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Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Lisbon, Portugal
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Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

I will be in Paris, second time, from April 15 to April 22. I speak French and I regularly watch their media. Crime committed by so-called Eastern European mafias is on the news every other day. That's how the French media describes them and are not my words. Now, I'll be traveling with my 16 year old niece and I'm getting very anxious about what might happen. I am a very anxious person and I suffer from panic disorder. I am wondering whether I cancel the trip or not. On the one hand I want to go because I like to travel and I liked Paris, but on the other hand security concerns are making me feel very nervous. I'm afraid Paris is becoming a sort of Rio de Janeiro. I feel 100% safe even at night in Manhattan whereas in Paris I feel insecure even at broad daylight in jardin des Tuileries. So, if you were me, would you go and face your fears or would you cancel the trip?

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Of course you should go !!! There are threats of violence or terrorism in EVERY country!!

Last winter I had planned a trip for my son and I to visit Boston during June of 2013. As you know, in late April of 2013 The Boston Marathon was the target of a horrific terrorist attack . Lives were lost, limbs were lost..it put fear in the heart of nearly every American. You know what I didn't do, I didn't allow it prevent my son and I from living our lives. Just six weeks after the Boston bombing, my son and I walked along the street that was terrorized that day. And I was glad as hell that I didn't let fear rule over our dream of visiting Boston.

My friend, you are more likely to die in a car accident any given day than you are to die from an act of violence. But are you going to give up driving ? There is pollution in the air that could cause life threatening diseases, are you going to stop breathing?

LIVE YOUR LIFE....it's the only one you will get here on earth.

BTW...I'm going to Paris at the end of the month....solo...for my first visit !!! I'm over-the-top excited !!

Saratoga Springs, NY
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2. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

I live in New York state and can say I feel far, far, far safer in Paris.

The crime in Paris is mostly petty crime like pickpocketing.

Paoli, Pennsylvania
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3. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

You are perfectly safe there, especially in central Paris. Watch for pickpockets, don't flash your iphone around and don't walk around after around 10pm and you have nothing to worry about. Even with a 16 year old. Don't worry.

Montreal
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4. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

are you on medication and does it help? then you should be fine, no worse than in Manhattan

California
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5. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Ricardo, I just got home from a few weeks in Paris, and have never felt safer. This was my 20th+something visit and I didn't notice anything untoward at all--didn't even see the petition girls this time. I think the media over-hypes this kind of thing. We visited during the "riots" and didn't notice anything to cause alarm; during plenty of strikes; and after reading lots of pickpocketing hype on this forum that makes me wonder if things are actually getting worse...and you know what? When we get there everything is fine and seems just the same as always. Things like this reported in the media are usually nothing that the average tourist would pick up on or have any cause to be threatened by.

Montreal
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6. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

since panic disorder is a medical condition, usual advice may not apply

Seal Beach...
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7. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Just a question, Ricardo. I don't believe there is anything in particular in Paris to be anxious about. But if you have this disorder, and should have a panic attack for whatever reason, is your niece prepared to deal with it?

Sandy

Victoria, Canada
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8. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Well I can't address the aspect of having panic attacks,, but I can assure you many of us travel there with our children.. and alone.. and feel perfectly safe.

Do see your doctor regarding medications. Its not ok to feel afraid and anxious in a public park in broad daylight.. I know you can't help it.. but there are things that may help.

Please don't cancel because of real fear of dangers.. but if you feel mentally unable to deal with the trip at this time then perhaps its better to cancel so that your neice is not upset by your anxiety. Good luck wish you the best.

los angeles
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9. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

ricardo d, I'm sorry to hear about your panic disorder. I can completely empathize because we have this in our family too, and it can be hard.

If you've had any treatment at all to address your issue, you know that your panic has very little to do with "reality." Your anxiety has manifested itself in an exaggerated fear of Paris and the presence of European Mafia, and the panic disorder causes an actual physical reaction. (Whatever that is for you--heart racing, sweating, limb tingling). The physical reaction makes your fear seem more "real" and grounded in reality. It doesn't matter that we can "prove" to you that it is not the case that Paris is a dangerous place. That's why this is a "disorder." It's not a "rational" worry, as in evaluating the safety or desirability of a certain destination, or worrying about money matters or the problems we all encounter and worry over. 'm sure you have those types of worries, too, so you know the difference.

Again, if you have had any treatment, you know that you need "exposures" to things that panic you. That is the number one form of CBT. So, from a therapeutic point of view, you should not cancel your trip.

If you haven't done so, I would seek a good therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Anxiety Disorders.

You will find that after treatment, this disorder won't be as limiting. You'll still have to deal with it--no magic cure--but you will have a routine to practice. One of the first things you'll learn is to recognize the disorder and to know when you are having "normal" anxiety over a real issue, or whether your disorder is kicking in.

If you are untreated and in the midst of a spike of anxious behavior, then talk to a therapist before you travel. He or she may decide that you need to get some good skills under your belt before biting off a "big" exposure like this one.

I agree with the above assessments of the safety of Paris. Your niece will be safe, save some freak thing. (And we all know there can be freak things--but the person with anxiety disorder fears the .005% chance.) But I also know that a true anxiety disorder can't be alleviated with good advice about how your fears are ungrounded.

Good luck--you can do this, even if it takes time. It's worth devoting yourself to your improvement. Wishing you all the best.

Victoria, Canada
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10. Re: Paris this month: should I cancel it or not?

Great post mckal !