This is an incredibly hard post to write, seeing as I feel like I’m in the midst of a storm right now. I’m in Koh Tao and the weather is unpredictable, hot and warm one minute, yet thundering showers shaking the island the next. I took the picture above as I found it crudely relevant to my mood right now. I’ve been in Thailand for ten days perhaps, and it’s been a crazy time of beautiful hikes, gorgeous beaches, Pad Thai, partying, new faces and places, temples and good vibes.
Perhaps it’s best we talk about my journey to Thailand in the first place. I left Krabi (one of the islands) on the 1st July. Krabi was never part of my plan, but I met a special human and our travels together led us to the island. One of the best and yet the worst things about having some form of travel romance is the fact you get to know eachother wholly, rapidly and openly. Every single part of me that I’ve hated felt soothed the minute I told him how I was feeling and that was refreshing. I phoned my mum scared one day, feeling a depressive cloud immerse me in one of the weeks I was with Mr S, and both her and her friend told me if he liked me enough, he’ll accept all the parts of me. And he did. He wasn’t scared or put off but held me tightly when I cried and made me laugh, and for that I am truly grateful. Unfortunately, the difficult thing about travel romances is that they come to an end, and you go forth on the journeys you planned for after, him moving to Holland and me back home for a month before carrying on my travels in SE Asia.
I’ve been constantly playing with the idea of changing plans, journeys and what decision is best. Deep down, I can picture my psychoanalyst telling me what I already know. That falling for people who are unavailable in some way shape or form will not mend the deeply open wounds I suffer from. That having someone put a beautiful bandage on them will not fix the pain that I am and currently suffer with, and that I am not ready to be in a relationship. So, with a heavy heart, I need to push myself back to the reality which is focusing on myself – and no distractions to take me away from this journey.
The last month I’ve been in London, seeing friends and family and working on building some kind of writing empire! Okay, maybe not an empire, but I’m excited to look into options to study it further, perhaps combined with Spanish and to see what happens with it. I realised, whilst in London, that I harbour a huge amount of anger and regret to the situation my family are faced with, and I am now ready to take that seriously and admit that it causes me pain – something I would never have admitted before. Coming home to the same situation actually affected me a lot more than I thought, the same panic arose and the same sadness overwhelmed me. Yet I’m not quite sure what it is I’m begging or hoping for when I come back? That somehow my Dad will magically walk to the door and greet me with open arms and say “Hey Em! Guess what, I can walk! What’s new with you?” Or maybe I’m hoping that actually my Grandad is still eating his butter sandwiches at home and in fact this has just been a long, horrible dream and he’s still here with us. I’ll go over to his house and he’ll be walking to his fish that are somehow still alive at the bottom of the garden and say “Hey Grandad, CRAZIEST dream just happened, thank god it’s over!” And he’ll laugh and say I’ve got a crazy imagination and give me his usual cold, awkward hug and ask me to look something up on Google.
The thing is, the depressed mood I’ve been in the last few days hasn’t been brought on by any of the above. In fact, it’s just happened, the wounds have opened and the pain is dull. I’ve been hiking for hours to beautiful viewpoints with fun people chatting away, sunbathing on beaches, walking to temples, partying to great music, having a GREAT time .. and then I’ll get back to the hostel and everything has changed. I suddenly feel lonely surrounded by people, tired having slept for over ten hours and confused as to my purpose travelling.
I’ve so far been to Bangkok, Krabi and am now island hopping before making my way up north. What I feel like I need to subconsciously stop doing is searching for a plaster in the form of a human, to cover my wounds and save me. Somehow – and I’m unsure how – I must feel the mood swings out, and try to slowly pull apart the layers of the onion that I sometimes feel like I have inside. The feelings of helplessness and bewilderment I KNOW I need to feel and not to avoid. I need to explore them easily, peacefully and by myself – I really believe this is something my old therapist would be telling me, and something I was unable to take seriously a year or two ago, it’s just very difficult. It is all too easy to let someone cover them with love and affection before you’re ready to come to terms with it but it doesn’t help.
Thus, in my dorm room, interrupted by the screams of people drinking and laughing, I will continue to feel and think, without judgement and with honesty. The storm of my mind, just like the storm seen in the first picture is huge and disruptive but eventually succumbs and slips away, making way for a brighter, more peaceful day. Time to start planning the next few weeks and get excited.
This too shall pass.
5 Replies to “London to Thailand -Depression in Paradise”
I would suggest you keep an intimate depression diary, to see what the triggers are. And keep it till I next see you. Love Deb xxx
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Im not sure what to put in it when I don’t know what the triggers are 😦
Thank you, Emily, for sharing so honestly and openly about your challenges with depression. Not sure is you remember, but we met in Barcelona last November. I find it helpful to hear an insider view, as I work with a lot of different kinds of people as a teacher educator. Have you read the book by Thomas Armstrong called The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of your Differently-Wired Brain? What I love about this book is that he addresses the challenges with different neurodiverse brains (including Depression, ADHD, Autism and more), but also the strengths and positive sides. It might help frame your experiences a little differently. Sounds like you continue to explore how to stay balanced, and I appreciate your self-honesty–recognizing that travel romances do act as bandaids–not a problem, but not going to work to heal you in the long haul.
Of course I remember ! Although I think it was Sevilla 🙂 I haven’t no, but I shall add it to my ever growing list! Thank you for sharing, and hoping all is well with you 🖤
You are right! It WAS Sevilla. I forgot I popped down there from my conference in Barcelona. All is well. Had a great summer off, traveling in the North and West of the USA, and now I’m challenged getting my head in the game to go back to work. Fortunately, I LOVE my job, and it’s still not easy. But it’ll come. Take care, and keep writing!
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