How Traveling Has Helped With My Depression

Traveling Has Helped With My Depression
Traveling Has Helped With My Depression

Depression is something that I have had to deal with now for the last six years of my life. While I used to think that there was something wrong with me for being depressed, the truth of it is that depression is not a choice.

It’s not like I just woke up one day and said to myself “Hey, today I want to be depressed.”

No, for me, it was hereditary. 

Everybody in my family has been diagnosed with clinical depression. It doesn’t mean that we are sad all of the time or that our lives are miserable. It simply means that we have a chemical imbalance in our brains that can sometimes make life feel more difficult than it truly is. Sometimes we get in a “funk” where everything seems foggy, and sometimes we just feel sad when there is nothing to be sad about. But if I had to guess, I would say that we only experience these foggy days a few days out of the month or so. 

Depression has definitely taken a toll on parts of my life. I have lost friends because of my depression, I have missed out on creating memories with friends because of my depression, and I stopped liking who I was as a person and started focusing on all of my imperfections. I even quit doing some of the things that I enjoyed doing the most because of my depression.

Through it all, though, there was one thing that always made me feel happy and excited. As I’m sure you can guess, that one thing that I was always excited about was traveling. 

traveling has helped with my depression

Escaping Depression

When I think about my depression, my mind immediately goes back to the places where I was living when my depression was at its peak. My childhood home, the colleges that I attended, the places I lived after graduating from college, everything is tainted with the memories of my depression. If you say the word “depression,” my mind will immediately go back to these places. 

It’s almost as if everywhere I have ever felt welcomed in my life brings back memories of my depression. While there are many good memories as well, there are also some that are painful to look back on. I just never felt as if I was able to fully escape my depression. 

How Traveling Has Helped Me With My Depression

That’s where traveling has helped, and why I am such a big fan of traveling as much as I can. There are so many amazing places to see, none of which bring back tainted memories of a darkened past. When I travel, my mind is clear and focused on all of the amazing things in front of me instead of the darkness that may be behind me. 

There is a sense of freedom and joy that I get from traveling. Not just the freedom in venturing out into new territories, but the freedom to be me. When I travel, I lose all obligation of trying to please others, I’m not worried about the stress of everyday life, and the relationship that I have with food is no longer a bad one. 

Instead, it’s just me, a clear mind, and my only focus is on enjoying myself and the environment that I am in. 

I would be lying if I always knew about this correlation between my depression and the sense of freedom that I get from traveling. Truth be told, I didn’t think about it until yesterday when I asked myself when is it that I feel the most freedom in my life. And the answer: I don’t feel free in just one place, but rather in a magnitude of places – wherever it is that I am traveling to. 

Find What Works For You

Look, I am not saying that traveling is the answer for everyone, but for me, it is the time in which I feel the freest and when I am simply able to relax and just be myself. That is why I am going to make a commitment to myself to start traveling more often. Maybe it is to another country, or maybe it is simply driving to a new city. It doesn’t necessarily matter where I travel to, but rather the sense of freedom and enjoyment that I get from traveling. 

We all have different things that bring us happiness and joy. I guess what I am trying to say, is do more of those things. Life is too short the way it is, and it’s not going to do you any good to be doing things that aren’t going to make you happy. If you want to start making the most out of your life, and if you want to find a new level of happiness that you never knew existed, then you need to start doing more of the things that make you happy. It’s as simple as that.

Michael Bonnell

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