There was once a time where travelling abroad for 3 months to the other side of the world seemed unimaginable. When I was 11 years old, I suffered a nervous breakdown… what I like to refer to as my ‘Britney’ moment.
The line between reality and irrational fear became blurry, all of a sudden, my world felt very small to the point where I was afraid to even leave my house. I was eventually diagnosed with OCD, and no that’s not obsessive cake disorder (although I wish it were) but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. After a year of CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and many more years of hard work and determination, I was on the mend and my world stopped feeling so small and terrifying. I well and truly missed out on being a teenager; getting drunk in the park, kissing boys under the bus shelter, going out with my friends, but I certainly made up for that in my 20’s!
I refused to let this life sucking nervousness rule my life and have forced myself into uncomfortable situations, one after another to push myself forward and make the most of life. If there is one thing I am certain of, I never want to feel trapped again.
So, I pushed myself to go to college, which at the time was a very big step for me. It meant the one word anyone with an anxiety disorder hates… CHANGE. New people, new surroundings, THE BUS! Looking back, I am amazed I managed it with such ease. I just took one step forward (or rather a big push out the door from my mum) and then another and then all of a sudden, I was enjoying myself. For the first time in 5 years, I felt like a normal teenager and realised this was what I needed to do more of. I needed to do what makes me uncomfortable. This was the start of me living my life again, and that I certainly did!
I decided it was time to move away from my ever so warm and ever so cosy comfort blanket and travelled 150 miles north to Nottingham, to move in with a bunch of strangers at university. I knew if I remained too close to home, I wouldn’t be independent, the first moment of doubt I would run straight back home. So, what did I do? Well I eliminated that option and moved so far that I couldn’t afford the trains home even if I wanted to! And I tell you what, it was the best decision of my life.
Now it’s time for an even bigger adventure though, one that will help me to overcome many of my fears and struggles all in one hit.
Myself and my Fiancé Lewis will be backpacking around Southeast Asia for 3 months. I know, I know… I’m mad, I have OCD, how on earth am I going to cope? Well I’m not naive, I know this will involve many encounters with dirty toilets, crowded smelly busses, questionable food joints and most importantly, it will be totally unplanned. I am someone who lives every day with a well organised plan of action, I do not like to deviate from my plan and I certainly do not like surprises, so this is going to be my biggest test of all. I am already nervous and starting to worry about every possible thing that could go wrong, but this is why I need to do it. It is the ultimate push…. And hopefully I will not have a ‘Britney’ moment along the way!
You can follow my journey here. Wish me luck!