breathe.

Here’s a quick little post about anxiety, something I’ve struggled with my whole life.

I wish I could be writing this blog post saying how great of a time I’ve been having in Italy (which I have been having a great time), but I’m going to write about something else.

Italy is a beautiful place, I love it here, but it makes it so difficult to enjoy the experience when you have anxiety, and you feel like you’re battling your mind every single day. I’m 4,000 miles away from my support system and I didn’t really realize that this would be so tough for me, but it has been. I’ve been struggling.

I’ve traveled internationally before (last summer to London), so I never really thought that this would be a problem when I chose to travel internationally again, but I guess every time is different, and it will be different from here on out, which is okay. I'm also not going to let my anxiety stop me from pursuing my dream of traveling the world, because why would I? It hasn't stopped me yet.

Throughout the time here, we’ve traveled to the most beautiful places (Cinque Terre/Monterosso) and I’ve been soaking it all in. Some of the days here have been better than others, and going to the sea was easily one of the best days here. It was beautiful, and there’s something about the water that seems to calm me.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare

We traveled to Milan, as well, and it was really cool to see the things you’ve seen in photos, but it was just a bit overwhelming with all of the people. We did rent bikes and travel through the city a bit, and that was really fun, too.

For anyone who has anxiety, you know that it’s really not fun when it gets bad. It’s so frustrating when you’re trying your very best to be proactive about it, and nothing seems to help. You feel pretty hopeless, like there isn’t much you can do. You’re constantly in a back and forth battle with your mind, and it literally makes no sense. It’s not rational, and you know it’s not, but it all seems so real. It’s so confusing, right?

With that being said, this past week a speaker of this program that I’m taking part in in Italy said something that really spoke to me. “Take the things that you can’t change about yourself, view it as an asset.”

Try to find these things, even the things that make no sense at all, and think about how they could be making a positive change in your life. Maybe you’re more intuitive because of your anxiety, and maybe you can catch on to how people are feeling or not feeling at times. Ya know?

Anxiety is confusing and makes no sense, and it sucks really bad at times. I really wish it didn’t exist, but it’s part of who I am, and I need to realize that I can’t change that. Taking control of how you think about the things you wish weren’t a part of you really changes your mindset about the frustrations around it.

I’ve found that ‘me time’ is incredibly important too. Whether that means getting away from your phone, reading a book, taking a nap, drinking more water, or meditating (or whatever it is that you do). This helps with mindfulness and taking control of your thoughts as much as you can, which is incredibly important with the process of getting better.

The thing that I always find comforting is knowing that your support system will be there for you through the thick and thin. The good times, and the bad. Even if they don’t get it, they’re always there to talk or to listen, and as mentioned before, being so far away is tough, but knowing they’re a phone call or a facetime call or a text away, is helpful.

All I know is that even when you’re going through a cloudy patch and things don’t seem like they’re ever going to get better, they do.  The sunshine always seems to peek out, and things get better. It always has been that way with me, even when it doesn't seem like it will.

It’s okay to not feel okay at times, because it will get better. I promise you, and I’m hoping that for those of you that are also dealing with anxiety or mental illness, you find peace with this post. I know that writing helps me, and I hope that this can help you too. xo, Marissa