They beat me, don’t let them beat you

Though I’m certain the majority of people reading this will have arrived via Dedicated to DLP channels, this is at its core about me, not Disneyland Paris. As such I am posting on my little used personal blog rather than on Dedicated to DLP. Right now, as I write this, I should be just a few hours away from getting the train to go to Lille, and then on to Disneyland Paris itself, but I’m not. Is it connected with what happened on Friday in Paris? Yes. Is it solely to do with that? No.

At the start of this year I was diagnosed with anxiety, in particular health and death anxiety. I know, the guy that puts himself on video, talks on a podcast for hours on end and is usually one of the louder people around – how can that guy have problems with anxiety? It’s been there for many years, but it was only recently that I sought help and had a label put on it, which in itself may not have helped, but that’s another conversation for another time. With so many people expecting me to both be in Disneyland Paris, and reporting on the Christmas season (due to my own self-promotion, not because I’m in any way important enough to be on people’s minds), I thought it only right to attempt an explanation, in hope that you may understand or at least be informed enough to make a judgement, should you wish.

What triggers my anxiety and the way it affects me is not something I can pin down and list in a logical way, because logic and reasoning are factors I am very much aware of, and often crave, but are sometimes absent in the way my mind works, at least in these situations. Of course my boundless sympathy for those affected and admiration for people battling through adversity comes first, but ever since the atrocities of last Friday in Paris I’ve not been able to stop thinking about my own trip, and the possibility of something like that happening to me. See, this is where the logic comes in, and I’ve even been telling people myself on social media, that security is at an all-time high and the likelihood of anything happening right now is very small. Does that stop me thinking the worst though? Sometimes, for short periods, but then the doubts start flooding back and soon it’s all I can think about.

I thought I had a handle on it, but last night that all unravelled with a succession of incidents that led to my anxiety peaking to levels it hasn’t for months. In saying good night to my 7 year old son, he hugged me tighter than usual and for longer, saying he didn’t want me to go ‘because of the bombs’. I assured him I would be fine, and in my mind I wanted to stay strong for him and set a good example. The mood was lightened a bit when he said that although he was worried, he did want the presents I’d promised to bring back! At this point I thought it would be okay, until somebody on social media expressed surprise I was still going. They didn’t give any more detail and it was an innocent comment, but from great acorns..well, you know the rest. From there I started to Google questions about the safety of travelling to Paris and along the way, and I don’t even know how this was triggered, I got an image in my head of something bad happening on a train. That was it – the panic set in, the cold sweats came on and my stomach was in knots. This was followed by pacing round the room, and rapid shallow breathing as a nagging doubt had transformed into abject fear. At this point I knew my trip was over before it had started.

The problem is that on this occasion, not only would I be doing exactly what the terrorists wanted, but I was also ruining it for my friend Mark who was going on the trip with me. It’s a problem that has stopped me getting on a plane for 14 years, even though my Mum spends 6 months of the year in Spain. It has also stopped me getting on trains and going to events more times than I can remember. I get in my car every morning, which statistically is the worst form of travel, but as I said, there’s no room for logic and reason here.

I wish more than anything I didn’t think like this, and that the anxiety didn’t grab a hold and strangle me like it does, more so the for the people around me that are affected than myself. There’s always a feeling of failure and letting people down associated with it, and especially this time. Maybe in time it will get better, but for now I’m just thankful to have understanding and tolerant people supporting me. It means I don’t get to go to Disneyland Paris this one time – so what. There are families who will have one less person around the table for Christmas dinner this year, they are the people who need our love and attention. What I want to make very clear is that this is just an explanation of my situation and decision; it is absolutely not a plea for sympathy. Save that for the millions of people around the world affected by things that fortunately many of us will never be able to comprehend.

Comments

comments

15 Comments

  1. Helen says:

    Sorry to hear you won’t be going Steve, but thanks for sharing. For what’s it’s worth, as an anxiety sufferer myself from time to time, I completely understand and your post has really resonated with me. It’s so frustrating how it can suddenly appear and take over with little warning and often no logic behind it. It has only stopped me travelling once but has caused problems or affected my enjoyment of things on many other occasions. I won’t let it beat me though and it’s the successful trips that help to push it further away. DLP will be there for you another day. x

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks Helen – I thought I had it under control, but as you say, all of sudden things can change 🙁

  2. larney says:

    Hi Steve, I actually thought about leaving a comment also about why were you still going, I am glad I didn’t now. My husband and I go to Disney every year, we were due to go next Monday and we decided to cancel within hours of finding out what had happened. I had an operation this year and since then when I panic or feel nervous or worry mg stomach causes me great pain, I can therefore empathise with you there. Since we cancelled I have had so many comments from friends and family feeling relived we were not going. As hard as a decision it was and the almost desperation we had to go after a pretty rough year it just is not worth the risk. No way do you come across as looking for sympathy and I applaud your courage to speak out. I am heart broken for Paris and all those people who have lost their love ones and now live in fear, something in this day in age is sadly becoming the norm. As wonderful as the cm’s are there is just no way we could have gone as I myself would have been thinking has anyone here lost someone?? Take care Steve, I hope to meet you in DLP some day soon.

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment larney – my Mum said to me this morning that she was relieved I wasn’t going – she was worried. Meeting in DLP sounds fab 🙂

  3. Rachel says:

    Steve, although I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through I can sympathise as my other half has exactly the same challenges with regards to travelling and anxiety, so having been through it with him I want to send you big hugs and thank you for sharing your situation with us so openly x

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks Rachel – hugs are always welcomed and appreciated. When I wrote that this morning it suddenly dawned on me that a lot of friends and family would be learning this about me for the first time – eek!

  4. Cian says:

    Steve, it’s terrible to hear this and I feel really sorry for you. Although I cannot relate on the anxiety I have had to cancel a trip due to our safety being at risk, even though like you said there was only a tiny chance of something bad ever happening. I hope you can reschedule because I know that you were looking forward to going ‘home’.

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks Cian. It’s never fun having to cancel a trip, but as you say, we can always have a another opportunity to go home. Looking at Swing Into Spring as a possibility, as I’ve heard and seen online such great things, and never been there to experience myself.

  5. Dean says:

    Stay strong mate. My wife suffered with depression and anxiety so I understand what your going through. I’m sure I’ll bump into you there one day and we can grab a beer and have a proper chat.

    1. Steve says:

      That sounds pretty damn perfect, thanks Dean 🙂

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi Steve, I really wanted to get in touch to say I completely understand what you are/have gone through in making this decision. I suffer from the same anxieties as you and have done from a young age and although I’ve learnt to recognise the signs and sometimes not let it take over I don’t always win the battle. I feel the same guilt/embarrassment/frustration at letting people down and not always being able to do things that logically I know are completely safe because as we both know the fear isn’t logical. Flying is terrifying for me and I haven’t been able to “force” myself to get on a plane for 10 years since my honeymoon to Paris. For this reason and because my family (me, husband, little girl) are Disney obsessed DLP has been such an important place to us, we fell in love with the magic and the feeling we could still take our daughter on a ‘proper’ holiday without flying. We are due to go on our 4th holiday there at the end of the month, the first one at Christmas, and having saved and looked forward to it all year I now find myself in the same position as you fighting the fear and torturing myself trying to decide if it’s the right thing to go or not. It would break my heart to let my little girl down so I hope this time it’s a battle I can win. Best wishes to you and hope you get back to the place we all love soon!

  7. Chris Schofield says:

    Hey Steve,

    After reading this it makes perfect sense you wouldn’t want to travel given the terrible events in Paris and rumblings continuing in Belgium.

    I can’t deny I was looking forward to feedback from both yourself and Mark about the Christmas season but given the circumstances it will have to wait for another time. Don’t lose heart and keep moving forward dude, looking forward to the next show!

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks for the kind words Chris. I’m going through each bit of Christmas entertainment and reviewing the videos, one by one, but it’s not the same. I’ll be back, I’m sure.

  8. Saniya says:

    I’m not sure it’s necessarily good news… While I ceiltrnay don’t agree with anonymous and that tired old “it’s not what Walt would do” canard, I personally prefer rides and attractions that aren’t based on franchises. Especially comic ones. I know I’m in the minority on that notion, but I would rather have a ride based on an idea (like Grizzly Mountain, for example) instead of a movie they’ve made or purchased rights to. (Like Avatar, Cars or Marvel.)

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