The Journey

    Rachel Brathen practising yoga.


Recovering from mental health issues is a personal journey that sometimes require a physical journey. I read Rachel Brathen's new book  'Yoga Girl' where she talks about how she moved to Costa Rica after experiencing issues with alcohol and drugs among other things in Sweden. Rachel went to Costa Rica with some friends on holiday, hadn't planned to stay long, but the country felt right, and she ended up staying there until settling in Aruba some years later. 

Similarly I read about Åsa Larsson (who didn't deal with mental illness) in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet ('Resor') earlier this year where she described how she moved to Miami to work as an au pair. The au pair job didn't work out, and after a couple of weeks she starting hosting at clubs instead, and eventually took the bus to New York where she later worked for Marc Jacobs and became a shoe designer. She now runs her own shoe company,  Ateljé 71

The two examples above show how moving abroad can help turn around your life. Personally, my move to Madrid dramatically changed my life for the better. The second time I returned to get help, the change of environment was an essential part of my recovery. While getting therapy, I could enjoy the sunny climate which boosted my mood and gave me energy. :) I also met lots of interesting people who didn't know about my previous experiences, and I was able to re-discover myself and who I really was. Living in another country, learning a new language and handling things on my own, also improved my self esteem. I proved to myself that I could overcome complex situations such as getting a bank account, finding a room to rent and so on, while speaking a third language. 

Finally, it helped me living in a city without triggers where I could create new memories and not being reminded by buildings and other places where I had had difficult experiences. 

I believe that one should never underestimate the importance of a physical journey when overcoming mental health challenges. It may be that you need to avoid triggers where you live, just need more sun and positiveness, or certain treatment. In any case, a change of environment can help you find out who you really are, and help you meet people who don't know your background and whom you can form new friendships with. 

Have a great week! 

Lots of love,