May is mental health awareness month and I would like to take the opportunity to share stories, statistics, and just generally have some discussions on mental health, what it really means and how important it is. I believe the best way to start that, is me sharing my story and the reasons for this blog; Travel for mental health.
Mental health is a really significant segment of my life but this wasn’t always true. A couple of years ago I struggled with depression and I regularly had anxiety attacks. However, I was totally unaware of both. I categorised my anxiety attacks as a normal occurrence in everyone’s life who can’t do better. Like, myself. It’s my fault that I have them, and it’s my fault that I am in this situation. I am just a useless person who can’t do better and I just have to deal with that or get used to it and just move the fu*k on. I managed to hide both of these things from my closest friends, colleagues, family. I became really good at feeling horrible while being absolutely jolly when people were around. It was a rather difficult period of my life and the one thing that helped me the most, was travelling.
I had the most ridiculous, luckiest opportunity in my life and I got to travel to a country far away from Eastern Europe ( where I’m from) and I got to travel with an amazing bunch of collective weirdos from all around the world. We spent two weeks in complete bliss and ignorance, just enjoying life, talking about each other, our cultures and struggles. A group of girls from different countries, different backgrounds, different habits and completely different lives bounded together by their shared sci-fi interest, lived under the same roof for two weeks and changed each other’s life forever.
You might wanna ask me; “How did they do that?” and i can tell you, how. Just by listening to each other and excepting each other. An environment not all of us knew before. An environment where we became self-aware and a bit less apologetic about who we are. It gave me strength to come out, it gave me strength to start fighting my depression and it gave me strength to make life changing decisions.
Since this trip, I’m not questioning that often who I am, and how I should fit in to this life. I went ahead and created a life instead where I feel like I belong. It gives me the opportunity to embrace this new person, this new me. This new me, who has actually always been me, just not on the surface. I was ashamed and believed that there is something wrong with me and that I should change in order for the world to like me. Travelling helped me understand that this is not true. Travelling made me see the world, a different world with stunningly beautiful human beings all around and it gave me the strength to stand up. Travelling gave me hope.
Now, I am out of the closet, I became an activist, I am a feminist and I decided to live in another country. I am still the person who struggles with depression. I am still the person who rarely, but still can have anxiety attacks. I am still someone who is fighting every day. The difference is that I know more of who I am and what I am fighting for. I am aware of my own weaknesses, however I still don’t yet know my strength. I have still a lot to improve, but now I am on a journey. I am searching for the best way of living this life we have been given and I am aware of that and I am doing that happily. I am better.
Share more soon, be kind to yourself and others! A