The Social Life of an Anxious, Depressed Guy

Oh hi. It’s been a while. I was meant to write all about my journey through volunteering but then I moved to the other side of the world and just completely forgot to blog. I ended up a little busy so we’re going to just roll with the punches and write about whatever is on my mind tonight!

I was searching for a job for a few months. During that time I spent as much time as I could with my best friend and she ended up becoming my girlfriend which is incredible exciting. I’ve been getting accustomed to my new life in Australia by learning as much as I can about the charity sector here and getting stuck in working for an emergency food relief charity, learning the lingo and getting used to the systems in place in an Australian workplace.

All the while though, I’ve been trying to adjust to a new kind of social life. I have a couple really great friends here who I am 100% comfortable with and really love being around them, but I do (obviously) still miss all my friends in the UK. My friends in the UK and I have years and years of history, jokes and shared experiences and it was easy.

Now, however, I have to make a conscious effort to try to make friends which, for someone with anxiety and depression, is incredibly exhausting. My depression likes to remind me that I don’t really have friends over here and prevents me from going out to meet people because it convinces me that people would never want to get to know me anyway. On the days that my depression isn’t kicking my ass, my anxiety just makes me terrified to talk to people, to make conversation, scared to say the wrong things or anything at all.

All that aside, I’m very happy and very lucky. I have the most supportive, wonderful friends and girlfriend both here in Australia and back home in the UK and slowly, I’m re-learning to deal with my mental health in a brand new environment and with fewer of my usual support networks.

This might sound like I’m miserable here, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I feel more comfortable and at home here than I have felt in London for a long time, despite knowing less people. I’m able to explore a country with one of the unique landscapes and wildlife in the world. I get to spend time with people that I rarely ever got to see when I lived in the UK. Mostly though, no matter how down I get about missing the UK, I am so proud that I took the risk, the blind leap to come here because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all this side of the world has to offer, I wouldn’t have got together with my best friend and I wouldn’t be in the best mental place I’ve been in a long time.

Trying to find a new social life in a new country is tough, exhausting and anxiety inducing but for me, at least, it’s worth that struggle to be able to say that I have two places that I can call home.


Happy New Year! So Long 2018!

Good lord, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything on here hasn’t it??

We’re only a few hours from 2019 so for all those who like to celebrate, Happy New Year!

I can’t believe that 2018 has gone so quickly. It feels like yesterday that I ran away to the other side of the world for a month and had the best time. I can’t believe Christmas is over already. Generally I love Christmas, people are happier, everything in London looks amazing and there’s just something magical about how the country reacts to Christmas. That said, Christmas time also leaves me feeling a little alone and quite stressed out.

Through no fault of their own, I always feel like a bit of an outcast with my family. I have nothing in common with any of them and we just don’t share the same interests. They’re all great but I always feel super uncomfortable at family gatherings. It’s hard to explain but it’s a thing. On top of that, the idea of Christmas parties, forced fun and interaction and everyone getting absolutely smashed does not add up to a particularly fun time for me. But, like I said, it’s almost over and I can look forward to 2019

This year coming up, I’m heading back to Australia. For more than a month. I’m going to be going for a year or two. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while now but obviously didn’t want to talk about it until everything was sorted out! 🙂

For me, I felt so at home in Australia. My friends and family there made me feel super relaxed and welcome. The weather genuinely helped me feel more positive about life (apart from the constant sweat stains) and really made my mood jump up.

2019 is a huge year for me and I can’t wait to get out there and see if I can start a new life across the world, take some banging photos and make some sort of difference in another country.

So, once again, Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a 2019 full of adventures and exciting times! 🙂


My Australian Adventure: Part 3

So far in Australia I’ve been out almost every day. When I’ve not got plans with friends and family my plan always consists of walking in town until I find something cool to do/see and spend some time doing that. Today and yesterday I’ve been feeling a little rough. My body and brain are completely exhausted. I woke up today feeling a dizzy and a tiny bit queasy, my legs are feeling weak and my head is aching. I was hoping this wouldn’t happen but I clearly haven’t been managing my energy very well. I get that when you’re on holiday you want to do and see as much as you can but I’m definitely in need of a couple days of lazing around.

At home, I plan my social activities very careful so that I don’t get overwhelmed but I spent the first couple weeks in the city walking until I get hungry, eating and then going to something and being back by 4/5pm. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot for most people but for me, all the noises, people and things going on in busy cities can get a bit much. My brain can only process so much every day and I’m struggling to keep it in check while I’m being exposed to so many new things at once.

So yesterday and today I’ve been focused on trying to get my head back into a good space. I know it might seem like a waste of two days while I’m on holiday but I need the break from the fun to be able to enjoy the last two weeks in Australia. The main thing that I’m struggling with here is sleep. Even though I’m going to bed much earlier than I do in the UK, I’m not getting the good rest that I need. I’m regularly waking up in the middle of the night and super early in the morning and I’m having some freaky dreams that seem to be waking me up too.

One thing that I know I struggle with and I know lots of other people with mental health problems struggle with is the guilt of resting. Half of my brain is telling me “what the fuck are you doing? Get out and keep exploring. You don’t have much time here.” While the other half of my brain is telling me “stop. Just for a little while.” So while I definitely want to make the most of my time here I’m also here to rest and relax. So I won’t feel bad about taking a day or two to rest up and get ready for the last stretch of my holiday.

So many people feel guilty for taking time out for themselves but my message to people is “don’t”. I know it’s hard to just switch your mindset. It’s almost impossible. But try your best to remind yourself that you need a break to be able to get on with life. Everyone needs to rest. If you need to rest a little more than others, by all means, take that time and get your body and your brain ready for the next exciting adventure.


My Australian Adventure: Part 2

So I was just in Melbourne staying with one of my best buds and man have I been learning a lot about Australia. For example, despite it’s name the Huntsman spider isn’t poisonous and it builds some pretty spectacular webs. Gum tree sap is explosive so if there’s a bushfire near the a lot of gum trees, run as far as you can, as fast as you can.

Melbourne is a beautiful city which is full of culture, art, food and fun. I’ve had the chance to go to the Moomba Festival and watch some people jump off a pier into a notoriously stinky river to raise money for charities of their choice, visit a cracking museum/gallery which currently has a spectacular installation which consists of dozens of giant skulls piled up and scattered across a room. I’ve eaten amazing vegan food at Serotonin (which is now one of my favourite places on earth) and some great dumplings which remind me of home and climbed 1000 steps to get some incredible views of a stunning forest (I am very very unfit and now my butt muscles hurt so much I can barely walk…). I’ve also been hosted by one of the most wonderful friends and her incredible, kind and welcoming family who I’m incredibly grateful to have finally met after all these years!

This post though is going to be about a very specific thing I got up to with my friend, her boyfriend and a bunch of his friends. They organised a huge city wide scavenger hunt. 30+ people turned up to win prizes that were both pretty bad and absolutely brilliant at the same time. A toy watch, a smiley face plastic ball, a set of maracas and more. The scavenger hunt had us recreating famous images, paintings, photos, movies, solving riddles, finding hidden bottles of gin and doing some other wacky things. It was physically and mentally exhausting competing in a new city half way across the world while also meeting dozens of new people and trying not to fuck things up for my team but holy crap was it fun.

And that’s the thing. It was fun to play a game with people with no goal other than to have a bloody great time. We all have to get old but does that always mean we have to grow up? So many people complain about having to “adult” and how boring it is being an adult. I have made the same comments and I’m guilty of being a total buzzkill sometimes too. But I think the reason we end up bitter, jaded and whiny adults is because we forget how to play. One thing that I always used to love as a kid that would help me to destress was play. Whether that was with my Pokémon toys, my PS1 or football in the garden with a tennis ball. Now I often have to remind myself to play more especially when I’m working a full time job.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying plan an elaborate scavenger hunt for 30 of your friends every week (although if you do, I’d be up for taking part). I’m saying to try to go back to playing when you get the opportunity. Use your lunch breaks to play some games on your phone (or if you’re like me, on your 3DS or PS Vita) or go outside with your colleagues and play a game of football using your jackets as the goalposts. At the weekends don’t just go to the pub every weekend. I love the pub but this week has reminded me how much fun actually playing is rather than just sitting and drinking. You can still catch up with your friends but you just get to do it while recapturing some of your youthful energy. That’ll only disappear if we let it. We all say that we’re “too busy” and we can’t take a break but there is always something that can wait.

A couple friends and I have a semi regular Friends marathon, KFC/vegan kebab, alcohol and Uno. And you know what? The food and the booze is great but the Uno really brings us together the most through competition and smack talk. The scavenger hunt let me see the city of Melbourne in a totally new way and allowed me to meet a bunch of new people while having silly, wacky fun.

This scavenger hunt reminded me to play more and it’s a damn shame that it took a trip half way across to reinforce that to me. Hopefully this post will help you play more and stress less! Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Post 1000 steps. Tip for future steppers, don’t take a back pack full of camera gear.


Australia Part 1

So after over a decade I finally got myself out of the UK for a little while. I’m currently staying with my uncle and cousin in Sydney, Australia. I very rarely get to see them so I’m super stoked to be spending some time with them all. It’s only been a few days and jet lag has made things a bit slow but I’m getting the hang of things over here and learning a bit more about the city. So here are the things I’ve learned already.

  1. People are very considerate in public.

In my three days here so far I have barely seen anyone smoking in the street. I’ve been told that people just don’t smoke in the street or in public unless they’re away from other pedestrians. It’s not a law apparently. It’s just good manners.

2. Its very clean.

Alongside that, the city is remarkably clean considering how many people and tourists go through the city every day. The suburbs are even spotless. It seems that people just don’t litter as much and/or the waste management teams in Sydney are fantastic. Either way it’s great.

3. The shops are fucking great.

It was a little bit rainy today so I went and did some shopping instead of doing all the sites. (I want the weather to be banging so that I can get some dope pics for the gram). The three main stores that I went to were EB Games, JB Hi Fi and Books Kinokuniya. By comparison the stores in the UK might as well be a car boot sale. Kinokuniya and JB were particularly impressive. I’ve never seen a bookstore with such variety before. Western literature was abundant as per, but the thing that surprised me was the selection of comic books, manga, merchandise, and entire Japanese and Chinese sections to the store. JB Hi Fi is a strange mish mash of different things. Video games, dvds, PC gaming peripherals, phones, tablets, laptops, drones, cd’s, vinyl. You name it they had it. Also they had some banging deals on so I bought an iPad which I’m typing this on right now!

4. Nature is scary, brilliant and annoying.

On my visit to Toronga Zoo, I learned about a lot of different creatures. From the cute to the demonic. The Lyre Bird can mimic the sound of anything it hears. It is fantastic. The variety of snakes and spiders that can kill you is pretty special. But most notably are the lorikeets who are so obnoxiously loud (as my cousin put it) that they wake me up every morning at sunrise.

5. The beaches are more amazing than I imagined.

No words. Just look at these photos.


nyway, it’s early days yet. I’m going to Melbourne soon and will be in Australia until the end of the month so I’ll be sure to share my learnings with you.