We’re back from our big trip, and we have had a week to recover from jet lag. On the whole, the trip was great. But since this is a blog about mood swings, I’ll talk about the stressful parts, and dealing with them.
For me, the more neurotypical member of the family, the main stress of travel is the fact that I have a lifelong phobia of vomiting. Travel offers triggers for that. I’m going on a plane. What if I get air sick? I’ve never been air sick, but there’s always a first time. So I put sea bands on my wrists, and take Dramamine, and bring ginger candy to eat, just in case. Then there’s the opportunity to get sick in other countries. We saw a travel doctor, and got all the cautions: Don’t drink the water. Don’t take ice in your drinks. Don’t eat fresh vegetables. (When you get a tasty looking salad brought to the table along with the cooked meal you ordered, just eat the cooked food and give the salad a pass.) And we got antibiotics, which came in handy when my husband slipped, had a sandwich with a bit of lettuce and tomato, and got sick.
For my husband, who has bipolar disorder, there’s another source of stress: time changes. We had a couple of long days when we barely got any sleep because we were travelling for, say, 24 hours. He got an increase in his mood stabilizer to ward off mania, and did his best to get onto a good sleep schedule quickly.
Then there are the ordinary stresses of the trip: He lost a crown in London, and needed an emergency dental visit. We got pickpocketed in Paris, at the cost of 80 euros. We almost missed one flight (but convinced them to let us check in an hour before departure, though they said at first that check in was closed). And there are a large number of things that must not be lost, meaning inevitable searches to find one or another of these things.
Finally, there’s the return home, with all the ordinary household inconveniences while we’re still jet lagged.
On the whole, I think we did pretty well. Seeing the travel doctor beforehand helped, and having my husband talk with all his doctors and his psychiatrist ahead of time also helped.