Let me begin by saying this: I am not very open about my struggles with depression with the people in my life. I don’t know why I feel like having some random blog on the internet is any different but somehow in my mind, it is. When I meet other people who are struggling, I so badly want to help them but my brain forces my mouth to stay silent. I have been inspired by many other stories of people who have used travel as a way to cope with their depression that I decided it was time I share my story too and that this was a good platform to do so.
I have bad days all the time -and I mean all the time. When I say I had a bad day, I don’t mean I simply felt sad for most of the day. What I really mean is, I spend the day physically not being able to lift my head off my pillow. I spent the day doing a combination of sleeping and staring at the ceiling in the with the lights off and the windows closed. My mind was blank. For some reason when I get like this, its hard for me to form thoughts. I didn’t go to work that day. I didn’t answer my phone that day. My friends and coworkers have tried calling to make sure I was ok but I didn’t pick up because I couldn’t even fathom that anyone would care so much as to check on me. Bad days usually don’t last just one day. They usually are around 2, 3 or sometimes even 4 days. It’s impossible to shake myself out of them. I just have to hope I wake up feeling better soon. When I do, its like nothing ever happened. The past few days are blurry and life goes back to normal. I’ve been on every medication in the book, tried every coping mechanism and this is still my life. Its discouraging. I’m not even going to pretend its not. I’m not going to discredit my medications or my doctors because believe me, compared to where I was a year ago, I feel a hundred times better. But bad days still happen. Often. There is no telling when they are going to happen. I could have something planned that day that I have looked forward to for months and if that day happens to be a bad one, there’s no way in hell I’m going to follow through with those plans.
Bad days are my constant fight even when I have good intentions. Sometimes when I feel mood starting to decline, I try changing my pace for the day. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it does not. I’ve also found that the more excited I am about life at the time, the fewer and farther between my bad days become. That is where travel comes into play. I am in no way an experienced world traveler -yet. Most of my travel is domestic with a focus on visiting all 50 states and all 59 National Parks but my list also includes destinations all over the world with a focus on Arctic areas of the world.
The thing about my bad days is not that they happen, its that I haven’t quite found a way to take control of them yet. But I am working on it and for the first time in my life, I feel I can make that statement truthfully. Travel has been my most successful tactic when it comes to combating my depression and I am very excited (and mildly terrified) to share more of my journey -the good and the bad- as it continues.