I don’t want to talk about mental health, because this is a blog about travel… After all who would enjoy reading someone else’s moaning? I would like this to be a positive space. Space for small experiences. Space for little adventures.
I want to talk about mental health because it is a fundamental part of my life. It is a reason why I cannot travel at the moment even if I would love to. It is a reason why I cannot do many other things. I’d like to take some of the stigma off this topic because I constantly meet people who simply don’t understand. And you can do it only by talking about it and talking and talking and talking… Or in my case writing.
Psychological problems have accompanied me all my life. Since birth, I have suffered from anxiety even if I didn’t know at that time what anxiety was. Twice I was hospitalized long-term with psychiatric problems before I reached the majority. At the moment my doctor has recommended me for a disability pension. All the while you cannot see this. From the outside, I look normal, if I am not just collapsing. The inside is a completely different story.
Anxiety, depression, eating disorder, social phobia… Currently, I was also diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD. I feel as if I have been playing a diagnosis bingo all my life. At least the suspicion of schizophrenia proved wrong.
Why am I writing this?
I wish people realized that those they are meeting, in person or like this, virtually, can have problems like these. I don’t want pity. Please, not that! I only want people to understand that these things exist. Even if they are often invisible. I wish people knew what they mean. I wish you to know that we live amongst you.
I would like to be myself, be accepted by those around me as I am. I want to be in the eyes of others an equal human being. Without fear from critique and reproof. Without fear of strange looks. Without fear that people will judge me for something I am not responsible for and never have been. For something I have never asked for and what I fight every day as best as I can. Every day again.
Every day again finding hope. Every day finding strength for optimism and a smile. At least a little bit. At least enough for survival. At least till tomorrow. And then again.
I don’t want pity, but often I need tolerance and understanding. I cannot do everything like the others. I cannot manage all situations and activities like the others. And the worst you can hear in such a moment is:
“Aren’t you a bit too sensitive?”
“You are just lazy, you need to get off your arse and out of the house.”
“You just need to get on with it.”
“Have you tried yet… (fill in any ‘miraculous’ method)?”
“You should do something about it…”
Friends, believe me. I do everything I can. Therapies, meditations, medications, walks, yoga, mental exercises… Name it and I have probably tried it. What many people don’t understand is that there are no miraculous solutions and that work with mental health is a long-distance run. Years. Things cannot be solved immediately; you need to have a lot of patience. And even then it is not guaranteed.
And another thing – people with mental health problems have to expend manifold more energy on everyday living than healthy people, while they often achieve only a fraction of what the healthy people manage. Many things are not possible. Things don’t work as you would like them to. Or even like you need them to. With many things, you hit an invisible wall.
It is not fair. But life simply is not fair. Nobody asks for health problems. You just get them whether you like it or not. And then you have to deal with them some way. What hurts a lot is that your illness is invisible and people around you knock you down with their incomprehension.
And that is the reason why I want to talk about it. Not all the time. Just sometimes. If I want to write about my travels, I cannot avoid this topic anyway. All these psycho-beasts always travel with me. Whether I want it or not.
Often, even normal life is a problem for me. Just now I am in one of these periods. It is taking years. It is a long-distance run. Sometimes it is difficult to manage everyday necessities. Despite that, I would like to do more. I want to travel. I want to go places I haven’t visited yet. And I would like to write stories about it.
That’s why I am here.
Sometimes, though, I will also tell pieces of stories from the country of mental health problems, a country unknown to many people. Travel log from a country called mental illness. Try to see it as another story of a visit to a place you haven’t been to. Widen your horizons, that’s what people travel for, isn’t it? To learn something outside their normal pattern. So I want to show one place like that. Even if it is a place you probably don’t want to visit and I hope you never do.
So – to the journeys. Both inner and outer ones.
Well done and expressed. This kind of journey for sure is not easy, but with tenacity and patience you will make it through.
Thank you 🙂
Thank you for sharing this with us. I experienced panic attacks as a child without knowing that was a thing. It disappeared for quite some time in my pre-teen years and came back in my thirties or so. Now, at forty-one, I’m SO grateful for the progress that I’ve made in my mental health! But as you said—not overnight. =) It’s so true that if someone hasn’t experienced these types of things, it’s hard for them to have empathy about it. I love that you are motivated to see the world—what amazing places you’ve been so far and I love that you are showing others what is possible!