Many people love to travel. They love the adrenalin that travel brings them, the new places and people they will discover and how travel can literally and figuratively push their boundaries. And then I haven’t yet spoken about the food of that country (if you happen to be a foodie). All of this – and much more, makes people travel their favorite hobby. I belong to the majority, and so I love everything that has to do with traveling. Only I have to think at every step whether it is the right one, I have to be able to get myself back up when I am anxiously in a hotel room and I must be able to see the positive when I want to go back home. That is traveling with a psychological problem very well summarized.
Yes; I think that traveling helps me
When I am at home with red eyes, a scared heart and questions that even the book “1 question per day” can not beat, it seems to be the best solution to travel. I think travel offers the right answer to every question. Although I know that traveling can not and will not fully help me with my mental disorder. In any case, it can bring me a lot of positive feelings and the realization that no matter how hard this life is, there are still good moments.
This is how I think in most cases before the journey begins. With my red eyes because I cry so much, I search for the best places to travel. When my preference falls on a country and I have thoroughly investigated everything first, I decide to book the trip with an even more frightened heart. Call me dependent or not, but I never do this without first asking advice from others. My parents, my sisters and sometimes friends; they offer me advice on whether or not to travel. I strongly influence this, and sometimes it can also be that I blow off a whole journey for those people.
When I leave for a trip
In exceptional cases I travel with or without someone. I try to plan everything as detailed as possible, because that is how I feel safe. Traveling with a mental disorder is particularly difficult. So I’d rather be prepared for everything than nothing. The days just before my trip I start questioning everything: Did I got through things well? Do I think of others? Do I escape from reality? All questions that I can imagine are jumping around in my head, like mushrooms that come out of the ground.
When I travel, I feel different. Not the “depressive Sanne” that everyone is used to. I feel happier, stronger and more energetic. When I step into an airport, it feels like coming home. It feels like I can breathe again when I can discover a new place. It just works well.
How traveling makes me feel really
But then, when I come to rest for a while (maybe five seconds), I feel the bad feeling returning again. If I sit down for exactly two seconds, I think of all the negative in my life again. And that is difficult. Traveling becomes difficult, because you can not travel 24/7 without resting for a while. That isn’t possible and that will be impossible forever. I take medication, but nothing can protect me from my own thoughts. Nothing.
So I get back up my feet again, I am fully discovering, stepping as far as I can and laughing with everything that makes me feel happy or safe. And then again I feel the happiest person on this planet. Like everything, the positive also has a negative side. By exhausting myself, I feel the tiredness coming up. And that scares me. After all, I want to experience everything, and I don’t want to miss anything. That isn’t the main reason why I want to stay awake: whoever sleeps can not protect his own.
Yet I fall asleep (I belong to the minority that can sleep even though I have depressive feelings, fears and suicidal thoughts) and wake up again with a fresh head: ready to discover something new. The longer I travel, the better I feel at the end. It’s a kind of process. First you feel miserable and as soon as you have mastered traveling, it is so addictive that you want to do it for the rest of your time.
Traveling with a mental disorder
It is a contradiction, traveling. On the one hand, I want to do it 24/7 because it makes me extremely happy. On the other hand, I realize that it can also make me exhausted. And then I have not spoken about that feeling when I return home after a trip. That irritating, even more depressed feeling than depression in general. That feeling that what you have overcome on your journey, that this is ebbing away again. All that you have fought for so hard, is now quietly wiping away.
Traveling with a mental disorder is extremely difficult. But fortunately for those who want to travel with a mental disorder it’s not impossible. Everything is possible as soon as you start believing in it. And I believe that traveling with a mental disorder can alleviate this irritating burden. Unfortunately, traveling can not take away everything, but it can have negative feelings replaced by positive ones. I think that this is a goal worth going for.
Sanne Grieten is the travel blogger of Mostly Abroad. Just like any travel blogger, she loves to travel and discover new places. In addition, she also fights every day with her mental health. To end the stigma, she also writes about this regularly.