note: Lilo now has her own blog. You can find her at Deafinitely Without Barriers.
So I am sure you can see that Stacey and I haven’t been much active the past few months. I wish I can say it’s for a good reason….
Stacey has her internship while attending her last year of graduate school in Marriage and Family Thearpy (MFT) program. She is quite a busy bee these days. That’s great, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. However, on the other hand, what about me?
Whenever I get a chance, obviously I would travel. But lately, something has been holding me back. Something that I would never wish on anyone.
Unfortunately, not many people understand depression and they think it’s so easy to just “get over it” and move on. That’s not the case…
Some days, I have energy where it can last for hours, a day or even more. Then some days, I don’t.
My heart yearns to see what’s out there and seek adventures but yet, I can feel all the weights I am carrying on my back that slows me down. Literally.
I know, I know, you are probably thinking – well just force yourself to get out there.
It’s easier said than done.
Just because I explore out there doesn’t mean that depression won’t be there.
In fact, it’s always lurking right on my shoulders that are constantly trying to get me down.
When I traveled to the East Coast with a friend for two weeks, he didn’t know that I have depression. I chose not to tell him because I didn’t want to be judged solely on my depression and, also, because it’s not really something I am proud of. During my trip, it was a struggle. Some days I really didn’t have the energy to go out, and I just wanted to stay in bed but I would put my mask on with my smiley face and pushed myself out the day.
Even when I went to Central America for two months, depression hit me hard when I was on my solo trip to Guatemala. This time, I had no one to feel pressured from to go out and in fear of holding my travel buddies from missing out. Yet, I only had a big fight against myself. My mind was thinking, “I only have two weeks to explore before I head back home” while my body felt fatigue. When I stayed in the hostels, I really had to make an effort to socialize with other travelers even if I want my alone time. I can’t just tell them to go away. So again, I put the mask back on.
My point is….
Traveling can’t heal depression but rather, it can help you cope with it
Some people have a misconception that traveling is used to heal depression. Research had shown that travel can be the best for your health especially with how endorphins (the good stuff) are released in our bodies to make us feel good. However, you can’t run away from your feelings and your issues, but we can try our best to cope with it.
There are some days where depression may win…… but it hasn’t completely won my life. I have accepted this dark side of me and learn to cope with it in many different positive ways.
The ways I have been coping with depression whether at home or during my travel:
It’s also important to keep in mind that traveling itself can be quite exhausting with the constant exploring, not enough sleep, getting lost or feeling frustrated when things don’t go as planned. So for a person with depression and anxiety, it’s important to listen to your body and let yourself recharged.
Depression can definitely take its toll on me, no matter what I do but I am thankful for having my family and friends who can understand me and still supports me. It is my hope that we can fight against the stigma on depression and other mental illnesses and let people know that anything is possible.
To anyone who has depression, I just want you to know that you are strong. You are capable of doing anything. You are not your depression. You are beautiful. Trust me when I say, go for your dreams.
If you want to travel, do it. Don’t let depression hold you back.