Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Today I blogged about what it’s like being mentally ill while on vacation.
I feel like I’ve covered alot of ground on what it’s like being mentally ill in everyday life and within relationships etc.
However, this one for me is hardest because there is this fantasy that still lingers within me that vacation needs to be perfect because I paid for the time off and I’m in a place that’s warm and beautiful. WRONG. Vacation is just another set of days, no different from the rest and your chemically imbalanced brain remains the same wherever you are geographically
Regardless, there is still something extra devastating when your mental illness rears its ugly head when you’re in the tropics or trying to deserve some well deserved time off work. On our recent trip to Cabo I had a really bad breakdown the first night. I was sleep deprived and my routine was off so my anxiety was through the roof. I spent the first night of vacation wondering if I was ever going to feel better and crying myself to sleep in Israel’s arms at 9pm. I think that’s the darkest place I’ve been mentally in front of him so far. I lost all ability to properly function. The next day was better. I woke up sad still but managed to pull through. Sometimes dipping that low can throw your emotional balance for a few days. It can leave you feeling like you’ve just had the flu. Israel helps a lot when I get in these ruts. He reassures me, makes me laugh and distracts me. Sometimes even the simplest of things can help me snap out of a dark rut.
I often say distraction is one of the best coping mechanisms. ( for me ) At the rate I feel emotion it’s SO intense that if I momentarily fixate on something else by the time I go back to that emotion the intensity has lessened. This often works for me when I’m anxious. I’ll try to think of my favourite movie and how safe it makes me feel. I try to think good and stable thoughts. Sometimes I ask Israel to tell me a story that has nothing to do with that moment. It helps distract my anxious brain.
All that to say that struggling while on vacation is normal. Struggling on any important day is normal and more than okay. Don’t ever let your brain guilt you into feeling bad for feeling bad on a day where you “should have been happy” I have personally felt so much relief since I stopped putting pressure on myself that vacations, holidays or birthdays had to be perfect. After all they are just another day on the calendar and we can’t control what happens. We can only control our perspective, attitude & our mindsets. By allowing ourselves to have bad days despite what date they fall on, we learn to be accepting to all our emotions. Both good and bad and we learn to show ourselves grace. When we learn to view our emotions as waves coming and going instead of sinking sand it really is a big game changer.
At the end of the day if you had a bad day while on vacation, what is the better alternative? You can either fixate on that bad day and allow it to ruin the rest of your trip. Or you can allow yourself a bad day, two, three and appreciate the other days you have. No matter where you are life is never going to be perfect. It’s always going to have its ups and downs especially when you suffer from mental illness. The real trick in it is learning to shift our mindset when things get tough. For me this was and can be a huge struggle. I wanted to blog about this incase someone else somewhere also feels this way.
Please share if you find this relative and you think someone would benefit from reading this.
Thank you for reading,