I left my dream life in London to improve my mental health

I’m typing this from a Starbucks in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

I can’t begin to tell you how out of character this is and it seems unintentionally poignant that I’m uprooting my life on World Mental Health Day.

Scrolling through my Twitter feed in between flights to Australia, I’m confronted (or comforted, rather) by various first person tales of bidding farewell to dream jobs in favour of your mental health.

It’s a story I know all too well. Having spent the last seven or so years living in London, I’m now facing the reality of a relocation to Melbourne, Australia.

On paper, my London life was a total success and for the most part, it was much the same in reality. Even more than that, London is my home and the perfect base for my career.

At the point of making my decision to move across the world, I held a rewarding editor position, rented my own flat and enjoyed a flourishing social life. The pressures of being your own worst critic, however, quickly led to me burning out both physically and emotionally.

Having taken a month or so out of work between moving, I’ve come off anti-depressants completely, reintroduced exercise back into my routine and found pleasure in writing again.

One flight down 🖖

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These are all aspects of my life that I was struggling to deal with at the back end of 2015. I’d lost motivation for my work, lacked confidence in decision making and pulled away from society.

Panic attacks were more regular than not and days spent slumped under a duvet became the only solution to sadness.

Despite the pull of my depression, I’ve always wanted to see far beyond the walls of my North London studio flat. I was sure that my career would take me across the world if I wanted it to, but I didn’t know where to begin.

I may not have even landed in Australia as I type this, but the fact that I’m trying – I’ve gotten out of bed and I’ve packed my suitcase – has allowed me to gain better perspective, improved self-belief and an adrenaline for life again.

It seems silly but as I hurriedly write this before my departure gate opens, I realise that before the matter of success is considered, trying to make some sort of change in your own life is almost worth more than the outcome itself.

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