Somatic issues when traveling


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What do you do when your symptoms flare up around certain social commitments you have made? I am going back to my home town tomorrow to see some beloved friends and family. But this time, as happens at time, my somatic PTSD symptoms (IBS type stuff that’s been very controlled the past 10 years except with things like stressful travel) are going wild. I really don’t want to go. I think I’m triggered because I’m simultaneously going through a REALLY hard traumatic time with my 19 year old. So, my cup of “stress marbles” is kind of full to the top, the “water” overflows if another big stressor is added. I’m a very busy psychotherapist and also have several patients in high need and high risk right now. I canceled the trip once already! I am so mad at myself for trying to replan it. Some people who love me and I love including elders who may not be in place for long (die or go into residential settings) really wanted me to reschedule and so I did. I HATE C PTSD when it gets physical. I just hate it. I’d like to cancel the trip as now instead of it seeming fun like it did when I first planned it a couple months ago, it feels like going back into the “have to” of going off to my abusive dad’s as a kid. Of course a I know it’s not true, but my body doesn’t! I have worked and worked and worked on this in therapy, physically etc and lead a good life overall. But today- BLECH- I am grabbed down the rabbit hole and stomach is flared up terribly, exhausted, weepy, a little dizzy. Can’t win when this happens. People would be so sad and disappointed not to see me, and I will be sad too. But I also feel so dysregulated. My husband can’t go this time, and that’s a big part of it. He’s my touchstone.
What do you do when your symptoms flare up around certain social commitments you have made?
I personally reduce my expectations (was planning to stay overnight? Just stay for dinner and get someone else to stay. Having a long lunch? Go for a coffee instead) and step up the self cate stuff that helps me empty out my stress cup.
hello brady. welcome to the forum.

ibs is one of my somatic symptoms, as well. how calm my digestive tract is one of my most trusted indicators of how well i am managing my c-ptsd, in general. alas, procrastinating on whatever has my symptoms flaring only seems to make things worse. i think of those physical symptoms as the price of denial. if the ibs gets out-of-hand, i go on a baby food diet. it's solid nutrition in a convenient, easy to digest format.

gentle empathy on the stress of parenting teens. here's to hoping the time away might reduce those tensions. just hoping.
what Usually helps you to orientate yourself, and your body, into the safe here and now? Can you practice that?
do things like:
having visuals in your head of hugging and giving care and comfort to younger you help?
having something to hold , something tactile?
speaking out loud to yourself about what you want from the trip (the joy of seeing loved ones and experiencing their love for you)

is there any practical thing that can happen? I.e. the venue or time that can be changed to help make you feel better about it?