I’ve always maintained my blog, and any posts I write about travelling will be the real deal. No glossing over the struggles, no “Oh my god my life is perfect” – THIS is how it really is to travel with Depression and Anxiety.
I’ve suffered from Depression and Anxiety since around three years ago; it’s weird at first because you don’t recognize the signs and – being a man – my attitude is to never go to the doctors unless my limbs are falling off – and even then someone still has to drag me down (bandaids fix everything right?).
For anyone that has never suffered from anxiety, let me tell you a story of what happened the other week while out at a bar with my best friend. I was out with George and his girlfriend Emily; for some reason Emily was trying to “wingman” me, but it wasn’t going very well. Then this girl started talking to me, bear in mind MOST of my friends are women and I’m far more confident with women than I am with men – in fact, one of my friends, Sarah, describes me as the biggest Queen she’s ever met! Anyway, all of a sudden, in the middle of a QUIET bar, a panic attack sets in. I can’t breathe, I feel incredibly hot and claustrophobic. I HAVE to get out and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I mucked up a conversation with the first woman to have shown an interest since me and my ex split up!
Back to the point of this article, if anxiety makes you incapable of making eye contact in a bar, how on earth do you travel? This is going to sound so hypocritical, I really need to start living by my own advice. BUT when you don’t think about it and just jump in, you don’t have time for the panic attacks to kick in. Live for the moment; ironically it’s this piece of advice from my ex that helped pull me out of the pit I got into a while ago.
You’ll have your good days when you’re on top of the world and want to go skydiving with everyone you’ve ever met, before hitting the karaoke bars and painting the town. Then, there will be the other days. You’ll sit in a corner with your hoodie over your head, with a look on your face that says you’ll straight up bite someone’s head off if they speak to you. If you have one of those days, take some time to go out for a walk. Find something beautiful – it could be anything from the waves crashing along the shoreline, it could be a stray dog that comes over to say hello. Use this to ground yourself – take a seat, look at whatever it is and just breathe; in for 4 seconds through the nose, hold for 2 seconds and breathe out for 4 seconds. When my Doctor told me this, I thought he was mad but it helps!
Always remember, you’re part of a bigger community. Personally, as I’ve been through it, I’m always happy to speak to someone if they’re struggling. If any of you want any advice, or to just rant about something (which is INCREDIBLY useful) don’t be scared to reach out.
Look after yourselves.