THAT SLIMY BASTARD…
It has never been an easy thing for me to even get up in the morning, I mean why face the scary unknown world that is out there when you can just stay in your own safe little bubble. I’m not writing this to gain sympathy or anything like that. I write this to hopefully inspire someone that suffers through what I suffer through. To show them that even if you have something in your life that strives to pull you down, you can fight through that.
Depression (That Slimy Bastard) is something that has plagued my life for years now. I know that as time has gone on I have developed skills and tricks to not let it stop me from doing what I want to do, but deep down I know that it is still there, lurking in the depths.
Over the past few months, it has started to rear its ugly head again. Why? I do not know, I can only assume it is because I am at a point in my life where I am challenging myself on a regular basis. I’m not living my comfortable, regular, safe life anymore. I’ve changed locations, friends, jobs and in doing so my fake smile doesn’t seem to be as strong anymore.
Now I am not a person who will admit defeat, I mean I have made it this far on my own (yes I have had help from many loved ones, but I got myself travelling) and I can keep myself going. Since leaving home I have learnt a crazy amount about myself and about the hold that this ‘thing’ has on me.
“I remember one Christmas, being all packed and in the car heading to Australia to spend some time with my Dad, but as soon as we got to the airport the panic attacks hit and I couldn’t get on the plane, I couldn’t face my parents, I couldn’t even breathe. After that, I never thought I would fly again.”
That was me — in circa 2007 which in reality wasn’t that long ago. I got over this, I grew stronger but relapses of a similar kind happened even into my adult years.
When I started my planning for my OE, I knew things would be different. I was in control! I was going where I wanted, doing what I wanted! Maybe finally being in total control of my destiny would make this better… Yes and no. The weird thing? Leaving home was easy. Leaving my country was easy. It’s everything else that has been hard.
I broke down when I arrived in Hong Kong, when I arrived in London, when I had to change hostels. Why? It was the change. I had forced myself into so many bubbles back home that I wasn’t dealing with any of the insecurities that I had built up inside, I had just been burying them deeper…This was my downfall.
I had forgotten about this thing inside me. It’s not something that goes away, it’s always there. Somedays it is just quieter than others. There were many days when I cried, many days when I just didn’t leave my room/house and many days when I was looking for flights back home.
So what did I do? How is it I am still here?
I HAVEN’T GIVEN UP ON MYSELF!
I got sick of waking up every morning and feeling miserable. Why should I be miserable? I chose to come here in the first place.
“ We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices”.
That’s one thing I have learnt about my affliction, I can let what’s around me work me into a state of bleakness or I can force myself to push through. I have done it before and I can do it again.I am not in any way saying that depression is a choice, it is a disease and a horrible one, but I feel we have the ability to choose how we deal with it. We can curl up in the fetal position or we can dig our fingers in and pull our way through.
Is it easy? Hell no. Some of the hardest days of my life have been in some of the most amazing places. That’s what pulls me through, what is waiting at the end of this.
“Is the juice worth the squeeze?”
Is the reward worth the effort? That's something only you can decide.
Recently I was in Morocco, the plans we had made did not come to fruition, and I started to freak out.
Sitting alone in my Riad room, was when ‘It’ decided that a panic attack was the perfect thing to happen. Honestly, this was horrible! I mean who could I talk to? What could I do?
I was alone, I was lying on the floor in the fetal position not able to breathe. What did I do?
Step 1: BREATHE!!! Just stop… Don’t think about anything else except for your breath. In slowly and out slowly. It always amazes me how quickly this can calm you.
Step 2: RE-THINK!!! So my panic attack was induced by change. We all hate it! I forced myself to stop thinking about the situation. Is this easy? Of course not, but focus on a positive of the situation you are in. There is always a silver lining.
For me, I was curled up on the floor in Morocco… In Morocco! I was going to see the Sahara Desert one of my ultimate bucket list items.
Step 3: DO!!! Again not easy but you can’t win a war by being bundled up on the floor. GET UP!!! Do something that relaxes, inspires, comforts, do anything. The fact that you do something is you winning the battle.
I got up off the floor and went to the rooftop terrace, the view was pretty amazing, the owner was even up there and we got into a conversation.
Now I’m not saying this is the solution for a panic attack for everyone, but this method works for me. Again I will say that NONE of this is easy. It takes a massive effort, it may take several tries, it may take hours but you can do it and remember you can always ask for help. I believe that no matter where you are in the world, what language people speak, we as a species are designed to comfort others.
I decided to write this blog now because I have started noticing how easy it was/is for me to step back into my depressive state. It’s something that I still battle day to day but its a doable battle.
This is what I’ve decided to dedicate my travel blog and my adventures. To inspire those who feel like that can’t adventure, explore or even leave their house.
You can! We can!
I’m Xavier. A amateur travel blogger, traveler and writer. in 2015 I gave up my comfortable life in New Zealand and moved to the other side of the world in pursuit of my own wanderlust.
Read more stories here — http://adventuresofxavier.com/