Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Health, Mental Health

I’m Taking My First Vacation Since Developing Chronic Pain

Ocean Shores in 2017

In a few days my boyfriend and I are going on vacation. Nothing too exciting or fancy, just a couple of low-key days on the beach, which is only about a two-hour drive from where we live. 

It’s the first vacation I’m taking since developing chronic pain. And while I’m looking forward to it, I’m also worried. 

I’m worried that I’ll have too much pain and won’t be able to enjoy myself. I’m worried that traveling and doing something different for a couple of days will put too much stress on my body and cause me to have a bad pain flare-up. 

And I’m worried that I’ll never be able to enjoy traveling again. 

I’ve always had dreams of traveling the world. I went to Spain two years ago and like to take small trips here and there when I can. I’ve always planned on doing more travel in the future, taking long trips to far-away countries. 

But ever since my pain started, I’ve begun to worry that those plans are going to be out of reach. If I have to spend an entire trip in a hotel lying down with an ice pack on my head, is there even any point in taking a trip in the first place?

I know it’s irrational, but part of me feels like if I can’t enjoy this trip despite my pain, or if I get a big pain flare-up while I’m there, that means I can’t travel anymore, period. I worry that this will prove that I will never be able to travel to all the places that I’ve always wanted to if I can’t do this one two-day trip to a place that’s two hours from my home. 

Even though I know things can change, that pain now doesn’t necessarily mean pain forever. In the future, I may have better coping mechanisms, or found better treatment options that give me more permanent relief. I might be in less pain overall in the future, or it might at least be more manageable. 

Or not. Who’s to say? But I know I’m putting too much pressure on myself to have a “good” vacation, to “prove” that I can still travel, and that’s probably setting myself up for failure. 

As far as this upcoming trip goes, I’m planning ahead so that I can enjoy myself as much as possible. I’ll be making sure that I bring the things I need in order to manage my pain. And I’m planning on taking a lot of breaks while driving, even though it’s only a couple of hours, since long drives are a big pain trigger for me.

I’m also going to make sure that I don’t push myself to do too much, something I’m prone to do. Now that I am more prone to pain and getting worn out I have to be extra careful. The focus of this trip is just going to be relaxation, not seeing as many sights as possible.

And I’m trying to focus on this trip and this trip only, and not what it “means” for my future traveling (or lack of traveling) with chronic pain. 

We’ll see how it goes.

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