of your lose. My condolences. It’s easy to say, “Relax, everything will be fine…” but another to actually do it. That being said, just remember you are going to WDW!! It will be great. But I’m not downplaying your situation. I think there’s a lot of things that trigger anxiety. You are justified. There is excitement for sure but there is also real stress in travelling as well as well as any underlying issues. The fact that you’ve been planning for 150+ days should help alleviate some of the stress/anxiety. You are probably as prepared as you’ll ever be is my guess…especially since you are here on touringplans.

As for reducing anxiety, eating well, exercising, and sleeping enough does wonders. Of course when you are anxious, those are the hardest things to do. For me figuring out what triggers I can use to pull me out to fight the triggers that bring on anxiety helps. They are all different for people.

Maybe watching some of your favorite Disney movies may help to bring the excitement back. Realize too that in the end there’s always “too” much to do not just for vacation planning but just general life. I also agree with jflaff. This is a legitimate reason to talk to someone. That someone being, friends, family, or professionals. Talking and reaching out for help is important! Good luck and you’ll have a great trip!


I’m so sorry for your loss. I wonder if the fact that the planning is over and you have to now actually do the trip is contributing towards your anxiety. A lot of us get a bit down just before we leave. I don’t really have any advice, just breathe, get through each hour as it comes.


I suffer from anxiety. I have periods where it is very manageable and periods where it is, um, not.

The week before we drove from NY to OR I suddenly realized how far it was on a globe (not a flat map) and I wheeled off into gear and anxiety.

For me prayer and my Bible are my go to. And my DH, of course.

My mom bought me a weighted blanket for Christmas and I am sleeping better. I can’t prove it is helping, but I’ve only had three tougher nights in the last 31 days and I wouldn’t say anxiety was the thief for one of those.


I am so sorry for your loss. March isn’t that long ago and you are still grieving. I think that you Mother would want you to enjoy life and will be smiling down on you and your sisters.


I lost my dad to cancer when I was 22. It was the most emotionally gut wrenching experience of my life. A few months after my dad passed, a few of my close friends (one of whom was my girlfriend at the time and is now my DW) convinced me to go with them for a weekend in NYC. I agreed, but as it got closer, I dreaded it and was anxious about it. I wanted to back out. My DW convinced me to reluctantly go, and it was just what I needed - so theraputic, and I’m sure my dad was smiling down, happy that I was out living life, being with people I cared about, and having a good time.

I know from experience that it’s easier said than done. Just push yourself to get there. Being at Disney will be awesome and fun in itself. Being there with your sisters, though, is what is going to make this trip for you and help it be both a lot of fun and theraputic. Hang in there, it gets easier. You’ll never stop missing your mom - that hurt is still with me today, 17 years later. But, it does become easier to live with, and there’s no better way to honor your mom’s memory than to be with people you love, and to share happy memories of her together.


I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. Anxiety is just an awful thing. It does happen to some of us, you are not alone. Hoping you are able to get on the plane (if packing is too much you can find everything you need there although making/downloading packing lists and following them might help) . Keep reaching out if it helps! Maybe let your sisters know how you are feeling. Wishing you easier moments.




Thank you, it helps to know I’m not the only one. It’s never happened with any of my Disney trips, but like I said, the anxiety is a fairly new thing, so I’m still learning symptoms/triggers. Part of why I’ve been panicking is because i had to find a new therapist because of insurance changes and my first appointment wasn’t until the end of March-- and I’ve already gone four months since seeing my previous therapist. It definitely helps! Well, my new therapist called today and had a cancellation next week, so I’ll be able to go in before my trip which has helped me slow down and breathe a little.


Please let us know if you want to talk when anxiety strikes, we’re really good listeners!


I am very sorry for your loss.

Absolutely. I’m currently experencing the same thing. The only thing I could possibly suggest is the same encouragement you (and I) have receieved and that is to go, even if your heart isn’t in it at the moment. You do not need to be the one carrying everyone’s excitement or be everyone’s beacon of example of how much fun you’re going to have. You can just let it sit for a bit.

the final week usually ends up being rather “emotionally numb” anyway as you’ve spent so much time planning and prepping that there’s literally nothing left for you to do outside of a few super-minor things (like get cash in small bills for misc expenses). In short: you’re something akin to being bored, and it’s weird.

Regarding the anxiety, that I am not even close to qualified to offering up advice for. But I can tell you this: you lose nothing by going but have everything to gain.

Go. Have a wonderful time. Have a boring time. Have a time where you can just let everyone else do things for you for a bit. No cooking, cleaning, door opening, driving (if you’re taking Disney transport), or decision making outside what you want to decide.

And then come back…and tell us how it was :slight_smile:


I am very sorry for your loss. I think I have more depression than anxiety, but I have these “funks” that can last hours to days. Yesterday, I broke down crying because we took my oldest to visit a college campus, and the thought of him getting older just hit me like a ton of bricks (part of the reason we’re going to Disney). I turned on Joyce Meyers and filled my head with her positive thoughts (she’s a Christian speaker) instead of the negative thoughts that try to take over. It helped me from having a pretty hard cry!

I run and walk. The vitamin D from the sun and being outside help a lot. Plus, my thoughts seem more focused and positive. My go to’s are exercise and the Bible too! Also, I have learned some breathing techniques that fool your brain into thinking that things are OK. You could probably google them. I also know that “fight or flight” lasts 15 mins. If you can try to fool your brain and seek comfort (or even go for a walk) for 15 mins, then sometimes the feeling will pass at least temporarily - I know the grief itself will be a process.

I get obsessed planning for Disney sometimes. When that happens, I have to remind myself that it’s the time with my family that will be the best part. There’s really no FP for the best part of the whole experience. So, if we end up missing rides, etc, so be it! Just walking around Disney together will make it one of the best trips ever!


I found this and I hope it will help.


How are you doing today @cfox8??

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I’m so sorry for your loss.

I don’t know if this will be helpful or not – and it certainly isn’t mean to replace your therapist visit, I hope that’s very helpful! – but one resource for me that has been very helpful has been fearofflying.com. I found it after having a panic attack on a plane that screwed up my ability to fly comfortably for years (still does, but not nearly as badly), but a lot of the information there applies to anxiety in general, not specific to being afraid of flying. The author is a pilot and licensed social worker who has thought a lot about anxiety; his approach is similar to CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). (Oh, and one of the techniques he recommends is in that graphic @carthy15 posted, he just calls it the 5-4-3-2-1 and does it a little differently, where you focus only on the sensory input.)

It sounds like part of what’s going on for you may be anticipatory anxiety, which is, at least from my experience, part of the anxiety deal – tbh anticipating a flight (or my husband flying) is now much worse than the flight itself.

Actually rereading your post again, I was reminded of a trip I took about six months after my mother died (of cancer, and it was in March, eerily enough). It was to New York to meet friends and attend a once-in-a-lifetime concert. It was my first weekend away from my kids in God knows how long. And I remember feeling totally numb the week before. Like, what was wrong with me that I wasn’t eagerly anticipating this trip? (And I was feeling a little nauseous about the trip up.) Long story short, I went, I was thrilled to be in NYC, the trip was memorable and I’m so glad I got to take it.

So it sounds to me that what you’re going through is not ridiculous and not a sign that you shouldn’t take this trip. Grief is a strange and demanding beast. I’m sorry you have to deal with it at the moment.


I don’t know if everyone who replied to me will see this, but thank you. You all really helped me make the final push to just get here.

My anxiety came in waves from the time we left for the airport until the second night of our stay. We hit some turbulence and ever since flying through a thunderstorm a few years ago and hitting a draft, turbulence has made me extremely nervous. But we made it to the hotel safely and all was well until we checked in and were assigned a room on the 15th floor with open-air hallways and two balconies.

I still don’t know why I did it, but I walked up to the fence and looked straight down. I started bawling. I’ve always been a little afraid of heights, but it’s been bad lately. I meditated and prayed that night and slept without too much trouble, but the next day as we left, I hugged the wall until we were inside the elevator.

We had breakfast at 'Ohana and I was enjoying myself, but still not completely relaxed. It wasn’t until we were inside Magic Kingdom and directly in front of the castle that my anxiety melted. I almost started crying-- I felt like such a sap. I finally started to feel the giddiness that I usually do on a Disney trip and it was a fantastic first day.

Back at the hotel that night, I had a brief conversation with my husband about my anxiety and whether or not we should move to a lower floor. I was still afraid. He told me that he thought trying to deal with it might be good for me in the long run. I told him that I wanted to enjoy the trip and that I thought now wasn’t the time to deal with it. He agreed and supported me in moving our entire family (including my sisters) from the 15th floor to the 2nd.

The rest of the week has gone by so quickly. It’s been hotter and more crowded than I had anticipated, but still so much fun. We all caught colds from somewhere and I’ve got the worst of it today, so I’m in the room by myself while everyone else is at Animal Kingdom. I’m hoping to meet up with them for our last night in Magic Kingdom tonight and hopefully ride Seven Dwarfs – finally!

It’s been incredible to be here and not think or worry about the outside world and all the “every day” stuff that’s waiting for us when we get home. We’re going to be going home to snow and cold next week, so we’re soaking up the sun and trying to enjoy every single minute of precious time.


I am so sorry for your loss, mothers are the core of who were are, and I hope your love and memory of her gives you strength and joy. For what its worth, every year my sisters and I do a Sisters Trip to be together, and no matter whether our lives are at that point great, complicated, sad, or truly despairing, that being together is soul-warming – so I think you are doing the right thing.
When I get anxious, I break it down into pieces: pack the shoes, check; pack the socks, check; pack the xxx, check. For me, I have to get away from the Big Picture and just focus on small tasks. Kind of Mary Poppins: in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You fine the fun, and Snap!, the job’s a game.


I’m so glad you went and got to enjoy yourself and the nicer weather!
I get a bit Doom and gloom if I don’t get to see the sun for awhile. Love the sound of rain, watching the train, being in the rain… But I can’t do it for too long.

I also went a bit weird just before my trip- I was TOO organised and had nothing left to plan or do, which caused me great anxiety because I must have been forgetting something important. It also meant I had all this free time and didn’t know what to do with myself… Except with about what else I could possibly do to prepare for the trip.

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