Travelling improved my Instagram and my mental health

Fern Urquhart
Feb 22, 2017 · 4 min read

6 months of letting go of what people think, letting go of perfection, fear, need for certainty, comparison, self-doubt and “supposed to”.

A crash course in “I am enough”. Constant emotional exposure.

Allowing myself to be imperfect and being so totally ok with it.

It’s time to get honest, to be vulnerable.

After getting ill with an Autoimmune disease, it took all my mental strength to stay positive. I cried myself to sleep. I said I was fine, even though I wasn’t even close. I despised my medication, how it was changing my body despite how much it was healing me. I cried when I saw myself in the mirror, that’s if I even looked in the mirror. I hated my body and how I looked. I made excuses and cancelled plans. I smiled while I lay in a hospital beds, despite wanting to be anywhere but there. I hated the fact I had this disease. I cried as I walked home from university in Glasgow because I couldn’t speak. I was frustrated. I was yearning for a cure, yearning for my health.

I was quite clearly physically unwell — diagnosed, Myasthenia Gravis — but it’s clear now, I was struggling mentally too — undiagnosed. (Hold up, that is the first time I have ever written those words. Ever. Vulnerability sounds like truth, feels like courage, right?!).

Brené Brown so perfectly says, Masks make us feel safe even when they become suffocating and armour makes us feel strong even when we grow weary from dragging the extra weight around” and oh boy did I feel safe behind my masks and while wearing my armour.

But now mask-less and armour-less as I sit in Sydney, I’m exposed, vulnerable, open to attack but never have I felt more safe and so full of courage. Living a life full of freedom and opportunity because I am enough.

Since leaving the UK on the 1st of August 2016, I’ve learnt that;

There is no “supposed to’s” — supposed to look like this, supposed to do this, supposed to act like this or supposed to say this.

Being vulnerable grows connection, it makes and strengthens friendships, be vulnerable, speak your truth.

People don’t care about how you look, at all… stop worrying.

The need for certainty goes out the window, nothing is for certain, nothing.

Comparison kills joy, I’m learning to stop comparing myself to others — “today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one that is youer than you!”

Self-doubt ruins experiences, believe in yourself, I am good enough.

To let go of expectations and judgments. Expect nothing and judge no one.

I’m proving to myself I am good enough, I am able, I am well enough.

I’m now on the lowest dose of drugs I’ve ever been on — physically well.

And I’m the happiest, most inspired & courageous I’ve been — mentally well.

While working at the Golden Door Health retreat in The Hunter Valley, Australia, on Wednesdays it was a day to ‘let it go’ and the concept of letting go by Craig Harper was read out…

“Rather than chasing happiness, the buddhist philosophy suggest that we simply choose to let go of that which makes us unhappy. The very notion of chasing something has a sense of urgency about it. With urgency comes anxiety, and of course with anxiety comes illness and with illness comes unhappiness.

Some people spend their lives chasing acceptance and approval. Perhaps it’s time for some of us to let go of the need to seek acceptance, approval and even permission of others? Perhaps we are good enough all by ourselves? Perhaps we should stop giving away our power? Perhaps letting go we’ll find the only acceptance we need: self acceptance.

Some of us have spent years(and years) trying to ‘find ourselves’. Maybe it’s time to stop looking and simply let go of everything that isn’t us? When I let go of everything I am trying to do, be, create and own, there I am. While I might do, be, create and own much in my life, I am none of these things and these things are not me.

I can’t be found and neither can you.

What do YOU need to let go of?”

Travelling is allowing me to let go of self-doubt, fear, need for certainty, comparison, supposed to’s, and giving me so so so much more in return.

Hospital beds to hostel beds. Illness to wellness. Self-doubt to self-belief.

Fern Urquhart

Written by

a journey through the unknown