Why you should (and can) travel if you have depression
Traveling with depression
Three years ago I was diagnosed with depression and still have it. I have been traveling with depression. Travel has become a natural therapy for me. Initially, I thought I would just go away for three months and visit family. I booked a trip to my birth country. 9 months and 38 countries later and I am still traveling. Amazing right! I am still alive and no longer just want my life to end. I also no longer walk around with hate towards anyone. It was so easy to lay blame. In this article, I will share some advice and tips I think will be helpful for anyone wanting to travel who may have some mental health conditions.
I am in a few travel groups and often I will see some raise the question in regards to medication. Yes, you can take it with you!
Just check whether your specific drug is illegal in the country you intend to visit. I have been to 38 countries with a large quantity of prescription medication and not once has anyone stopped me and asked about it.
I did get my doctor to write a letter that I need this medication in the event I am queried about it. See your doctor and get him to issue you with the required scripts. My doctor gave me enough for three months. I quit my medication myself after about 5 months of travel. I am still alive. Today life is my drug.
The point is that it is possible to take enough medication with you. My doctor was prepared to give the scripts to my parents and they would collect my medication and mail it to me. All this was prearranged. Alternatively, you may also be able to see a doctor on your travels to get a new prescription and fill it. Now with this known do not let this be an excuse why you can’t travel for an extended period.
I have two forms of therapy. One is Cassandra Michael a positive psychology coach. We are doing various types of therapy. Primarily focusing on mindfulness and positivism. Between us we will arrange a suitable time to do video calls. Every now and then we may have a conversation even via messenger where she will guide me through an activity for that day. I have found her to be extremely helpful and would recommend her for anyone wishing to set off on a long-term journey. If you are worried you will not be able to continue to see your psychologist. Click HERE if you want to get in touch with Cassandra.
Additionally, I have some skeletons in the closet where I need to work on previous abuse. For this, I have arranged Skype sessions with a psychologist. My therapy is covered by my previous employer and in that regard I am fortunate. If you feel you will need ongoing therapy whilst traveling try and build a relationship with a psychologist/psychiatrist before leaving.
Before your first session call up and ask if you end up going away whether it be possible to arrange sessions via Skype. Being Australian I am still liable and entitled to Medicare. Through your GP you can get sessions covered under Medicare. The point is- do not let this be a reason you do not travel. There are always ways around to give you the continued support and care you need.
Quitting my medication
This was not a decision made lightly. I had been on anti-depressants and Valium for 2 years. We all know our minds better than any medical professional. I was prescribed this medication for a reason. I will know if I will need to go back on them. But for now, I am not constantly crying non-stop like I did the prior three months before I started taking them. At that time they kept me alive. They stopped me from taking drastic measures like ending my life.
There was a period this year I was awake 48 hours straight. Then sleeping 16 hours. I had no routine. I was missing out on every day. The purpose of travel was defeated. I felt defeated. There was no normality and routine in my life. I was not taking my medication regularly. For anyone who has taken them or is on them will know you have to take it the same time every day and they can affect your sleep. So if I wake up at 5 pm then take them I will not fall asleep again till the next morning. For this reason, I had to stop.
Initially, I was getting brain zaps from not taking them as needed. I had no routine and was doing more harm to my mind. Feeding my body anti-depressants irregular than not taking them at all was not helpful. I have stopped and since it has been five months of a journey of me trying to feel normal again and alive. Personally, I am not against medication. I know how they can save your life out of personal experience and would never advise anyone to take this step without guidance from their doctor.
Travel v Materialistic Items
A study recently proclaimed that we receive more and longer lasting dopamine from experiences compared to possessions. I am no expert but out of the experience, I can vouch for this. My one suitcase and life on the road is making me happier than all my belongings lying in a container collecting dust and rats. Right now I have control of my life. I get to decide where I want to go and how long for. Finally there is no employer who will care if I am alive or dead at 70. I have learned our graves are all the same size and I would much rather collect experiences than items.
Now Book your next trip!
No surprise here I will advocate you should travel. Each person’s circumstances are unique. Anyone can travel with depression. Personally, for me, travel has given me a purpose and a life again. I felt lost and empty. Now I am always heading somewhere new. I hope you will experience the same.
Want to read more and learn why I am no longer visiting every country within 500 days? Well just Click HERE
If you enjoyed this article and found this useful PIN it!