My Love Life With Motion Sickness

When I say “love life” with motion sickness, I don’t mean that I fetishize it and adore being in a state of vulnerability. What I mean is that the monstrosity that is my anxiety and motion sickness not only permanently scarred me for life but also taught me a lot about myself and how to control my panicked state.

Because of my anxiety, motion sickness for me starts before I even get into the car. Even the anticipation of getting into a car triggers gag reflexes and makes me feel nauseous. Standing in underground parking lots or even sliding too deep into leather couches makes me think I’m sitting in a car. Motion sickness is something that I have defined as one of my biggest flaws but I’ve learned to accept this lower quality of life through these three unhealthy steps:


1. Don’t Eat Before Getting Into a Car

Vomiting is never a pleasant experience and although it helps clear the nausea, it sometimes doesn’t. Therefore, my logic was that by not eating/drinking before a car ride, I couldn’t throw up. This worked, there was no vomit, but there were still gag reflexes.


Of course, this is only for short rides 30-60 mins long, I would never starve myself for a long car ride. This is also not a dieting method nor approval for one to starve themselves to stop their motion sickness on long car rides. Not eating before getting into a car doesn’t stop the sickness, but it does help me cope with it better.


2. Self Inflict Noogies

Maybe this only works for me, but when my head is spinning, giving myself a noogie (aka a very hard temple massage) replaces the headache with something more bearable. Resting my head on the window also works too. It often feels like a resting my head on a perfect, caring, reliable imaginary boyfriend, except that the boyfriend is hard and cold and every time the car drives over bumpy roads my head loudly thumps against his shoulder.


3. Don’t Talk To Anyone

Whenever I’m in a car, I become a full-on hermit. Talking to people gets my brain working, and when my brain starts working, the nausea becomes stronger. So what do I think about? I think about my breathing. Controlled breathing is a rule I live by whenever I’m in a car. Controlling my breathing helps pass the time and allows me to keep tabs on myself. Although motion sickness has to do something with the inability to comprehend the depth and motion of the car as it is traveling, I believe that the smell of gasoline has something to do with it too. I can’t handle enclosed cars and busses, but I still like to ride roller coasters.

The effects I stated motion sickness has on me may sound rough and portray me like a balloon ready to burst into vomit as soon as someone speaks to me in a car. But I assure you that is not the case. Even though I’m extremely anxious when I think about car rides, and don’t have the best memories in them, I like to take a step back and examine how small my problem is. I can’t just not travel for the rest of my life. I couldn’t tell my relatives that I can’t visit them because I might throw up a little in the car ride there. I’m not saying to completely disregard the pain, but to acknowledge it and work around it.

Now I’m proud of myself for “getting over” my motion sickness. It gives me character and I can make nice self-deprecating jokes about it. I’ve grown to a point where I can take 8-hour bus drives and ride in a plane, a car, a train, and a boat in the span of one day. Moral of the story is: In order to push your limits, you must understand and respect your boundaries first.