When people think of travel they think of visiting family for the holidays or taking that summer family vacation planned a year in advance. For me, travel is a way for me to check out. Literally, check out on life.
Hello, my name is Amanda and I suffer from depression caused by PTSD.
As a child, all I dreamt about was traveling around the world and having big adventures. I wanted to live in a foreign land and make friends with the locals in every country I went to. That dream came true when I enlisted in the Navy. Within 3 months I was off and seeing the world. A world through the lens of a naive 18-year-old.
Travel At the Beginning
Travel at the time was nothing more than a way for me to party each port. My liver still quivers the thought of the amount of alcohol I consumed. I didn’t see travel the way I thought I was going to. I saw it as an outlet due to long working hours aboard the ship. Each port was a mini vacation from work. Although short and spent with many other sailors you had a blip of freedom and happiness.
I will not bore you with the details of how and why I got depression. People chalked it up to family history or even me seeking attention. Nonetheless, I am here to say depression sucks. I would not wish this on my worse enemy. Days are spent worrying about things you have no control over. Your brain is running on 1000 every second of the day and night. My weight was up and down. I suffered from headaches and nightmares. My depression was so bad. That lack of sleep caused not one but two major injuries I now deal with daily.
After my military service and to be quite frank last year of hell (before I was out the military). I was in limbo with no insurance, and a baby on the way. I had to make brave face to everyone around me. Always smiling when really I was in pain. Not the kind of pain when you stump your big toe. This pain is all over your body. You can not physically pinpoint it. It is the pain of being tired. The pain of headaches, guilty, sorrow, and the blues.
A few years go by and doctors started diagnosing me with depression and would give me medication here and there but I would not take them thinking these doctors were crazy, I was in denial for years.
About a year or so ago my husband and I hit a little rough patch. He said I needed to seek help that the anger I have is stemmed from something I wasn’t telling him. I had to come clean. If I wanted this marriage to work it was now or never. So I told him my “STORY”. The look on his face and the pure guilt he had was so unbearable. The same week I was in contact with the VA and seeking medical attention.
After exam and appointments, I have been diagnosed with depression/anxiety caused by PTSD. The for letters I felt sealed my fate. The stigma no military personnel wants to ever hear. Yet, is so easily misdiagnosed and worse untreated. I now had an answer to my issues and now I had treatment.
Travel Saved My Life
I started to write in hopes I can share my life and experiences with others. What started as a makeup and hair blog. I realized that didn’t make me happy and it was actually leading me down a dark path. I then turned to my old friend and passion, TRAVEL. who doesn’t like traveling? The best escape you can ever have. I turn my passion for travel into an experience for others to witness. How I travel, where I travel to, and most importantly who I travel with. All this is what keeps my depression in check. This writing to you sharing the love of travel keeps me from the “dark side”. Traveling lets my brain relax. I can be someone else, someone no one knows. This allows my brain, body, and soul heal. Heal from my daily torment I put it through.
Travel effects your mind, body, and soul. How might you ask?
Effects of Travel
- Openness: Travel allows you to be open to experiences you might not have at home.
- Humble: Travel to a country that is not as lucky as the United States or any other 1st world countries, makes you humble in your own life.
- Unbias: Travel makes you unbias, more unlikely to be judgemental, racist, and form opinions of others.
- New Perspective: Like above travel gives you a new perspective on life and the people around you.
- Adrenaline: Travel gives you a rush of adrenaline. This can be in the form of flying for the first time to trying a new activity on vacation.
- Awareness: You become aware of yourself and the people around you.
- Present: Travel makes you be present and mindful of what you are doing.
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Reduce stress level
- Makes you creative
I hope this helps those that suffer from depression even if it is brief. If you are feeling depressed or have thoughts of suicide please contact someone.