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

By | 2017-08-15T15:58:43+00:00 July 4th, 2017|mental health|

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 while drinking, more times than I can count. Drinking alcohol doesn’t only leave me with a dry mouth and a [...]

The Transformative Power of Nature-Based Travel

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:19+00:00 June 24th, 2017|mental health|

It took three hours of trekking in the Borneo rainforest of Bako National Park for me to fully realise that I had broken my first boyfriend’s heart. Up until that point, I hadn’t understood why he had acted so cruelly when I broke up with him. I resented the lies that he had told about me to his friends and the cruel words that he wrote about me on the internet. I resented all of this without ever understanding how truly hurt he had been. It took the isolation of nature and the physical exertion of hiking in the hot, [...]

How to Travel with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:28+00:00 June 21st, 2017|mental health|

I laid naked in the foetal position on the floor of the hostel shower, crying uncontrollably while my friend stood over me to supervise. I had made the mistake of going out drinking on a pub crawl in Buenos Aires, against all my better judgment. Alcohol amplifies the symptoms of my borderline personality disorder (BPD), and makes it so much harder to block out the intrusive thoughts that I am ugly, unwanted, and unlovable. When these thoughts had taken over, I had called my boyfriend in Australia and asked him over and over if he still loved me and if [...]

How Backpacking Reduces Body Dysmorphia

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:35+00:00 June 19th, 2017|mental health|

When I was 17 years old, I thought I was obese. Irredeemably fat. I weighed only 58 kg. At 172 cm tall, this was far from overweight. But when I looked at my body in the mirror, all I could see was weight ballooning around my waist and stomach area, making me look pregnant. I weighed myself a few times a day, every single day, and any gained weight made me feel horrific inside. This is what is known as body dysmorphia, which is something that I still struggle with to this day. I spent a year of my life [...]

An Open Letter to My Rapist

By | 2017-11-02T21:26:40+00:00 June 13th, 2017|mental health|

Trigger warning: this post contains graphic descriptions of rape.  You killed me on the 10th of May, 2014, and yet there will never be a trial. You will never be tried for murder, for the murder of a life that I once had. It’s been a few years since we last spoke, and yet I have the sneaking suspicion that I will never forget our last meeting. How could I, when I’ve replayed it in my mind every day for the last three years? I wonder if you’ve erased it from your memory, or if you really, truly believe that [...]

A Universal Experience of Sexual Harassment/Assault

By | 2017-11-12T12:35:09+00:00 June 3rd, 2017|ethical travel|

Trigger warning: this post contains discussions of sexual assault and rape. I was sitting by the side of the road in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, when I saw that a man was sitting on his motorbike and masturbating while staring at me. I froze in place. I didn’t know what to do. I was only 18 years old and I had luckily never encountered this kind of harassment before. I moved quickly down another road, but he continued to follow me and stare at me. I ran to my guesthouse and locked myself inside my room, heart thumping and nausea rising [...]

Overcoming Social Anxiety Through Travelling Solo

By | 2017-11-02T21:18:39+00:00 May 29th, 2017|mental health|

I didn’t speak to another person for the first five weeks of my solo trip to Southeast Asia. I hid in private rooms in hostels, made shy smiles at other people, but never took the initiative to approach anyone and start a conversation. I was only 18 years old, fresh out of high school and quite frankly terrified. I cried the entirety of my first night away from home and wondered what the hell I was doing by travelling alone. I’d never planned to be undertaking this trip alone; I’d originally planned it with my ex boyfriend and broken up [...]

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

By | 2017-07-21T14:51:44+00:00 May 27th, 2017|mental health|

Trigger warning: this post discusses self harm and suicide. I try to be as honest as possible in this post, recognising that some of what I say may be confronting for people who aren’t used to this kind of mental illness. I also highly recommend reading this guide by SANE Australia, which I found extremely helpful when I was diagnosed. “Don’t date a borderline, they will ruin your life. They’re manipulative and they can’t feel empathy.  They will take everything from you and then leave you destroyed, before moving on to ruin their next life”. This is a common sentiment [...]

Coping Without a Support Network When Travelling Solo

By | 2017-07-21T14:47:17+00:00 May 24th, 2017|mental health|

Trigger warning: this article contains discussions of suicide. In my last post, I talked about my personal experience of travelling with chronic depression. In this post I will address practical tips for how to manage mental illness on the road. “What are you going to do if you feel suicidal while overseas?” This was a valid question from my psychologist, considering I had been hospitalised only a week earlier and was leaving for South America in two months’ time. The answer is not so simple, when solo travel removes you completely from your regular support network and throws you into [...]

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