Hello, from Ireland!!!!
I left off my last blog by telling you all that I would be leaving sweet, sweet, California, and move to Ireland, the land of Saints & Scholars (and apparently some good, old-fashioned beer drinkers). Well, I made it! I’m even writing this blog from my 5th-floor apartment in the heart of the west side of Ireland.
My first week in Ireland was the vacation I’ve never dreamed of having, but am sure glad happened. Fortunately for me, I got to share that adventure with my well-experienced traveler/sister! We spent the past week doing a mixture of helping me move in and being complete tourists. Some of the highlights include going to the iconic Cliffs of Moher, drinking the most expensive tea I’ve ever had in the Ashford Castle, staying a night in the former beachfront home (now converted into a small resort) of the Jameson family, and tasting Guinness beer for the very first time in the actual Guinness Storehouse (which has a ridiculous 9,000 year lease)!
An entire week of driving around the country (and these were not easy drives) with my sister, and I’m happy and quite relieved to say that my anxiety was barely present. I don’t know if it was the comfort of having my sister with me, being completely engaged and captivated by all of my new surroundings, or pure luck of the Irish which made my anxiety take a backseat for the most part during my first week here. Perhaps it was my new set of skills to handle anxiety or a combination of all the above. But, for whatever reason, my anxiety subsided for a bit and I was really able to enjoy my little vacation.
But like most things in life, my vacation didn’t last forever, and my sister eventually had to leave me and fly back to California. As we went on our last couple adventures together, the anticipation of her departure was like an invitation for my anxiety to creep back into my body. I felt myself being anxious while standing along the Cliffs of Moher, but I chalked that up to literally being on the edge, so I wrote that anxiety off. It wasn’t until I started feeling some of my typical, physical anxiety symptoms, like feeling strangely lightheaded and having a particular headache at the arch of my right eyebrow, that I thought my anxiety was creeping back in. I started feeling these about an hour before I boarded the train from Dublin by myself and separated from my sister for good. That was when I knew my anxiety was trying to make a comeback.
Before I go further into the comeback of my anxiety, let me first take a moment to show some appreciation to my sister. Without her, this first week of moving to a different country would have been a completely different experience. This could have easily been the most stressful week of my life – financially, emotionally, socially, geographically, and much more. But with my sister by my side through the transition, it actually became one of the best and most fun weeks ever! For that, and for many more reasons, I am so thankful to have had her kickoff this experience with me. So, sister, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU & I LOVE YOU!
Getting back to my transition to being on my own, after my sister left and I arrived back to my apartment after a two and a half hour train ride, all of my emotions came flooding through me and rushing out of me. I went to the bathroom and literally just cried. When I think about it, that was the first time I really allowed myself to cry and feel sad about being so far from home since I’ve been here, but rather than just fighting it off again, I let it all out and just allowed myself to have that time.
When I was done being emo, I came out of my room and hung out with my super awesome roommates. Also, in order to further my transition into this new part of my life, instead of staying in and having a quiet night alone, I actually went out on the town & had a girls night out with my roommates! This is a bit of a big deal for me because since I got my anxiety, I’ve shied away from being out in crowded areas and just going out in general, especially with people I didn’t really know and who don’t know about my anxiety issues. This was the first time in a looooong time I had gone out and it was actually fun! I ended up getting a persistent headache & felt my anxiety coming on a couple hours into the night and went back home, but I’m happy I was able to bond with my roommates and proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and running towards something that I knew would give me anxiety.
The next morning I woke up with some anxiety and I realized that it may be more difficult than I thought to face the anxieties of living abroad. New challenges are constantly presenting themselves, and in order to make the most of my time here, I’m just going to have to take it one day at a time. Before I left, I shared within my DARE Anxiety Facebook group my anxieties about my trip, and a woman reminded me of one crucial part of the DARE method; Expect and Accept. These simple three words resonated so strongly within me. I knew before going on this trip that my anxiety would be pushed to the limits, so with each new task or experience, I will expect to have anxious feelings, accept them as they come and try to live on without living in fear of my anxiety. So far, I’ve been doing okay, but I’m only a few days into a four-month journey. There are many things here that make me nervous, but I’m just gonna take them on and see how it goes.
I’m just a girl, living in Ireland, trying to finish her Master’s while dealing with anxiety. If you’re interested in more of my adventures, stay tuned for a mixture of blogs about traveling, mental health, and more! I’m not sure what my next blog will be, but I’m thinking of tackling the issue of “how to talk to your loved ones/people in your life about your struggles in mental health (anxiety particularly).” I’ve had to do it before, and I feel that I may have to do it again with my roommates here, so it seems to be a good time to address this topic.
Sidenote → If you’re reading this and just happen to be my roommate, heyyy lol I suffer from pretty consistent anxiety, so uhh yeah…thanks for reading my blog, let’s grab coffee soon & chat if you want? Great. :D
That’s all I got for now! Thank you for reading this blog & don’t forget to share this with someone who may need or love it. Your feedback is extremely welcomed, so please leave comments below if you feel so inclined! As always, take care :)