Like every other millennial who has finished uni and doesn’t want to face the real world and get a job, I thought about going travelling. I have always wanted to travel, to Australia in particular. But since I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I’ve felt like it has been an impossible dream. Every time I would consider going or start looking into flights, my demons inside would shoot me down and tell me I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I am determined to at least try and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t meant to be. But I’m aiming to help others who also might feel they can’t follow their dreams because they’ve been diagnosed with a Mental Illness.
With my Sertraline allowing me to be more constant with my moods and the ending of my masters course I just decided one day to go into STA travel and enquire about going. I’m the kind of person where once I’ve got an idea in my head, it’s hard to let it go and on this particular day I thought back to the person I was before my mental illness and thought ‘I wouldn’t let anything stop me going travelling’… so why should I now?
My trip starts out with a month in Fiji and then onto Sydney where my working visa starts. I had to do a medical before being accepted for a visa which will be explained more in another post. Everything was coming together and I actually enjoyed the times where I could sit and plan my journey.
I have only planned a week in Sydney and the rest I will plan when I get there,. Now those with anxiety are probably like ‘id have to have everything planned down to the day’ where actually for me, I would feel more anxious if I had made a structured plan and for some reason was not able to stick to it. For example if something happened and I wasn’t able to make it to that specific hostel that I had planned, my anxiety would be more concerned that my plans weren’t going to the structured timetable. Also being more flexible means that I can change plans if I need too, if I meet a group of people – I could go where they are going or if I really like a place, I could stay for more days. Don’t get me wrong the flights, transfers and airport pick ups had to be booked and structured down to a tee, otherwise my panic would set it, but once I’m at the first hostel I’m fully flexible! I guess this is down to my own anxiety needs.
So the main thing here is that I’m going on a solo adventure (much to my mothers dismay) but I felt that I couldn’t keep relying on other people and at this stage of my life, my friends had other commitments and I felt like for once, in a very long time, I wanted to be in control of what I do and when. I feel ready to get back to how I used to be where I did what I wanted to do. The only way to do this is to go alone.
I was once a very independent person and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest being on my own or meeting new people. But now my anxiety is constantly in my head making me overthink every single thing. But this is another reason why I’ve chosen to go alone. All because I’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, this will not stop me from wanting to achieve things I’ve always wanted to do. Yes, it is going to be hard, very hard on some days, especially when depression tries to tell you ‘no one likes you’ or ‘those people don’t want to speak to you’ but I feel like this is something I need to overcome and prove to myself that it is okay to be alone sometimes.
An aim I have given myself as part of my self-care whilst I’m travelling is to accept that being alone is okay. To start to appreciate my alone time and realise that not everything in life can be done with somebody else. I have found recently that I have had to fill my spare time otherwise I would sit and overthink and get sad, meaning I cant relax or just have some time doing nothing. But as I’m going to be so busy doing lots of new things and be around lots of people constantly, I will need to have time away from people. This isn’t going to be the easiest thing for me because I’ve never had to be alone. I’ve always had my friends, my sisters and family around me and I’ve always chose to be with somebody else over being on my own. So we will see how this one goes.
I found that once I’d booked my travelling adventure, that any anxieties I had were answered by other travellers. I realised even people that don’t have a diagnosis of anxiety, naturally have similar worries and feelings that I could relate too. This is what I want my blog to become. I want it to not just record my travels and give the best places to go see, but also to give guidance to other people that like me, felt my mental health was a barrier to my travelling dreams. I want to be able to give my own tips on things that are helping me whilst being away. The mental health community is by far the most supportive group of people I’ve ever met and I want to work alongside them to show people that having a mental health diagnosis does not mean you cannot follow your dreams and have amazing experiences like everybody else. You might just need a little more help on the way.