“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Hi, my name’s Hannah and I suffer with anxiety, it’s a condition which is rather new to me, I don’t shout it from the rooftops, but it’s not something that I am ashamed of either. It came as a symptom of a balance disorder I suffered with a few years ago and it never quite went away. Suffering with it is a surreal experience for me; I’m an incredibly laid back person 98% of the time, but occasionally I start to feel tense, my head tingles and my breathing becomes tight, anxiety takes its hold. Normally, when I’m at home I’d go and chill out in my own space, I’d mediate and calm myself down, however, this isn’t always easy to do when you’re on the road.
My friends who know about how I suffer with it and who, some themselves, also suffer often tell me that I’m brave to have gone travelling whilst dealing with anxiety. At times however, I have felt less than brave; I had a panic attack at the gate just before I got on my first ever flight to Thailand, I was texting my mum to tell her that I couldn’t do it, no way, no chance, I couldn’t go. It seems ridiculous to me now, thinking back to it but I had allowed the anxiety to infect my thoughts and it almost made me miss the experience that completely changed my life for the better. I decided right then and there, that there was no way I was going to let it affect my life again, I feel it often on the road, I’ve accepted that travelling allows my body to feel all that life has to give me, and that also includes my anxiety.
I try and keep it quiet when my mind starts playing tricks on me, after days of partying, not getting enough sleep and being constantly on the move I kind of expect to be a wee bit frayed. I’ve spent bus journeys from Nicaragua to Costa Rica on the edge of a panic attack, I’ve felt that the air was too thick to breathe on the Thai Gulf, and I felt so out of it in Kuwait it was like I was walking in a dream. Despite all of these aspects of my anxiety, there’s one thing that always brings me back to the moment; that is remembering that I am lucky enough to get to explore the world. I look out from bus windows when I feel claustrophobic and see the jungle cascading over hilltops, I open my eyes and see the sea glistening like a thousand diamonds whilst I’m standing upon its edge. I remember that I am here, in the moment. I breathe, I hold, I let go and I smile.
Sometimes, it’s okay to be afraid, just as long as you accept it and then let it go. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the now and love every single second of it. Because of travelling I can now deal with my anxiety in a much better way; I don’t need to remove myself from a situation to calm down; I just have to open up to it and know, that in the end it’ll always be okay; I trust myself to see the good in every situation, to see the beautiful world no matter how dizzy my mind can get and to know, that even when my heart starts to palpitate, I just have to stop, breathe and smile.
How do you deal with any worries you might have on the road?