On the Road with Bipolar Disorder



You can plan for everything when you travel. You can work on your bipolar, deal with the time change, make sure your relationships are good back home, study languages, save your money, pay for a great place to stay, pack your bags well, DO IT ALL!

But you will never be able to control the situation created by the people you meet.

My trip to England last year could be described as a perfect storm of what you don’t want to happen when you arrive in a new country.

The first day I arrived, I was attacked by a huge and I do mean huge dog. On the second day, I realized that my friend’s marriage was abusive and falling apart before my eyes. I was staying in their house.

I already had anxiety. I left my life in America to move to Europe for a year. This wasn’t a vacation. I had to make it work!

My friend and I had it all planned. I would stay at her house for six weeks and then go on to France. I saved my money. I changed my work schedule so that I could do my coaching from England. I did everything RIGHT. Then a fractured marriage and a huge dog changed everything. I realized I had made a grave error. I assumed that all was fine where I planned to stay. This was not the case.

If you are staying with someone, think of where that person is in life and how their behavior might affect your bipolar disorder.

I know how to manage my illness, but my friend’s extreme stress got to me. My anxiety went through the roof and I started having anxiety thoughts:

This isn’t going to work Julie. You are going to have to find another place to stay. She is upset with you. Your stuff is in the way. You need to keep out of the way. You made a mistake, you are NOT welcome here. She is kind and you care about her, but she is having a tough time.  You have to get out of here. 

This is hard to hear in your head the first few days you are in a new place. It eventually turned into paranoid psychosis. This was not how I pictured my exciting move to Europe.

I tried every single day for weeks to manage my bipolar disorder.  I simply couldn’t.  The atmosphere in the house was too much of a trigger for this illness.  I finally left.  This was devastating as you can imagine, but managing bipolar disorder has to come first. If I were a regular person, I could have stayed and then gone on my way in six weeks.

But I am not a regular person. I have a serious mental illness called bipolar disorder. I learned an important lesson about myself and traveling.

Travel is one of the greatest opportunities in life.  It is also a great trigger of bipolar disorder symptoms.

Think of my story the next time you travel and plan ahead. Where you stay and who you stay with truly matter.





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