Being a bipolar person presents a unique set of challenges when traveling.  I’ve already tackled the joys of packing. Now, let’s address boarding the aircraft.

The single most stressful time at the airport for yours truly is getting in line for the all-important ‘boarding  shuffle.’ Why? The bane of my existence: securing optimum overhead compartment space.

If I travel for business, it is a requirement of my company my laptop never be out of immediate reach or the compartment it is stowed in out of my line of sight. Over the years, along with the escalating severity of my condition, this rule has made me downright paranoid.  Not only during business travel, but securing optimal overhead space during personal travel has become an anxious nightmare as well.

I’m sure some of you are laughing by now (and rightfully so), but I’m also sure some are nodding in solemn agreement.  Bipolarity aside, over the last few years, securing the compartment immediately above your seat has become a blood sport.  Especially for those who insist on stretching to the absolute limit the allowable number and size of carry on items.  Thankfully, my Dear Husband has a frequent flier standing that allows us to pre-board, so yes, as I write this post, my articles are stowed directly above my exit row seat [score!] and within my line of sight. However, the couple with the 5 month old infant who boarded almost-too-late for the transcontinental flight?  Wow. The daggers Mom was throwing when her overhead compartment was already occupied were the stuff of which legends are made. I feel very sorry for her.  Having once been in her position, I truly do.  However, I can say with conviction that the soul crushing anxiety I feel as a bipolar person without their optimum overhead space is nothing compared to what I felt as a new Mom (many years ago) when my diaper bag had to be stowed 3 seats behind me.

Sigh. Such is life as a bipolar traveler.  Time to close the cabin doors & get this flight underway. Thank goodness I have Xanax already on board.