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Travelling Alone with a Mental Health Issue

You have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. However, you are determined not to let it affect the quality of your life. The truth is that the mental illnesses have become one of the leading causes of disability in modern world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 450 million people worldwide today suffers from some form of mental illness. Furthermore, as the WHO reports, one in four people will be affected by mental disorder at some point in their life. This is a pretty shocking statistics, isn’t it?

However, a lot of people manage to maintain a quality life style despite of their struggle with a mental health disorder. They continue to go to school, work and travel.

Back to the World Health Organization’s statistics, this means that every fourth person you see boarding the plane, sunbathing on the beach or backpacking European cities suffers from some form of mental illness.

Mental illness doesn’t stop the life. And this is certainly the way it should be. Nevertheless, if you are a traveler with a mental health issue who is planning to travel alone, you might want to take care of a few things before you start your trip.

  1. Consult Your Health Care Provider

Talk to your doctor before you begin your journey. Always make sure that you have everything covered before you leave. Make a list of questions before the appointment with your doctor, so you don’t miss anything important.

Ensure that you have everything you need when traveling. This may include prescriptions, emergency contact information or medication dosages. Furthermore, you can also have ready the contact details of health centers and hospitals in the cities you plan to visit. Make sure you bring enough medication with you. This will help you feel relaxed and confident while traveling alone with a mental health issue.

  1. Make a Pre-Travel List

Make a list of the things you will need to take into account while traveling. Be aware of the time difference and the possible jet-lag issues that may worsen your condition. Furthermore, make sure you research the things like language, currency and medical care availability in your destination. Make certain that you are covered with travel medical insurance during your itinerary.

In addition, ensure that your family and close friends always know where you are and can get a hold of. Stay in touch with them while you are overseas.

Make sure your passport is safe and secured. Have your country’s embassy or consulate contact details, in case you need your government’s assistance.

Ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses while on your journey.

  1. Take Your Medical History with You

Always make sure you bring a letter from your doctor with you while travelling. This letter should describe your medical condition and medication you are using and traveling with. Your medical history paperwork may be a valuable source of information in case you need to seek of a health professional while abroad alone.

  1. Have Your Coping Techniques Ready

Some types of travel can be more stressful than the others. For instance, you might be at higher risk if you are traveling to attend a family event like a wedding, baptism or a funeral than you would be if traveling to a seaside resort.

Furthermore, flight delays, missed flights, rescheduled busses may cause your anxiety levels to elevate. That’s why you need to have your coping strategies while traveling at hand even before you start your trip.

Make sure you stick to your coping techniques wile overseas, regardless of the time and place you find that you need them. If you need to meditate at the airport, do not hesitate to do that. In fact, many airports today have special rooms for praying/meditating purposes that you can use for free.

Bring something that reminds you of home, just in case you get homesick and you need something familiar to comfort you.

Furthermore, ensure that you can get hold of your mental health provider while away, just in case.

  1. Stick to Healthy Habits

Do not increase alcohol or drugs intake while you are traveling. Take plenty of safe drinking water, fruits and fibers. Take care of what you eat and where you buy your food. Make sure you are getting enough of sleep. This is very important, especially if you are traveling to different time zones. Exercise whenever possible.

  1. Allow Yourself a Bit of Adventure

This absolutely doesn’t mean you are should engage in any kind of dangerous behavior. However, you need to allow yourself some fun while you are traveling. Meet new people, try new food and visit as many interesting and inspiring places as possible.

If you start feeling overwhelmed, though, seek medical attention and stick to your coping strategies. Believe in yourself and your ability to handle the situation.

Traveling alone with a mental health condition may seem scary and tense. Nevertheless, if you leave your home well prepared for this adventure, traveling may lessen your stress and anxiety levels and boost your self-esteem.  Additionally, traveling alone may broaden your horizons and positively affect your personality and overall well-being.


Author : Natasha Tanic

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