What to do when you need to just get away

When you need to just get away

Why I need to just get away!

As we all know I really suffer with my mental health, I had my first panic attack at 5 years old and since then I have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Now I am classed as high functioning in the first two diagnoses, and I have a pretty good handle on them. But, as with everything I have my low days, and feel like I need to just get away. I need to get out of my bed, out of my house, jump in my car and run away for however long I can spare. 

You see we don’t always know what has triggered our mental health in a particular time, day or even just a moment. But when it happens our mind can be very powerful and scary places. And we need to look after ourselves, just because you can’t always see the physicality of mental health, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And yes this is something we say a lot. But when it comes to ourselves it’s very rare we listen. As we try and ‘power through’ which if we are going to be honest with ourselves is really stupid. Why sit and ‘power through’ something if it’s just going to detriment your health.

Why we don’t just get away

As to those who don’t suffer from mental health, it seems simple. If it makes you feel better to just get away. Why not do that? As it seems like the only logistical answer. But when you have mental health, logic seems to have a common theme of just jumping straight out the window. Because there is a stigma around mental health, if you have it your 

Weak

You pathetic

You can just be happy

It’s a choice

You can just get over it

And all that other bullshit. But that’s exactly what the above examples are. BULLSHIT! Because surely if it was that bloody simple, then nobody on the face of the Earth would have mental health. And we would all just be happy, all the damn time. Because wouldn’t that be the ultimate dream?! And none of us would have to run away for a couple of hours or a day, as we would all always be content with what we were doing right in that very moment. And as lovely as that thought is, it just isn’t true. Because sometimes our mental health is bad, and it can affect our thoughts, our moods, our emotions, and manifest itself in more physical ways as well. 

But because in the past society hasn’t always (and in more places than you’d like to think still doesn’t) accepted mental health as an illness then we just try to ‘power through’ whatever we are doing, whether that’s our job, a household chore, being out with friends or family or anything in between. But let me as you this question:

If you projectile vomited all over, would you be expected to carry on? No, you wouldn’t so just because it’s in your mind, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

OK ,OK, so what do I do?

Now this is a very good question, as I’ve preached about why you should just get away. But not how. You see Sunday I was feeling super anxious, my mind was being particularly cruel to me. There wasn’t a single positive thought that wasn’t tainted, I felt scared, needy, wouldn’t leave my partner alone and completely unable to make decisions. So my partner took the decision out of my hands, he packed a rucksack, picked a palace with water and bundled me, him and the dog into the car.

So here is my foolproof plan to get out whether you have someone to help you or not.

Say it out loud

If you’re feeling like your mental health is winning say it outloud. Either to yourself or somebody else. Simply I’m feeling anxious, scared or however you are. If you say it out loud it will help you realise that you are not imagining it and the feeling is VERY real. Therefore you will begin  to realise that today you need to take extra care of yourself and do what you need to, to make you feel better.

Where do I feel my best?

Image by Agnes Chan
Image by Agnes Chan

This stage requires some pre-prep. Really think about what makes you happy. I mean if we could all just jump on a plane and go to paradise for the day, that would be amazing. But our bank accounts and time off quite often dictates otherwise. So ask yourself where do I most feel calm?

By water?

The mountains?

A coffee shop?

In a field?

Just walking?

For me any body of water helps calm me, a lake, river, the sea, a waterfall. I just seem to inhale the calmness and exhale all my stress away.

Don’t give yourself much choice

Now I don’t know about you but when I’m having a really bad anxiety day, I panic attack central I cannot make decisions. Like I’ve been out for food in Dublin, super anxious and my partner (and this is not the first time) has had to look like a control freak and pick my food for me. Because during that moment in time, I had no ability to even do the simplest of choices. It just felt too much for me.

So pick a few local spots that have things that make you feel calm, whether it’s local walks, local coffee shops, maybe it’s just some nice drives. Write all of them down and keep them in a plastic wallet. So that when you are struggling you can take the decision out of your hand, pick a place and just go. Alternatively if you have someone that can help you. Let them know how you are feeling and that you need to just get away. Again taking that decision out of your hand.

Put that shit on silent

Now this is a biggie! And I’m  aware it is a big deal. But just bare with me. Leave your phone at home or the very least, put it on silent. As the whole point is that you are focusing on yourself, and making you feel better. Not aimlessly scrolling through social media comparing yourself to everybody else. Or posting about how wonderful you’re feeling, when actually you feel like crap. 

As when you just get away that means your getting away from everything. Focus on your surroundings, focus on your feelings, focus on your needs, focus on your wants. Everything you’ve probably neglected for far too long. So when you finally take that time away for you, whether it’s an hour, a morning / afternoon or the whole damn day. Make sure you focus ONLY on you boo.

Easier said than done

Now I know to just get away is easier said than done. When my mental health is particularly bad I have been guilty of not taking it seriously. I’ve not told anyone at work, or who I am with about how I am feeling. I have just sat at my laptop, or stayed late marking, had a crappy meal, not left my house and just gone straight to bed feeling like shit. And all that did was make me feel worse the next day, and the next day AND …..

You got it the next day. 

But now I hold myself accountable for my mental health, because I am responsible to make sure I am well. If I’m at work I will do everything that has immediate deadlines. And needs to be done and then I will finish. If I’m at home I will get off my laptop and physically turn it off. And I will force myself to GO OUTSIDE. And I feel SOOOO much better for it. 

Trust me I know how hard it is, as you feel like you’re doing something naughty because you’re going outside when you should be working. But if you’ve done the important stuff then that is all that matters. Everything else can wait, and trust me you will be so much more productive once you’ve looked after yourself.

I promise!

Me, when I needed to just get away
Me, when I needed to just get away

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