Challenging my Anxiety: Stepping out of My Comfort Zone

In my “I will always dream of ways to call you home again”-blog, I wrote about my anxiety, but I didn’t go into it too much. I did mention my anxiety got really bad before moving out, but I didn’t know what it was at the time. In July 2014 I moved out. In April/May 2016 I went on a two-week trip to South-Africa organised by my college. Even before enrolling in this study I knew I wanted to go on this trip.

To paint a picture of how I experienced anxiety; my anxiety would express itself in sweating excessively, feeling nauseous and sick, not being able to speak much, getting into my head a lot, headaches, dizziness, throwing up and the only thought on my mind being: “I want to get out of here. I want to go home. I want to crawl into my bed.” because I felt like that was the only remedy. I felt anxious in almost every ‘new’ situation. New environments, new surroundings, new people, and sometimes my anxious feelings would completely catch me off guard.

Since I felt anxious at the, to me, most ridiculous moments, I knew that going on a trip, any trip for that matter, would be challenging since I didn’t have the tools to deal or cope with my anxiety. You might be able to imagine that going on a trip to South-Africa, the other side of the world, was utterly terrifying to me.

So before heading to South-Africa in April 2016, I decided to look for help. I went to see my doctor and told her about my complications and everything I experienced. She asked me if I had thought about seeing a therapist, and recommended a certain psychologist to me. After being on the wait list for a while, I finally got to see a psychologist and in February 2016 I got diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

I’m currently, while writing this, on the train to Wezep, which is a four-hour train ride away from where I live. My friend Lotte booked a bungalow and planned everything, to the point where I don’t even know where the bungalow is located. All I know is I’m travelling to Wezep by train, after that I’m going on a ten to fifteen-minute bus ride, but I don’t know where to yet. A couple of days ago, Lotte wanted to tell me which bus I had to take, but I refused. I didn’t want to know. I want to challenge myself.

If my anxiety was as bad now as it was before I got professional help, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. If I was feeling the way I would have been feeling a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have done this. I would’ve spent my 4-hour train ride with my head in the toilet, and I probably would’ve given up half way there. Back then, I would’ve wanted to know where I went, what the place looks like, the park it’s in, the facilities it has and all the other little details. I would obsessively check, check, and double check everything on google and think that preparing myself like that would ease my anxiety. But it honestly never did. For me, I think it only made things worse.

So, I decided to go on this trip without knowing much. I know it’s a little bungalow and we all have our own bedroom. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself to let it all go, to not try to always be in control of situations, to trust others and myself and to believe I’ll be fine no matter what.

My goal is to feel home in myself and with myself, no matter where I am, where life takes me or whatever happens to me. The point being; I can do this. Even if I sometimes might feel like I’m never going to be able to do a certain thing, even if I might have a hard time with certain things at certain moments, even though some things might seem like I’ll never be able to get over them, or deal with them… You never know where you might be in a couple of years. Four years ago, I never imagined myself doing something like this. And here I am today, finishing this blog off in the cafeteria of the bungalow park.

You are strong. You are good enough. You can get through this.

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