Sometimes I find it hard to enjoy travelling because my depression is always there in the background. “What’s the point in going here Jenna? You’re going to die anyway so you might as well sit in your hotel room and drink.” Having suffered with mental illness for over ten years now I struggle day to day; but people expect you to be absolutely fine when on holiday. I’m “on my holidays” so I should be happy and all that jazz. This is not the case at all. I’m brilliant at feeling sad, numb and empty; I’m also excellent at over-thinking, over-worrying and creating arguments in my head about made up situations. (Maybe I should add these skills to my CV?)
Preparing before a trip really helps me with my anxiety and depression. Before I go I research where the nearest transport is, how long it takes to get to places and where to go for help etc. This all helps me stay in control – even when I’m supposed to be exploring the world freely. Looking up places to visit in the place I’m travelling to also gives me something to look forward to. My depression doesn’t always appear when I’m travelling but when it does it’s difficult to get rid of. People saying things like “cheer up” or “snap out of it” helps me with my depression in the same way that Trump is helping solve gun crime…
Not letting it ruin your travels
What I actually do is rationalise my thoughts and try my best to clear my mind. Going for a walk and talking it over with my girlfriend helps and this is what I did when I felt depressed in Thailand. How can you feel depressed in Thailand??? I know! But it’s not circumstantial – it’s a chemical imbalance in my brain.
Eventually I feel better and when I get home I’m really happy that I didn’t let my stupid depression get the better of me and ruin my travels. So if you’re suffering from a mental illness and think that you can’t enjoy travelling, you absolutely can. You just need to learn and practise some techniques and routines to not let it ruin your time exploring.
Helpful Link: My mental illness insists on joining me on holiday – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-39489898