It's been a long, 10 months since I last wrote and shared a blog with you all. I have written and deleted drafts, trying to figure out the right way to jump back into Laura Travels.
I know there is no perfect way, or formula, to write blogs - but it's been hard to find the Laura Travel's “Laura”.
I've tried writing this type of blog for a while now, but always feared it would turn out depressing and "off-brand" – given it doesn’t focus on travels. But as I'm sitting here, waiting for my new work projects, I can't help but feel that I should give a small explanation as to why I've been absent - in the hopes that it may be of help to anyone out there.
So here we go...
I've been learning what it means to be human.
No, I'm not claiming to be a mermaid from Mako Island, or a monster from Monster Inc. I'm a simple person who's learning to accept herself and everything that makes herself up - a multifaceted being.
To give insight to the not-so-pretty parts of my multifaceted self, this year I learned that asides my long "friendship" with anxiety and depression, I also have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I don't mean in this in the stigmatized sense of "I am so quirky, I am so OCD and neat", I mean this in the sense of "OCD is a monster I'm learning to co-exist with".
OCD is different for everyone, as there are many subtypes, but to share a bit of my personal experience:
On my lowest days I am consumed by intrusive thoughts 24/7 and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. It gets to a point where I am scared of myself, or doubt everything I am.
I have isolated and distanced myself from close friends because of how scared I was of my OCD. I couldn't even take a sip of hard cider, or a margarita, on Thirsty Thursdays, thinking all my intrusive thoughts would come true. Alcohol was a huge fear of mine.
Even though "Go with the flow" is what I try to live by and I love adventures, uncertainty sets my OCD on fire.
and so forth...
While I've healed tremendously since my darkest days - it's safe to say that no roommate horror stories you read on BuzzFeed, such as these, can compare to the horrors OCD can bring.
So, why am I sharing this?
I am sharing this because while it has been my hardest battle yet, it has also been the most awakening one. I also know how lonely it feels, and I want the readers of this post to know you are not alone in your battles - whether they are mental health related or not.
These past two years have caused mental health to worsen for many, if not most, individuals – whether it’s burn-out, depression and so forth – so again, you are not alone. To give a statistic, 41% of adults have reported anxiety and/or depressive disorder since the first months of the pandemic (KFF).
I also am sharing this because it has taken me 10 years to recognize I had OCD - something that for many people can take 14-17 years (Outsmarting OCD). It took for my OCD to be disabling before I realized I had it - and I wish for anyone out there to recognize their OCD before reaching a disabling point.
It took me a while to see the importance of affirmations, so I wanted to share some that have resonated recently:
I am a good person, with a good heart & good intentions.
I am not my thoughts.
Every day, I am growing and healing.
(tip for OCD - don't do affirmations if it's for reassurance)
Image: This was back in January, when I was at my worst - something I thought I had already reached in high school. It's a bit of a reminder as to how mental health is not something you necessarily see, and how you should never compare yourself, or your wellbeing, to those you see on the internet.
This new journey of mine has been a tough one, to say the least, and it truly does feel like I am learning everything all-over again. The biggest things I am re-learning are self-love and what it means to be human - a very imperfect one specifically.
As hard as it can be to accept and love, here's to being human.
Sending a big hug and YANA to all the fighters out there. Your mental health does not define you and I am so proud of you. ❤️
Resources / Sites to check out: