Help! I Am Getting Whatif-itis!

May 16th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #1  
Patsy
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Help! I Am Getting Whatif-itis!

I need your advice, I bought my airline tickets, I am almost through planning my trip (to Italy) and getting reservations and now I am getting the what-ifs. What if the plane is hi-jacked, what if I miss the plane altogether, what if Italy is on strike, what if I don't turn off the water in my bathtub, what if my dog gets sick, etc.
Does this happen to you too? Please help with your advice, I am getting overwhelmed and even thought of cancelling. What do you do?
 
May 16th, 2002, 10:52 AM
  #2  
carol
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Dear Patsy
I freak out too with every trip i make. Deep in your heart you must know that the chance of any of this happening is 1 in a bizillion...and besides...if your gone someone will take care of the tub and the dog...about highjacking...do you relly want to stay home for the rest of your life b/c you just might get high jacked or crash. I have a new motto..."feel the fear and do it anyway"...life is too short to worry about "what ifs". Hope i helped.
 
May 16th, 2002, 10:52 AM
  #3  
call
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There are some great pills you can now take for ocd...or maybe all you need is a good spreadsheet - excel is great for what-if questions!
 
May 16th, 2002, 10:55 AM
  #4  
Diane
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Hi Patsy,
My husband gets whatif-itis also and we are going to France soon, so I can relate.Some suggestions: Make a list of things to take care of on this side,i.e. leave for airport quite early and ask a friend to come with you and wait, things to turn off- the iron, sink tabs, leave the vet's number with the dog's sitter(set up with the vet to bill you when you return)and this should not be construed as medical or psychological advice: maybe talk with a therapist about the big hijack fears
 
May 16th, 2002, 10:55 AM
  #5  
Capo
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Hi Patsy. One of the things you might consider is that some of your "what-ifs?" kind of cancel each other out. For example, if you miss your plane, you wouldn't have to worry about if it was hijacked. If your plane was hijacked, whether Italy is on strike or not probably wouldn't be all that big of a deal to you.

Seriously, I'd bet a lot of people understand what you're saying, but you can "what-if" yourself to death...or cancellation. What if I got mugged? What if I got in car accident? Or a train accident? What if I was drugged, woke up, and found a kidney gone? What if I'm kidnapped by supermodels? (Hey, come to think of it, that last one wouldn't be too bad. My pet "what-if" is usually worrying, just a bit, about my house catching fire or being broken into while I'm gone.

Anyway, the only advice I have is to, on the home front, have a checklist to make sure the water is turned off, etc. and, on the Italian front, just *try* to not worry about the "what-ifs." Or think, instead, what if none of my "what-ifs" come true?
 
May 16th, 2002, 10:57 AM
  #6  
Kay
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I go through the same thing. I am on a 32 day trip now. My office was flooded by the HVAC contractor, but someone is taking care of it. Once I am on vacation, I only worry about it when I get an email telling me about it, like the flood, and I really didn't even care! Put someone you can trust in charge of your office, home, and animals and go. I arrived in Italy the day of the strike and didn't even notice! I arrived in Venice and the water taxis were running. Someone on this forum, Santa Chiara, told me I had a 50/50 chance they would be running, but what could I do, cancel my trip... NO WAY. It turned out I worried about nothing. Kay
 
May 16th, 2002, 11:04 AM
  #7  
Capo
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Hi Kay. I remember you, being concerned about a planned general strike on the day you were to arrive in Venice. Glad to hear that the water taxis were running, and that you enjoyed Venice.
 
May 16th, 2002, 11:04 AM
  #8  
Patsy
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Thanks so far, what is OCD, I think it is a disorder of some kind, I can add that to my whatifs. I can also add the stolen kidney to my whatifs. I think you are all adding whatifs, just a joke, I appreciate the knowledge that I am not the only one that approaches a trip with trepidation. Does it get better when you arrive? I would think so, with all the new experiences.
 
May 16th, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #9  
elvira
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I am an obsessive-compulsive, paranoid-schizophrenic with control issues, so I can empathize... I've overcome the what-ifs by having comprehensive lists, and detailed calendar itineraries (Monday: confirm hotel; get euros; clean out fridge). If I have done everything *I* can do to avert a catastrophe, then everything else is in the hands of God/fate/evil spirits.

There's no way to plan for every contingency; don't even try. Give the kennel or the pet sitter instructions what to do if the dog gets sick; if the plane is hijacked, can *you* do anything (if you're disabled, weak from illness, very small, untrained/inexperienced in physical combat/contact, you can't do anything to help - just promise yourself you won't do anything to hurt). The only reason to miss a plane (unless it's a connection and your first plane is late) or not turn off the water is YOU. Make your lists, check everything off as it's done (if you're worried about the tub, then make a "things to check before I shut the door" list "blinds closed" "sprinklers on timer" "iron unplugged").

Relax, it's all you can do once YOU've done everything you can do.

And don't assume that if something goes awry, that there's no solution. If the hotel says "we do not have your reservation", stay calm, ask them to help. If they are unable, go to the tourist office and ask them to find you a room. Be willing to stay away from the center of the city; be willing to move on to another town. Just don't get all riled up and pitch a hissy. Stay calm, polite, rational...you can go ballistic once you're in your room.




 
May 16th, 2002, 11:20 AM
  #10  
Master Class in What-if
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No one outdoes me in this -- and OCD isn't really the correct diagnosis, has more to do with plain vanilla anxiety disorder. (OCD has to do with repetitive behavior as irrational preventative, etc. etc.)

Yes, it does get better when you arrive, because the actual locale is no longer some distant "postcard picture" in your mind where weird things can happen; it's right around you and you have some control and reality checks regarding what's happening.

Patsy, my advice: Between now and the trip forget about anything expect the ONE task immediately in front of you (if you make a list, progress through those tasks will be easier). Assume that once or twice you'll wake up with the whim-whams and let 'em come and then disappear. Assume 3-4 days ahead will be the worst, and thereafter it'll get easier because you are, AT LAST, getting on your way. Whenever you get the what-if whimwhams, recognize them as just a double-looping of your normal impulse to take care and they WILL go away if you don't "refresh them" with a new set of what-ifs.

Remember looking forward to Christmas or a special birthday when you were a kid? For a long time ahead of it, you probably were so excited you didn't think you could stand to wait. You got more excited as it got closer, but the day before you began to wonder why things really didn't feel all that different yet. Finally, on the day, it turned out to be fun but maybe not nearly as magic as you'd imagined. This is just the adult-who-knows-what-can-go-wrong version of this.

Let it wash over you, stay focused on daily stuff, and it'll be fine.
 
May 16th, 2002, 11:49 AM
  #11  
Ashley
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I'm the same way before a trip and we're leaving for Europe in a few days. Best travel advice I ever got: "Be deliberate." All you have to worry about is the one task in front of you. And my boyfriend asks me, "Why do you assume that every surprise will be a bad one?" You'll have some things happen in your trip that you didn't plan, and they just may be the best memories!
 
May 16th, 2002, 12:02 PM
  #12  
Frank
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Wife and I are leaving for Italy in 2 weeks, and I have been freaked out about getting pickpocketed or robbed by some gypsy kid. I've been a cop for 30 years, never afraid of anybody or anything, but for some reason I am freaked out about losing our money and credit cards. Getting hijacked is the last thing on my mind.
 
May 16th, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #13  
Mandy
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I think you need to ANSWER your fears of what-if... What is the WORST thing that could happen? Have a plan of action to take care of having your wallet stolen (copies of credit card number and company telephone number to report it stolen, back up credit card with another company in your hotel safe, copy of your passport, etc. Better yet, use a money belt!) An inconvenience, surely, but will it ruin your trip? Not necessarily. What if you miss your plane? You'll get another...this has happened to most of us and we all manage to figure it out. What if Italy is on strike? People still get around; trains will run, though maybe not on the published schedule.

I am an obsessive planner myself, and having a plan of action always helps calm my nerves! Sure beats staying home!
 
May 16th, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #14  
REDRUM
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Carry only the cash you need and keep the credit cards where someone’s going to have to be really serious to get to them. Even if that means you have to go to a bathroom to get to your card. Leave the card #’s with someone you trust at home (same with a zerox of your passport).

I get cash money from an ATM in the morning when everything is bright and busy. Focus on your day and roll with the punches. To paraphrase John Lennon, “there are no problems; only solutions.”

I’m one of the world’s greatest worriers but I just completed 3 weeks in England and France on my own. I visited friends, yes, but every thing else, making connections, setting itineraries, were all up to me. Daunting? Slightly. Exhilerating? Outrageously.

I had several minor crisis days and I survived and I feel a whole hell of a lot better about myself. If you pray, if you meditate, remind yourself and your “higher power” that you will not live in fear, that you will not live in anxiety, that you will live with compassion and with joy.
 
May 16th, 2002, 01:45 PM
  #15  
Santa Chiara
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Kay, glad to hear everything turned out okay, and I hope you are having a great time. Italy does teach you infinite patience. Otherwise, you would go around the bend.
 
May 16th, 2002, 02:23 PM
  #16  
Barb
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Patsy, you didn't say if you were going solo or not, but I just finished a really good book - Travel Alone and Love it by Sharon Wingler. She makes a list of all her worst fears and then one by one she deals with what's the worst thing that could happen and how to deal with it. It was so on point, I wrote out my list and it is tucked away in the travel journal I'm taking with me in Sept when I travel to Italy by myself for the first time. I think if you are prepared with a "worst scenario" plan, you will be able to conquer anything, or at least not be in a panic. I hope.
 
May 16th, 2002, 02:48 PM
  #17  
roman
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Hey Patsy,

What is the big deal if any of these things happen anyways??
 
May 16th, 2002, 03:11 PM
  #18  
Patsy
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Thanks everyone, I will start making lists and more lists. I can see that will work, that way less open to forgetting, etc. I knew you would all come through, I will take all of your advice and Barb I will read that book too. Roman that is my point, if I thought all I am worrying about would really happen, I surely wouldn't go willingly. The only really big deals are life threatening ones.
 
May 16th, 2002, 04:55 PM
  #19  
nancy
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Patsy,
I became a big "what- if" person
after I had my children,
so getting on a plane with them was scary for me.
Next week , going without them,
and even scarier.
BUT,
what if I was walking down the sidewalk in my small town,
and a man passes out in his car, jumps the curb and hits me?
Waht if I choke on a lifesaver and die?
that is as possible as any of the other things.

One thing I finally realized which has helped me alot.
is,
If I spend time worrying about something bad happening.
will all my worrying stop it from happening?
Will the MORE I worry , prevent it?
NO, what will come, will come.

Things do overwhelm, though for a lot of us at different times of our lives.
and sometimes feeds on itself.

If you ever do find this "what-ifs" carryingover into your daily routine,
then go talk to a doctor,
You may just be lacking inthe correct amt. of a brain chemical.

BUT, enjoy your trip to Italy.
You will have fun!!
 
May 16th, 2002, 05:47 PM
  #20  
carol (not the same one as above)
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Patsy: I'm always panicky before a trip. I worry about everything, but I don't really want to tell stories here. Some of it is just normal excitement and energy that somehow gets distorted into unpleasant energy. One thing I can honestly tell you is that all my anxiety and fears vanish as soon as I arrive, and I always have a good time, am very flexible, find many things very funny, and don't allow the inevitable mishaps to interfere with my enjoyment. The "worrier" seems to be only my PRE-trip personality, fortunately.
 

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