Change of scenery as treatment for anxiety – it worked!
I was not in a very good place these past two weeks. I wasn’t sleeping again and going to bed started triggering panic attacks. I felt terrified coming home from work in the evenings; terrified that it will be another night of not being able to sleep and even more terrified that I will never go back to feeling normal again. I think I even felt depressed on some nights.
Then it was time for me to take a 3 week trip abroad to visit my family. This meant coming home and living with them the way I used to growing up. It meant having my old bed back and going back to the routine that we used to have as a family. It also meant not having to worry about chores and housework, planning meals and weekends. I wanted to share that this change of scenery worked miracles!
I’ve started sleeping really well and I actually feel completely relaxed at times. It’s been a while since I was able to lead a life without restlessness and the physical symptoms of anxiety, but I feel so different now to just a week ago! It’s like I can say hello to a new me, a calm and composed me.
So I’ve been thinking about the reasons why this long desired but sudden change happened. I’ve narrowed it down to three main reasons:
1) The stress from having to organise your life in terms of chores and planning is removed.
2) The feeling that someone – a parent – is there to take care of you, like they did when you were a child has an extremely calming effect. I found it extremely easy to regress (in psychoanalytic terms – basically to feel like a child again) and embrace being taken care of.
3) A nostalgia over the past when life was easy and I didn’t have the pressures and stress that come with being an adult was suddenly overcome. I felt satisfied and calm, knowing that it is possible to feel that things are easy again.
If I had to summarise these three points, it comes down to lifting the burden of responsibility. It is responsibility that puts a lot of pressure on adult life. Knowing that you can’t not shop for food, or clean the house, or plan your life. And being given the opportunity to not have to do or even think about these things has allowed me to identify one trigger for my anxiety, which when removed, has left me completely transformed.
I hope you found this helpful. When things get really bad, try changing the scenery. Go away for a weekend, stay at a hotel and don’t worry about meals, cooking and doing laundry. You may discover these things have been causing you a lot of emotional trouble, without you even realising!