Seven or so years ago, I was at university and severely depressed. I could barely peel myself out of bed in the morning, I didn’t have the energy for anything. Going to the kitchen to make breakfast was like climbing a mountain, so most days I didn’t bother. It was easier to starve. Eventually, the hunger would become too painful and only then would I stumble to make a sandwich. I was completely unmotivated.
Despite this blog having the name Anxious Travelers, you’ve probably noticed that recently there has been a lot more said about travel than anxiety. There’s a reason for this. For me, anxiety isn’t an ever present thing. It comes and goes. One day it’s on my shoulders, dragging me down. Then it’s gone for a while, waiting for the next moment to pounce.
When we arrived in New Zealand eight months ago, I was in one of my positive periods. Nothing in life bothered me, I was happy – or happy enough. Things were going great. We’d arrived in this new beautiful place, we had healthy bank accounts and everybody spoke English. Hallelujah!
As time has gone on, things have started to take a downturn.
If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I was looking forward to Christmas, I would have spat in your face and screamed, “Bah humbug!” As a kid, I loved Christmas. Christmas meant presents, and what child doesn’t like a house filled with new shiny toys?
As I grew up – and the appeal of toys waned – my excitement was soon replaced with something else. Anxiety and stress.
This is part 3 in a series of posts about a trip to Amsterdam, part 2 can be found here.
Part 3: Finding God
Falling back into the bed, the drugs took a stronger hold of me.
I was still somewhat aware of where I was – a clean modern room in one of Amsterdam’s nicest hotels. Yet, my arms couldn’t feel the softness of the sheets and my eyes couldn’t enjoy our view of the city. My head span, so I closed my eyes and lay, trying to focus on nothing.
This is part 2 in a series of posts about a trip to Amsterdam, part 1 can be found here.
Part 2: Losing Control
If you ever have a good idea and it includes taking drugs, then stop. Take a moment to think. It’s not a good idea.
Our “good idea” was so perfect that it didn’t warrant discussion. Wake up, eat breakfast. Early morning joint. Head to a smart shop. Buy some magic mushrooms. Go to a coffee shop, another joint. Have lunch, then back to the hotel to take the mushrooms.
I pace quickly up the hill. My feet slamming into the mud of the trail.
My heart is racing, my body sweating. Legs ache, lungs burn. I can’t stop though. There’s something in the trees behind me. Something scary. Not a bear or a monster. Much worse than that.
Now you may think from my last post about socialising while travelling, that I’m a lover of conversation. The truth is, I hate it. I am a level 99 ninja at avoiding it. There’s a lot I’d go through to get out of a conversation. Including climbing a mountain.
As long as tall objects have existed, there have always been people stupid enough to go to the top of them.
Whether it be massive trees, huge pyramids, or gargantuan mountains, throughout history it seems one thing all humans share in common is a zest to reach high places.
My question is: why? Are we as a species completely fucking nuts? It’s built into all of us is an innate sense of curiosity when it comes to heights. In me, that curiosity also seems to lead to fear. It’s only rational though. Tall places mean falling, falling means death. Why I wonder do we constantly put ourselves into positions where falling is more probable? Where death is more likely.
Anxiety for me goes off and on. My life is like a series of peaks and troughs. Some periods I feel great, everything is fine. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I’m stressing out about everything in existence.
The annoyance with the troughs in life are that sometimes they seem to be hard to pull yourself out of, eventually it can seem almost impossible.