My final day

Wow it’s time to come home already. Where has the time gone?

I’m so proud of myself. All the anxiety about leaving and the panic I suffered so badly at the beginning of my journey, especially in the Maldives, feels like only yesterday and yet I have come so far since then.

It makes me laugh that I am actually getting anxiety at the thought of going home purely because I’ve become so used to doing or seeing something new each day that the thought of being in a place like Teddington makes me worry. I mean, what the hell am I going to do everyday?! And when I get home and lie on my bed I’ll think, “Shit, it’s really done. I can’t believe it’s all over.” Now my travels will be just a dream.

(See my memory slide show at the bottom of the post..)

Having said that I am really really looking forward to seeing my family, my boyfriend, my friends and my guinea pigs. There’s a lot for me to do when I’m home but there are a few things in particular that I want to do for myself when I’m back to reality:

1. Undertake EDMR therapy. I was actually contacted by a therapist who had read my blog on therapy and approached me recommending “Eye movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy”, this website explains it better than I can: http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/anxiety/emdr-therapy.htm. I’m interested in this therapy because I have persistent problems with triggers (my list of which has been getting longer and more varied) which cause anxiety, panic, derealisation and nightmares. No therapy is ever easy and this type will be particularly tough for me mentally and emotionally because I’ll have to relive a lot of my trauma to reprocess it but I’m willing to give it my all if it will benefit me in the long run.

2. Keep up my fitness. Taking care of my physical wellbeing is brilliant when it comes to dealing with PTSD, it was especially effective in the first year of having the illness so I used to work out a lot whether by cycling to and from college, walking long distances when I panicked and taking numerous fitness classes such as spinning and weight training. Doing exercise takes concentration whether on your breathing, on a fitness instructor or on your own movements, there is barely any space to do anything but focus on the present which is exactly what I need to counteract derealisation and anxiety. I’ve done a lot of physical activities on my travels which has really helped me grow stronger physically and mentally so I’m aiming to keep it up.

3. Find a job which allows me to look after myself. I’ve come to the realisation that I need to put my mental health first. The culture of any company will be extremely important to me, so if that means taking longer to make sure they really care for their staff then so be it. If it also means things like working shorter hours than I had before, or living closer to work so I can fit in exercise and therapy (when I need it) into my week then that’s what I’ll do. Finding a job which I can take genuine pride and pleasure in will also help make being stressed more rewarding, I think I would like to work with a mental health charity some day.

4. Continue my blog and write with other mental illness sufferers. Many people have mental health issues but not one of their stories are the same so I would really be delighted if I could collaborate with someone to share their story as a co-writer or anonymously. Writing about my illness has helped me to grow so much as a person so I would love to share that experience with others.

My mental health comes first. I know that now and I will work hard to achieve a good balance between improving myself, doing well in a job and keeping fit. Lord knows how I’m going to manage that, it’s easier said than done I’m sure!

A lot to look forward to! I will definitely be continuing my blog once I’m home to keep you all updated with how I’m progressing and I will be writing more about different aspects of mental illness to continue to raise awareness and to end the negative stigma associated with it.

My goal for my travels was to prove that anyone can achieve any dream in their life. My dream was to travel despite having a mental illness and I have succeeded. Realising this is making me cry with happiness.

I can’t really summarise my whole journey into words so I’ve done something super hi-tech and made a picture slideshow! Have a flick through:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Opening up

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3 Comments »

  1. Hi Anna I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog. Really well done you have come such a long way and you are an inspiration! good luck with the next stage – don’t rush into anything. Lots of love Marian

    Liked by 1 person

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