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  • Marlena

Vacation Anxiety


I started planning our family vacation today. Something we haven’t taken in years. As I looked through all the options and all the things to do, I immediately got anxiety.


This will be our first official vacation since Elijah’s SPD diagnosis. Yes, we’ve taken trips to see family. But this, this will be nonstop days of fun and action. Sounds awesome doesn’t it?


Except for him, this could mean Sensory overload at every turn. First, the car trip. It will be a long drive, divided over two days. That’s a long time to sit still...in a small space. Yes, we’ll have things to entertain, but when we stop to stretch, eat, use the bathrooom, the potential for meltdowns is there. The potential for him to be completely fine is also there.


Then the hotel. Asking him to sleep in a strange place, without his normal routines and things in place to help him fall asleep, could mean disaster, especially as we get further into the trip and fatigue starts to set in. Hotels give me anxiety with him for any trip...keeping him calm and keeping the meltdowns at bay.


And the parks. The fun and adventure and nonstop things those bring. The sites, sounds, smells, crowds. While he’ll have fun at each park, I’ll have to stay fully tuned in to him and his cues for signs of anxiety, fatigue, and general overload. The crowds concern me a lot. The smells and overstimulation in general.


So as I plan this trip, I’m thinking about the extra things I need to plan and be prepared for as well. What do I need to bring for the car to keep him regulated? What do I need to bring for the hotel for comfort? What do I need to pack for the parks to keep his senses in check? How many breaks will I need to schedule in the day, even when he insists he’s okay? All of these things started running through my head...and so much more. I reached out to a travel agent to help. I didn’t want the burden of planning it all.


But, the fun and memories to be made...all of that far outweighs the prep I need to do to make this happen for both of my boys. They deserve it. After all, Isaac will be gone from home sooner than I’d like to think and I want their childhood memories to be awesome!! Here’s to a memorable trip and telling SPD to suck it!

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