mental illness Archives - Her Travel Therapy

mental illness

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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 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...

The Transformative Power of Nature-Based Travel

A dirt path leading through dry, arid land, with a flat-topped green tree the main feature.

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...

How to Travel with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A night view of a black and white castle over a reflective lake.

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,...

How Backpacking Reduces Body Dysmorphia

A girl standing in front of a brown and gold Japanese temple, with several trees on the side.

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...

An Open Letter to My Rapist

An art piece of a girl holding a black umbrella, on a background of blue lines.

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...

Overcoming Social Anxiety Through Travelling Solo

A gold and brown temple with 5 spires.

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....

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Street art of a blue building with a gold and red man that has multiple faces and a moon with a face.

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...