So for those that aren’t aware, earlier this year my boyfriend and I temporarily quit our jobs and went on an adventure travelling around USA. We had saved for over a year, gave up going out, buying nice things. Basically stopped the luxuries that a twenty-four year old usually has because we wanted to go away for three months and we needed as much money as possible to do it. Let me tell you – we are so glad we did it.
So I am currently in America, we’ve been in the states for just over two weeks now, visiting New York, Washington, Philadelphia and now North Carolina. The sights I have seen have blown me away and if you want to follow our adventure the images will be on my Instagram page. Now here’s the part where this trip becomes special – I suffer with both anxiety and depression both of which can be really severe and I’ve overcome a lot to be here.
A trip like this sounds like heaven, and in reality basically feels like heaven too. Although anybody that sufferers with anxiety or depression with know the last thing you want to do is travel, in busy environments, out of your comfort zone, forced to meet new people and thousands of miles away from your family or doctor. Add distress intolerance into the mix and dealing with your emotions can become really difficult and so I was hit with a mixture of excitement and fear when we decided to do this trip.
Since being a little girl I’d always dreamed of going to New York, always wanted to go to the big apple with the sights, sounds and most importantly shows but everything sounds great when its theoretical. When it becomes concrete plans that’s when the anxiety hits. I do however have a point and this is it – I’m here and I’m loving it.
I conquered these fears, I went along with the change and uncertainty despite them being the two things that set my anxiety soaring. I put total trust and faith into my boyfriend who then surprised me by asking me to marry him!! So here’s special point number two, despite my head telling me I can’t go to America because I’m not strong enough or that I may get poorly and be too much for James – we went.
Despite fears that my illness will ruin my relationship it made us stronger. Instead of him running for the hills, he committed to life time of me! I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to get married or to travel and look at me doing both! Do not let your illness take away the happiest times of your life, despite how much you have to battle your thoughts. Yes, it may be easier said than done but your illness is not all you are, its a small part of you and you have so much more to give.
Take tiny steps into defying those negative thoughts, when you feel you cannot leave your room because of your low mood or terrifying thoughts try to go and brush your teeth or get a drink. Small actions make a huge difference and as cheesy as it sounds sometimes the saying ‘fake it till you make it’ really can work. I didn’t feel confident enough to leave my job or go away from my mum at first, but I tried to act like I was strong enough and here I am. I didn’t really believe in myself but I had the strength all along.
In saying this, I know better than anyone that we have our limits and sometimes we can’t do much at all – allow yourself to rest if you need it. To cry if you need it or laugh if you need to. Just allow yourself to talk to those who love you, to allow yourself happiness where you can take it.
My thoughts told me I was weak and unlovable and that clearly wasn’t true. I have another two months of adventure left and I’m sure I’ll have bad days along the way but that’s a part of the adventure. Yes I miss my family but ill be a stronger person when I return home and we’ll have so much celebrating to do. Life is one big adventure and I’ll be dammed if I let my illness hinder my entire existence. My message to anyone that relates to this is that you should allow yourself bad days of course, but do not let your illness steal your good days.
ps. Thank you James for the adventure and for our future together as Mr. and Mrs. – a dream come true after all we’ve been through. Proof everyone deserves happiness and for now I’m feeling on top of the world.