How travelling can affect anxiety..

*** This is at no point meant to be an “attention – seeker”. This is of therapeutic value! ***

If I can reach out to someone, even if it’s just one person, the reason for making this public is fulfilled!

Hey everyone,

This is an extremely different post from what you’re used to, but since I’m experiencing pretty high levels of anxiety at the moment, I thought this might be both, therapeutic for me and a support to others going through the same, knowing they’re not alone!

Before I started my travels I’ve been an emotional mess! I was very unsatisfied and more depressed than anxious. However, there were situations over and over again that gave me a feeling of anxiety. Going out into a public place was like hell, my home was my “safety spot”, changes freaked me out, I kept overthinking and got irritated really easily. If someone was mad with me, it wouldn’t get out of my mind for an extremely long period, making me feel highly unconfident. I barely had any friends, mainly, because people, who don’t go through similar things don’t understand, why I sometimes just needed to be alone or why I never went out to party with others or to meet up with friends. Life just got very hard for me. At some point, the feeling of depression got so bad, that I decided to make the scariest and best decision of my life: I started my travels! This was the hardest step I could ever make and trust me, it felt like I just made the decision to die. I already explained in one of my other blog posts, why I chose to travel. Read it here, if you’ve missed it:

https://can-will-did.blog/2017/07/28/think-about-it/
This was the only reason that kept me going! Like in trance, I wanted to finish what I started. Yes, in the beginning I honestly saw this more as a challenge, that needed to be passed, than as a life changing experience!

Everything was pretty scary in the beginning and I only had little money. Thus, I made the decision to find a job as an aupair. Mainly, because it gave me a lot of security being in one place for a longer time! Unfortunately, the job gave me a hard time and I had the feeling of being a disappointment to my employer, who was clearly unhappy with me too. Things just didn’t work out, bringing the depression back into the foreground! I thought of my mom a lot, couldn’t deal with the change of not being able to see her ever again and I easily got irritated, giving my friends and family back home a tough time, too. During those months, I isolated myself from all my friends and family completely, feeling like no one would understand what I was going through.. This resulted in me feeling really lonely..

Nevertheless, to get out of this hell, I made the next big step in my life. I quit the job. You might think, it is not much of a big deal, but to me, overcoming my fears in that exact moment and actually doing something to make me feel better for the first time, gave me a great little confidence boost!

Things went uphill, until I ended up being stuck in one place again. I was staying in a working hostel for 5 months straight!! I went through hell and back. Being constantly surrounded by people, NEVER having any privacy just took that security spot away from me. I tried to avoid people as much as I could, spending every single minute that I was not at work in my room.

After a while, I ended up meeting some amazing people, who supported me a lot, giving me a little of that security back, that I urgently needed! I started to spend time with them and it helped to boost my confidence again, with minor fallbacks every now and then.

It hit me pretty hard, when all of my friends suddenly left. All of them at the same time. The security was gone again. New people came, but I didn’t really manage to make new friends, since the sudden loss of all my friends made me feel lonely again, triggering pretty bad depression and anxiety. I didn’t leave my bed; only for work. And I even locked myself in the bathroom, just to get some time away from all these people around. All these people that I don’t know and that are not like me at all. A lot of partying was going on. My absolute nightmare. People probably thought I was the most boring and weirdest person on earth, never ever taking part in any of these parties …

However, it felt like a massive relieve,when I finally finished my compulsory second – year – farmwork and I could move on. I bought my first ever car and was actually quite excited for the unexpected, since it would mean that I could leave this hell.

Owning a car and living in a car meant, that I had my own safety spot again. It made it possible to have alone – time whenever I needed it.

I got to meet amazing people during the following part of my travels, making it possible for me to cheer up again! I felt free, I had people around me that I could talk to and it was just a massive adrenaline rush to finally do something, I never thought I would be able to do: travelling on my own!

The most influential person I met, was also the person that triggered a massive change in my way of thinking. He was not living after “what if”, but “ah well” and “can, will, did” is his motto. He just does what other people told him he can’t do, nothing can stop him. I found that pretty inspirational and soon decided to give it a go! I wanted to have his view on life! “Can-will-did” soon turned into my motto too! I would not only prove others wrong, but also myself!! I had another major confidence boost and it was a massive change in life, but this time, a change was okay with me. This person managed to convince my troubled mind, that I could do anything! This is also the story behind my blog title, by the way 😉

I had another massive fallback, when I ended up being stuck in one place for the third time, having too much time to think and not much distraction. The whole place was not a good influence on my mood either and soon things happened that made me struggle not only mentally, but also financially!But I got a lot of support from those amazing people that I met and I got through it all!

As soon as my time in Australia came to an end, I decided to write my own bucket list, since it is like a therapy to me, to accomplish the things that scare me the most. Step by step!

I flew to New Zealand and had to start all over again. My biggest fear was another major fallback, because I would lose all sorts of security: no car, no friends, no alone-time. But I bought a car as soon as I could and could thereby prevent any further anxiety – attacks. The urge to see the world was a lot stronger than my anxiety anyway!

I soon started to set up my own motto and project: “Dare yourself – Prove them wrong”. Check it out here:

https://can-will-did.blog/dare-yourself-prove-them-wrong/
This is my way of helping others use the exact same method to overcome emotional struggles, that I used. Even if it’s only one person that comes back to me. I want to help, because it helped me!

Currently, I got pretty bad levels of anxiety again. I’ve got a pretty horrific fear of death (which I assume got triggered through the death of my mom), I’ve got extremely bad physical issues (muscle tensions, stiff neck, headache, fatigue) and little things and situations turn into a pretty big deal to me. I’m pretty disappointed in myself again, running away from my fears instead of facing them.

I will be alright again soon. It’s just another phase that I’m going through right now.

Don’t get me wrong: I have the time of my life travelling and I wouldn’t wanna swap with anyone! I’m a lot happier and a LOT more confident!! Step by step I’m getting there! This is just the “behind the scenes” basically. My anxiety relapse. The “me”, that no one gets to see.

I’ve experienced a major improvement over the years and I’m proud of myself. I hope that this might help people, who are going through similar things. Maybe it helps to realize, that they are not alone and that it DOES get better! With my little project, I’m here to help.

This blog post definitely helped me to feel better.

Please don’t judge me! This took a lot of courage!

Dani

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4 thoughts on “How travelling can affect anxiety..”

  1. I completely relate to this, I was in a similar place a couple of years ago and decided to just leave and explore for a few months.. it started off great and then I started to get very anxious and lonely and ended up staying in my bed all day – rather than exploring the beauty of Thailand. I came home and was happy and proud of myself that i had done it, but also felt like I had failed myself. I’ve just finished my degree and feel i’m slipping back into a dark place but i’m planning another trip for earlier next year, a longer one this time – it’s scary but it also feels like an escape and a light at the end of the tunnel. Fingers crossed everything works out alright.
    Thanks for sharing all of this though, it’s so brave of you and a massive step but an important one! I hope the rest of your travels are a good amount of challenging and no matter what – that you feel proud of the amazing things you’ve done and the risks you’ve taken. So inspiring, taking it day by day.
    I hope the rest of your time in this beautiful country (i’m lucky to call home) is special for you!
    All the best!

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear, that you had to go through similar things. But hey, even if it’s just a tiny step you have taken, leaving for Thailand, it’s still an important step! You have taken the action to do something about your situation! That’s what counts!
      And now you’ve got the chance to prove everyone, including yourself wrong, by going on this next big trip! You’re literally living my motto “Dare Yourself – prove them wrong!”. It helped me and I hope it helps you, too. No matter what happens: It’s never a failure, if you’ve managed to overcome your own concerns and fears! X

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  2. Hi,

    Like you I also have a history of depression and anxiety and I am also travelling. It hurts me to hear that people are also struggling and I just want to give you a big cuddle!! Anyway, the reason for this post is to give some advice that might help and that is self-compassion. I can empathise that when you are on the downward spiral from a negative event or similar, all you can see and feel is pain, and that in turn affects our perception of and how we relate to the world. But being hurt is the most human feeling in the world, and it is Ok for you to feel whatever you need to feel. There are so many dimensions to self-compassion, too many for me to say here, so I recommend a book called self compassion written by Kristen neff who is the pioneer of the idea. I am reading it, and believe me it is an eye opener, and I feel more emotionally free than I have ever before, in turn improving my self belief. You have done amazing and courageous things, so be kind to yourself, you deserve it 😘

    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.js

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