Earlier this week (Sunday to Monday), I took a red eye flight across the country to visit family and friends. When I arrived, I got off the plane and went to work first. 4 days of work and 8 days vacation make sense so I can spend time with both families. I didn’t anticipate many problems because I usually sleep most of the plane trip. And I pay extra for the plane upgrades – extra space, early boarding, early advantage for carry on space – and conveniences that make flying easier.
- Panic attack
- Body memories
- Physical Pain
- Digestion/bladder/bowel issues
The biggest Surprise
My alter personalities were restless and active the whole time I slept
- I fell asleep with my sleep headphones and a sleep mask wearing my comfy airplane outfit (knee length dress, head scarf, long sleeve wool cardigan, and sleep socks).
- My alters came out, and I started switching in my sleep.
- They started taking over our body and moving me around in the chair. A Lot.
- Then they objected to the seat belt and kept sending pain signals to my left side.
- Later, I had to use the restroom, but they wouldn’t wake up an adult to deal with this.
- Eventually, I had to get up and move around; used that time to visit the restroom.
- I offered to buy us a travel blanket so we could curl up and get comfortable without exposing too much skin, but they kept saying “no”.
- Then our body temp lowered as we relaxed into rest mode.
- Half way through the flight, I gave up trying to sleep and just listened to music or TV instead.
The Challenge of Restless Alters on a Plane:
- Disturbing my neighbors while they slept
- Feeling shame and over apologizing to my seat mates
- Anxiety over how I appear to the flight attendants and other passengers
- The discomfort and pain of sitting in one position so long without any of the meditation techniques working to relieve the pain
The Second Biggest Surprise
Riding the bus from the airport to the office.
- The bus was crowded so I had to stand in an awkward position
- At the stop after mine, an older woman came on the bus and kept staring at or through me
- The bus driver had to get off for about 10 minutes at the third stop; we didn’t know if he would come back or not
- While the driver was off, the woman kept looking at me as if it was my fault. I kept looking her in the eye, shrugging, and then looking away
- Then an Asian girl got on the bus. And the woman started talking to the other passengers in a strong local accent
- The accent triggered me and made me feel so nauseous I got off early
- The next bus was almost empty, but I ended up at work later than I wanted
- The nausea didn’t go away until I used pressure points on my wrists; then kept coming back throughout the day
Rest of the Challenges
- I lost my liquid items and toothpaste out of anxiety and stress
- (forgot to take them out of my bag and then put them in again after my bag went through the machine again)
- In Chinatown, people were extremely rude because my bald scalp showed through my head scarf
- At lunch, I had to interact with people who were not exactly nice to me before I left
- By lunch I was feel jet-lag and started crying in the bathroom from overwhelming feelings (good and bad)
- Focusing on the positive
- Acknowledging the potential triggers & negative feelings; then letting them go
- Using grounding techniques
- Allowing myself to feel everything
- Giving and receiving lots of hugs
- Getting my work done
- Keeping in touch with my relatives
- Asking for a ride home instead of using public transportation
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Next on the list to research
- Strategies for stretching and relaxing on a long flight
- Strategies for helping my alters calm down during sleep
- Strategies for dealing with the shame that comes from too much activity that disturbs my seat neighbors
Thanks for reading