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How travelling helped me through depression

Background…

It seems like I’ve had depression since forever but that’s not really the case. In the fall of 2012, without any apparent reason, I started to feel really low almost all the time but it wasn’t until 2016 that I reached out for professional help. I started having weekly sessions with a psychotherapist. In 2016 when things got really out of control and I couldn’t even manage to get out of bed I went to a psychiatrist and started taking anti-depressants.

So depression is an old friend keeping me company since 2014. Some days are better than others and now I’ve learned different ways of managing it but still, there are days when depression won’t let any other thought come into my head.

 

What helped me through my depression…

Here’s the thing with mental health problems: there’s is no clear cause and effect. You may think medication helped me get back on my feet but it may be so that therapy helped me more than those pills I still take every day. Or you may think therapy made all the difference but really what actually helped me was getting out of my comfort zone.

So while I can’t just say that traveling got me living again, I do think it helped me a great deal. I obviously can’t deny the effects of medication. On my worst days, I couldn’t care less about traveling. I didn’t even feel like going to the park near my house for that matter, let alone travel the world. At that point, it was those pills that helped me. So I think it would be fair to say that a lot of things combined to make me who I am today.

How traveling helped…

Traveling didn’t just help me through depression but it generally made me so much more confident than I thought I could ever be. It is rewarding in many ways but for me, the most important benefit of traveling is that it helps you grow as a person. If you return the same person as you were before traveling then in my humble opinion you have not only wasted your money but also your time and energy.

When you travel, you gain a lot of perspectives. You see things in a different way. You have to interact with people who belong to another world which forces you to come out of your subjective reality and see how big the world is.

My first time out of comfort zone…

The first time I actually felt the enormity of this world is when I went to Hunza. I had traveled many times before that but always within my comfort zone. I was surrounded by my huge family and went to almost the same places every year. So this was all new, new people, new place, and new dynamics.

When I went to Khunjerab pass which is the highest border of the world that is when it hit me how far away I was from home, from my comfort zone, and from my people. I felt a strange sense of independence. I could feel strength running through my veins. Here I was almost a thousand kilometers from home, around sixteen thousand feet above the ground. With the rush of adrenaline, I promised myself to never give up traveling, to always love myself enough to treat myself with this feeling of being alive.

How much I love traveling now…

Since then I’ve traveled to Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. With each place I see, my longing to travel the world grows. I’ve become so tolerant and self-confident that I would never have become without getting out my hometown. I’ve become a go-getter and that’s a lot to say for someone like me who had unlimited excuses to get away from taking control of my life.

Travelling is my biggest motivation for everything. And I’m so glad that on that day standing sixteen thousand feet above the ground, I decided to see as much of this world as I can.

Depression, travelling
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10 thoughts on “How travelling helped me through depression

  1. Beautiful! I am happy that you have found something that has helped in your healing. For me, travel has also helped to push me out of my comfort zone and grow beyond measure, also giving me more tolerance, compassion, and appreciation of other people and cultures! My husband visited Pakistan in 2013 right before we met,and of all of his travel, he still says it is one of his favorite places. I hope to go there as well one day! Blessings to you on your journey~

  2. I’m so glad you found something that helps you! And traveling! That must be an amazing activity. I hope to do more when my children are older.

  3. Somehow can relate to you. Traveling opens a lot of door to me. I found my happiness and almost forgot that I suffered from depression before I traveled

  4. Thanks for sharing.Yes solo travel enables self discovery and you end up learning things about yourself you never knew.This learning will help you grow further and reach your full potential.

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