mental health

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I Gave Up Materialism for Travel

Street art in Cartagena.

Materialism is sold to us in the form of aspirational lifestyles with luxury goods, fancy cars, and expensive houses. Success is presented as possession of many items of high dollar value, and this is supposed to make us happy. The increasing obsession with celebrities and their lifestyles places an importance on both wealth and the outward displays of wealth. This materialism is sold to us constantly through advertising companies that need to suck people into black holes of spending. As...

Every Day You Must Choose Recovery Over Self Destruction

Rural village in Colombia

Trigger warning: this article contains graphic descriptions of drug usage and addiction. I miss recreational drugs a lot. Whenever anyone tells a story about doing cocaine, my body reacts instantly. Within half a second, my heart rate elevates and starts beating out of my chest. My muscles tense in anticipation, and I feel a rush of adrenaline through my chest and stomach. Images of using flash repeatedly in front of my eyes and my brain tells me over and over...

What is Splitting? – Living with BPD

Street art in Santiago

Whenever I break up with a boyfriend, or end a friendship, my heart becomes instantly cold towards them. It’s almost as if all my memories of them become fuzzy around the edges, and I feel nothing towards them anymore. I used to think that this made me a monster, but I can now see it as a defense mechanism. This is one aspect of splitting, which is a symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotional dysregulation disorder....

How to Incorporate Mindfulness in Travel

Church in Barichara

I really struggle to live in the present moment. I notice that my mind is often preoccupied with either the past or the future, and often stressing about things that are outside of my control. If you’re like me, you will often do things on autopilot and never really pay attention to the details of your actions. You will forget entire sections of your day, because your brain was focused on things outside of the present moment. This is why...

5 Times I Was Genuinely Terrified While Travelling

Rainbow houses in Santiago, Chile.

I know that I’ve written a lot about how the media portrays certain regions of the world, like South America, in a negative light, and how inaccurate this is. I like to write about how the world is accessible and full of life lessons for the solo traveller, and that most places are no more dangerous than your hometown. I don’t want to suggest that travelling is mostly dangerous or that bad things will happen to you if you venture...

Stuck in an Endless Cycle of Relapsing and Depression

Red and white farmhouse in Salento.

I am so sick of constantly relapsing. Most people experience at least one period of depression in their lives, but it is often situational. My depression is cyclical, and has affected my life up to several times a year since the age of fifteen. It can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months at a time. I am sick and tired of relapsing again after I feel like I am finally getting better. I honestly...

Blogging is Seriously Hard Work

Street art of rainbow trees.

Blogging is seriously hard work. I’ve hit a major roadblock when it comes to being inspired to write, and so have deliberated over several half-finished posts for weeks. I work in short, sharp bursts of energy that mean I can finish an entire blog post in one hour, and then not write again for four days. Unfortunately, my perfectionism starts to kick in, and then I start to feel like a failure for not being a non-stop creation machine. Blogging...

How To Handle a Long-Distance Relationship While Travelling

Street art in Penang.

When I met my current boyfriend, I had a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires and no intention of entering into a relationship, let alone a long-distance relationship. I had plans of travelling for a year by myself and working my way around South America. Three things happened: I realised that I didn’t have enough money saved, I had a major mental health relapse, and I fell deeply in love. I’m notoriously bad at long-distance relationships. I’d tried them twice before...

How To Be (Mostly) Sober in a Society Obsessed with Alcohol

A black Japanese castle set against the background of a pink cloudy sky.

Alcohol is poison. It numbs your brain and your senses, and creeps into your brain to whisper lies in your ear. When you are living with chronic mental illness, drinking alcohol is one of the most harmful things that you can do, and you should try to eradicate it from your life.  Alcohol makes me stupider, more impulsive, and more vulnerable to the negative thoughts that constantly swirl around my brain. I have burst into tears or started heavily dissociating...

Perfectionism is Killing Me

Autumn leaves and a religious statue in Tokyo, Japan.

Perfectionism is slowly killing me inside. My psychologist refers to the phenomenon as ‘unrelenting standards’, which means that I set a standard for myself that can never actually be attained. These standards also do not apply to other people in my eyes. This covers all aspects of my life, from relationships to academic achievements. I could view perfectionism as a positive, other than the fact that I experience constant stress and anxiety because of it. I have quit so many...