(The following series of Tenerife posts were written during our November 2021 stay there. It was an endeavor during which I could take nothing for granted – especially my mental health.)
The air here really smells the same as before.
We are again on the Canary Islands, in the land of eternal spring. And it looks as if nothing has changed. The sea is humming, the sun is shining, everything is interesting and new and inspiring…
Even though originally it was only a dream.
Last winter was so awful that I decided that I would never again endure it. Winter depression and anxiety left me rolled up into a ball, screaming with inner pain. Every minute was un-survivable.
I decided then that it was the last winter I would spend in Czechia. At that time I believed that it was only wishful thinking. Something I wish for but cannot have because of my mental health.
It all looked like a crazy plan. I spent the summer fighting with my demons, so they allowed me to spend at least a few days in our summer house – in an environment which I know a bit even it is fairly new. Because of that, my travel self-confidence was at zero. When I could not manage this, how could I travel somewhere for real?
During Covid I was so low that I decided: I am going whatever the price.
It was all crazy. At the beginning of the summer, we reserved an apartment for nearly all of November. Of course with a possibility to cancel it for free, if going was not possible. At the end of the summer, we bought plane tickets, of course with the possibility of either changing the dates or canceling. All the time I was telling myself it won’t be possible. I was certain about it. I thought about it every waking minute – I want to go, I must go and at the same time I could not believe I would be able to go.
Once upon a time, we had already tried to break through my mental problems, a few years ago with a January journey to Malaga. I will only say it was not good and that is an understatement.
Before Covid, I managed a few days in Dresden and I was happy as a clam – till thanks to the insane situation my mental health fell apart again like a badly built house of cards.
In September we finally set off on a test trip to Český Krumlov. Those few days were the first and last test before the month-long Canary anabasis, which was supposed to be the longest journey we have ever gone on in maybe the worst condition I have ever traveled.
We went to Krumlov. And do you know what? It was absolutely amazing. The first night was a bit difficult, but I really enjoyed the whole Český Krumlov experience. So much so that I surprised myself. So much so that the trip to the Canary Islands suddenly changed from something which constantly haunted me to something that will happen. I gained confidence that I could manage. I could hardly believe it!
And suddenly it was happening.
The flight was difficult, the plane was full, everywhere masses of people. With my social phobia, I felt claustrophobic in that small tin crammed with lots of other human beings. Somehow I managed – and then we were finally there!
The accommodation worried me the most. When I recently received my diagnosis of autism I understood why I fight so much with new places, especially whemń my mental health is low. I accepted that it is something I have to deal with. So we chose the best accommodation we could find because that always helps me, and hoped for the best.
And the best happened. I am here and so far I am fine. I might be so tired after short trips that I fall asleep at supper with my head in my plate but I am here.
I don’t want to count my chickens as they have not yet hatched. We’ll see if I can manage over time. At the very beginning, I found that I have to take it much easier than I thought. Before the journey, I researched many destinations and planned lots of trips. Now I have to make peace with the fact that that is not realistic. Today we decided that each of us would pick two things we are most interested in and we go there, leaving the rest to chance. In this kind of situation, it’s best not to place big expectations on yourself.
Deep in my heart I still hope that it will be fine and I will experience everything I want to experience. But mostly I think that I have to learn to come to terms with things as they are. Including my condition. Especially my condition. I will be thankful if I can endure the whole stay and feel at least a little great. Because that is much more than what I originally hoped for.
Taking it easy is in fact not very easy for me – when I am in a new place I want to visit completely everywhere and see totally everything. But life has the knack to teach us things that are hard.
Meanwhile, I am so, so happy that I am here. That I managed it despite all the problems. That is a reason for great joy. We are truly here! 🙂
If you like what you read, consider buying me a cup of tea! ☕ I always appreciate a cup of hot tea – it goes well with writing 🙂