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Tips for Cruising with Anxiety?


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I was wondering if anyone on here has an anxiety disorder, and how you deal with it on a cruise? I doubt my anxiety will be an issue as it only really gets worse when I'm sitting idle.  I have a feeling I'm going to be too busy to realize I'm on a floating piece of metal in the middle of the ocean that I couldn't get off of if I wanted to. Before anyone asks, I do have a prescription but if I take it I can't drink...and I purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package. The only other thing that helps me is CBD(which I can combine with alcohol)(not recommended) and I'm not aware of its legality on the ship. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. 

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As someone who also suffers from an irrational fear (fear of flying), I can tell you what works for me is reminding yourself of how many cruises go off without a hitch every day, week and month of the year. 

At the end of the day, if there's one day where your fear is beyond manageable, better to take the medicine and be calm than get value from a drink package and not enjoy your time.

Disclaimer: I'm not a mental health professional, just sharing what works for me. 

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I suffer from debilitating anxiety as well. The first cruise I ever went on, our table in the main dining room was next to a window.  I remember our first dinner, I literally was so anxious when I looked out the window that I could not swallow (it was like the muscles in my esophagus froze up) the piece of steak that was in my mouth.  All of a sudden I realized we were out in the middle of the ocean trapped on a floating piece of metal as you described it :).  I do take a low dose medication daily for my anxiety so I do drink alcohol in moderation while on vacation.  I would recommend identifying what could possibly be triggers for your anxiety before you go and then try to avoid those triggers (i.e... don't sit by the window during dinner if you think that would be a trigger).  I also try to focus on the advice my therapist has given over the years - like capturing my thoughts and try to replace the anxiety ridden thoughts with ones that are factual and positive.  For example, focus on the fact that people cruise every day, the captain and crew are very competent and they don't want anything to happen anymore than you do, etc.....  Anyway, that's probably way too much information than you wanted, but that's the way I plan to handle our cruise in June.  

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My daughter has GAD and we were concerned with how she will handle her first cruise in the fall. She occasionally will imagine situations she really hasn't experienced at their outrageous extreme - last year's wildfires in California meant the whole world would eventually be on fire to her. We've had quite a bit of video watching to expose her to the fact that we will be surrounded by water at times and to familiarize her with the ship. I had photos of a life boat drill from a previous cruise that she loved to look at too. The exposure seems to have calmed her quite a bit as I don't get any "what if" questions from her anymore; I get questions about details instead (what will they do in Adventure Ocean on day 4, can I get spaghetti without sauce, etc.).

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4 hours ago, Avljkb22 said:

I was wondering if anyone on here has an anxiety disorder, and how you deal with it on a cruise? I doubt my anxiety will be an issue as it only really gets worse when I'm sitting idle.  I have a feeling I'm going to be too busy to realize I'm on a floating piece of metal in the middle of the ocean that I couldn't get off of if I wanted to. Before anyone asks, I do have a prescription but if I take it I can't drink...and I purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package. The only other thing that helps me is CBD(which I can combine with alcohol)(not recommended) and I'm not aware of its legality on the ship. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. 

I do. I went on a cruise with a bunch of people and a few of them did as well. I don't take meds, my friend does daily and my other friend takes meds when he needs it. We all drink, no one gets crazy. It really depends on your type of anxiety and how you deal with it. My friend and I workout in the am usually which helps us. My other friend needs to relax. We did what we do off of the ship, we distract.

Not sure if this helps and if you only have anxiety related to the ship or outside of it. We didn't have a whole lot of anxiety related to the ship, just our usual.

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I travel with anxiety a lot and I can share how I handle it.  I like to find my safe or quiet place.  Somewhere I can go that I can regroup and get my anxiety under control.  It may be your cabin but it also may be a nice couch somewhere looking out at the sea.  The couch looking out really calms me.  I also find being out in the ocean and not being able to see land wonderful and calming.  I am on daily meds and have Xanax for emergencies.  I carry my Xanax but don't use it while drinking.  I also take a very low dose when I do take it.  I like to take a break in the middle of my trip and have no alcohol that day.  If I feel an anxiety attack coming on I don't fight it.  I stop, breathe and tell myself to go ahead and have the attack so I can get on with my vacation.  Usually that stops the attack because I'm no longer afraid of it.  It helps if you can get to your calming place when you tell yourself this.  Good luck and don't let anxiety rob you of one more joy in your life.  I'm tired of letting it rule me and refuse to not do things because of it.  I also find it helps to go ahead and let people know I'm having an attack.  Being ashamed of it tends to make the attack worse.  The less power you give it the quicker it is gone.

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On 5/7/2019 at 11:26 AM, Avljkb22 said:

The only other thing that helps me is CBD(which I can combine with alcohol)(not recommended) and I'm not aware of its legality on the ship

I just recently did a decent amount of research into the the legalities of CBD oil and traveling with it as I was going to be buying some for the first time. My personal, not lawyer opinion, is that it is in enough of a legal grey area that there is no way on gods green earth I would take CBD oil or any other cannabis derived substance on either a plane or a cruise ship. The risk is just too great for being caught and an overzealous security agent treating it the same as if you were smuggling meth or something. I don’t even have anxiety (I was looking into it for back pain) but just the possibility of something like that happening would make me far too anxious for the benefits to outweigh the risks. I’ve read on some cannabis advocate websites that it is legal to travel with CBD oil, but I’ve read enough articles about people being stopped and arrested in airports (even since the law change)  and noticed it’s explicitly called out as not allowed on planes that I would just never try it. 

  

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1 hour ago, spiralqueen said:

I just recently did a decent amount of research into the the legalities of CBD oil and traveling with it as I was going to be buying some for the first time. My personal, not lawyer opinion, is that it is in enough of a legal grey area that there is no way on gods green earth I would take CBD oil or any other cannabis derived substance on either a plane or a cruise ship. The risk is just too great for being caught and an overzealous security agent treating it the same as if you were smuggling meth or something. I don’t even have anxiety (I was looking into it for back pain) but just the possibility of something like that happening would make me far too anxious for the benefits to outweigh the risks. I’ve read on some cannabis advocate websites that it is legal to travel with CBD oil, but I’ve read enough articles about people being stopped and arrested in airports (even since the law change)  and noticed it’s explicitly called out as not allowed on planes that I would just never try it. 

It's interesting you bring this up, as I've noticed the huge surge in products containing CBD and was wondering myself how on earth this was legal. NBC Nightly News did a segment a couple of days ago talking about this, and it turns out that this year's Farm Bill passed by congress has made it legal again to grow hemp. The CBD in all of these new products, and I believe in the stand-alone oils as well, is being extracted from hemp rather than cannabis. Products containing CBD still aren't allowed to make any kind of health benefit claims or they'll run afoul of the FDC, but apart from that the stuff being sold is indeed legal as a result. I mean, when Bed Bath and Beyond is selling CBD oil now, I would guess they had their lawyers check into that before making the public advertisement in their latest flyer. 😉 

Does this make you any less at risk of getting into hot water with an over-zealous TSA agent or security staffer at the port? Nope. And while selling CBD oil and products containing it in the US may be legal now, I have no idea of the legality of that in other countries or how they'd view you bringing a product with CBD in it, even if it was documented on the bottle that it was extracted from hemp. You definitely should stick to caution right now, but I do wonder if this change in US policy will quickly make its way across the rest of the globe.

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  • 2 years later...

It took some time to get used to handling my anxiety correctly. I do not recommend you using any medicine or drugs, especially alcohol. These chemicals could become an addiction, and you should avoid them as much as possible because handling anxiety is about finding your inner peace. I had to find a specialist who has helped me dealing with this disorder. That's why before traveling, I recommend you to find one at fherehab.com The doctors helped me with therapy and meditation. And, yes, do not be ashamed to recognize your disorder; it would become easier to face it in this way.

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