I've been wanting to write this post since I started my travel blog. But one of the (many) things I have anxiety about is talking about my anxiety. Or my mental health in general.
It is not from fear of being judged. Wearing elephant pants, eating the way I do, and laughing too loud has taken care of that. I just have it in my head that I am not allowed to complain.
I have an honors degree from NYU that I didn't pay for. My freelance job allows me to travel as often as I want. I grew up in one of California's safest and wealthiest towns and have since been to 25 different countries. My parents are still in love, all four of my grandparents are still alive, I see my aunts/uncles/cousins on a regular basis, and my siblings are my best friends. In one word, my life is amazing. So I never complain.
That is why coping with my mental illness has been such a struggle. The only reason I went to therapy was because I thought if I spoke up to anyone else, all I would get would be a dirty look and a bucket full of judgement.
The longer I've lived (which may be short in years, but in experience I've lived a few lifetimes) the more I have realized that I could not have been more wrong.
Over a quarter of the world's population suffers from mental illness of some sort (the most common being anxiety and depression). Like love, mental illness is blind to race, class, creed, etc. etc. But unlike love, mental illness is often an isolating and terrifying endeavor.
Travel and writing have been my main coping mechanisms, but reading and listening to the stories of others comes in a close third.
If my story can help one person even half as much as these stories have helped me, then it is a worthy undertaking.