It can be hard for people who want to live full lives but can’t control their anxiety around most aspects of their day to day. I myself want a life of adventure. But anxiety, especially travel anxiety, always rears it’s ugly head. How can someone lead an enriching life if they get overly anxious about just the thought of getting out of bed and getting to work on time.
‘Did I set the alarm for the right time? Did I definitely prepare and pack lunch? What am I doing with my life? Should I wear the blue top tomorrow? Am I happy? Why can’t I sleep?’ Etc etc etc.
One such person who openly talks about his struggles with anxiety is my guest for this post, Ronnie Cane, writer on https://www.nottoosure.com/. I first came across Ronnie on Twitter (@Ronniecanerc) and was immediately drawn to his open and honest views on his own experiences and thoughts about mental health.
There are also some great motivational tweets in his feed which Twitter can sometimes seem lacking in. Having checked out his website https://ronniecane.com/ I was keen to ask Ronnie what his thoughts are on mental health, particularly in the worlds of travel and plant based diets.
When did you first realise that you had anxiety and depression?
I believe I’ve had it since my early teenage years, however I was only diagnosed at the age of 16.
What inspired you to start a blog about your mental health experiences? Were you scared to do it? Also, what responses have you had?
If I’m being honest, I was terrified. There is nothing more terrifying than looking inwards and expressing what is there… This is the reason why only a handful of people do it!
You’ve talked in your blog (ronniecane.com) about the ‘busy mind’. Can you explain more about that concept?
Sure – I think busyness is a cause of a lot of our issues. Our culture and society is one of severe hurries. Sit on a bench anywhere in any city and you will discover a swarm of people scurrying in a cloud of chaos. There is nothing to be busy about in our biology, besides emptying our bowels, passing water, hydrating and feeding ourselves and our loved ones. Other than that – everything has been created in our brain artificially. A busy mind is a disease that only you have the cure for.
Do you think that there’s a stigma attached to men having mental health problems? For example, have you been told to ‘just man up’ or ‘grow some balls’?
Absolutely. It’s getting better, though. I have never been told those specific things, but I put that down to the fact I have pretty much always been open and transparent about my mind, so no one can really attack me.
Would you say that diet can have an effect on mental health? This includes obvious junk and snack foods, but also vegetarian and vegan diets?
I am a big believer that junk food creates a junk mind. Eating poorly makes you think poorly. I do indeed also see and understand the benefits of plant based diets, and although I am not a vegetarian, I respect it.
Have you experienced travel anxiety? Whether going to a different part of the UK or another country? Or does the anxiety prevent you from travelling at all?
Yes, several times. However, if there is one thing I am good at, it is turning up. Despite any anxiety attacks, I always use all my strength to face it.
I myself have had travel anxiety when on holiday. I’m having a great time then all of a sudden I get overwhelmed. Everything around me seems somehow magnified. I feel distanced from those around me. I can’t hold in the anxiety and I break down. Why do you think this happens?
I believe this to be because you’re in a place that is not familiar to yourself and more susceptible to feeling uncomfortable. Also, please remember sometimes there isn’t a reason for anxiety – it can just happen.
I hate to think of people missing out on great experiences because of their anxieties, but understand their fear. What advice do you have for those who want to take risks but may also suffer with travel anxiety?
Just to understand that turning up is 80% of the battle. Once you’re there, understand that you can remove yourself from the situation at any time.
What do you think influences travel anxiety? Media influence? Word of mouth? Or is it more internal, perhaps other fears coming into play? Agoraphobia or fear of flying for example.
There are several fears, like flying, however I think it’s internal, but like I said, being in an uncomfortable environment can flare up anxiety.
What’s some of the most valuable advice you’ve learned about mental health?
I practice stoicism and Buddhism, so I always tune in to those beliefs when I am seeking advice or support. ‘Amor Fati’ and ‘Memento Mori’ are two of my favourite phrases. Translating respectively to ‘love of fate’ and ‘remember your mortality’.
And lastly; what’s your favourite cup of tea?
I actually don’t drink tea! I am a big coffee drinker, however I have never got into drinking tea. I’d be open to suggestions, though!
Try Chamomile tea. It is known for its calming effects. I’d also recommend green tea, especially versions with spearmint or lemongrass. Green tea has been known to be a mood booster. It’s also packed with antioxidants which are great for your health. And the lemongrass and spearmint are good mood lifters.
You can check out Ronnie Cane’s website here: https://ronniecane.com/
Ronnie’s Blog: https://www.nottoosure.com/
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/Ronniecanerc