I took a holiday: What I learned…


I took a holiday: What I learned...

Everyone loves a holiday. But if you live with or are traveling with one who lives with mental health concerns, enjoying your holiday takes time.

Let’s think: A new environment, new people, new routine and perhaps, most importantly, new expectations that all holidays come with… All this can often add up to a holiday where one’s mental health symptoms reappear or get worse.

The first few days can then be taken up with, at best, a readjustment to new surroundings, at worst a dreadful holiday that sees one spiral downward.

I just returned from a lovely holiday with my family, but one I again fell into the trap of not preparing for the mental adjustment needed to fully enjoy my holiday.

For me it was scary, but more so, it was my feelings of responsibility I felt to my husband and children I found the hardest. My god, I have lived with this condition for years now and have travelled on many holidays. How did I not prepare for this?

Ah, there comes the many faces of mental health symptoms; am I getting sick again? why can’t I just relax? why am I short with my children?

A couple of words of advice:

Leave your expectations at the door:

Until my husband pointed it out to me, I was unaware that I was striving to attain a goal of stereotypical relaxation and bliss of a holiday liefstyle in a day.

Leave the first couple of days for nothing. Allow yourself time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and adjust to your new routine. DO NOT work to anyone else’s timetable (NO, not even your children’s)

Remain aware that holidays can be hard for people who live with mental health conditions. (Many of) those who function successfully in their regular settings, have taken a long time to accomplish such a lifestyle. To expect them to attain the same “normality” in a new environment is just unrealistic.

Choose your new setting and don’t move. Unless you are well prepared to move to different destinations, DON’T do it. We had to move rooms twice in two weeks and this added to my anxiety greatly.

Don’t panic. Remember to believe in the mantra that “all people experience bad days” and that this/these day/s are just an example of that.

One my husband reminded me of MY OWN expectations, I relaxed. Once we’d settled in one apartment, I relaxed.

I am me and you are you.

This is jsut my experience and I hope this might afford at least one other to better enjoy their “holiday” time.

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