So here I am sitting on the beach in the sun, listening to the birds having drinks waited on me. I am in the beautiful Port Douglas with my husband for a Winter escape. But it seems, like I had hopped, that I did not leave me depression back at home. Somehow it had snuck onto my luggage and decided it needed me more than the holiday.
Unfortunately, for those living with a chronic illness and/or disability depression, anxiety, physical pain doesn’t just decide to disappear. Yes, of course a change of scenery, being immersed in nature and having some self-care time is good for my soul. I found myself frustrated and annoyed that symptoms of depression, BPD and anxiety were still present. So what are some things you can do to help you enjoy your holiday?
My list of strategies for putting up with mental illness on a holiday
- Pack good comfortable clothes. Summer often means bikinis and wearing less clothes. For me, I purposely packed comfortable, free flowing clothes, that hid my softer parts. By packing my long dresses I felt more at peace with my body instead of struggling with past body hating thoughts and feeling pressure to wear tight exposing clothes.
- Be accountable. Each afternoon I would go to bed at 5pm ready for sleep, as the usual wave of depression hit me. Although I wanted to get out of bed, I struggled for motivation. So my husband decided to leave the room and inform me that I had to meet him somewhere by a certain time. As I have a big fear of missing out, I would battle, get dressed and meet him for coffee or a drink at a certain location. Although I was still depressed I felt happier for being out of the room.
- Holiday how you want. For me this meant keeping busy. I kept my routine of waking up a 7am and going to bed at 9pm. Instead of lazing by the poolside where I couldn’t turn my mind off, I decided to go for walks, take picture of the local plants and keep myself occupied by exploring. Although physically I was not resting, mentally I was spending time in mindfulness practices.
- Double check your medications. I did this before I went as I noticed an error in my webster pack which meant I could rectify it prior to leaving. Find out can you fill a script early, do you need to carry your meds on you because your routines have changed?
- Have solitary leisure games you can play. My husband napped everyday. During this time I would pace not know what to do with myself. To avoid this I purchased a crossword book, took my drawing and read magazines.
- Take time away from social media.