Oh Italy & Greece. Two places I had only ever dreamed of going to. Roaming the streets as birds flew at our side, walking up and down the steps in Santorini looking out over the ocean and sky blue. Eating the most delicious pizza, listening to nothing at all but the sounds of Italians and there charismatic voices and turning down a corner to see a new picturesque street with new and unfamiliar buildings.
What no ones tell you, is how much it’s going to suck when you come home, especially if you suffer from depression.
My mom and I decided later last year that we were finally going to take a trip to Europe, one we had been talking about for years. I have been so lucky to of traveled to other amazing parts of this world like Iceland and Vietnam. This however, was going to be the longest trip away from the states, away from home, away from work, away from everything. Jumping into a completely new country, culture, language and lifestyle for 2 weeks, just me and my mom. We had an absolute blast. Never once did we get in a fight or argue, go us! Although one time we did get a little frazzled trying to hail a taxi to get out of Rome. But other than that, this trip was a dream and I am so glad I got to spend it with my mom, her first time out of North America!
Italy and Greece were everything I thought they would be and more. The languages were more beautiful to listen to, the old and slightly battered buildings were even more breathtaking to take in, the humans were even more breathtaking to take in. It was like we were living in a dream supplied with the most delicious pizza, baked goods and never ending turns and views of spectacular glory and adventure. We would sometimes walk up to 15 miles a days, multiple days in a row, but who even cared because we’d always finished it down with a bottle of wine at dinner. I could of walked for hour and hours and hours and hours. I loved taking in every breathe and every second of every minute in. I wanted to soak it all in and remember it all for years to come. I didn’t bring my laptop, didn’t bring my camera. I wanted the experience of a full vacation with no distractions what so ever, I wanted to be fully immersed.
Now, for depressed people, such as myself, being fully immersed then coming home to normalcy can be a little rough, and no one really tells you what to do.
Join me now on a little background on me and my mental health…
-I have had depression for 13 years now
-For 10 years I was on and off anti- depressants and hated it. At one point I was on 250mg of medication which caused all sorts of other problems for me while not really helping my depression overall.
-For three years now I have been off anti-depressants and am using/trying out a variety of natural based mood enchaining supplements and also taking to tuning inward and reading more self help books, hey they work.
-Also, trying to just see the brighter side and love in joy in all things. Meditating more, expressing gratitude more, laughing more. Like just now, natural based mood enhancing supplements almost corrected itself to narwal based mood enhancing supplements and now I’m in the corner of the library laughing.
Depression is something I struggle with everyday. I feel like it comes and goes in waves. I’ll have a few good months and then I’ll hit bottom for a couple months. Up and down, this has been what it’s like for me the last three years. An even amount of happy to sad, some times the sad outweighing the happy. Although I would rather take this than being on anti depressants again. I was too flat lined while on medication and I would rather take a few good months of true happiness and expression than years of just feeling content and not in control of my bodies emotions. For the most part I am overall a pretty happy person because I’ve worked really hard to get here. To wake up and no longer see all the negatives and road blocks I created for myself anymore. I choose now instead to see the silver lining, the glass half full, the light beyond the storm. It didn’t take me overnight to get here, it took a while and I still am learning everyday. Because telling a depressed person to just be happy and to just see things differently is like telling a seagull not to be a dick.
So in short, it’s hard to get out of. When you’re depressed, you’re depressed and it’s gonna take a lot more than just positive talk to get you out of bed. So when you come home from a vacation where you’re fully fucking immersed, fully in love with your surroundings, fully out of your comfort zone, fully living a different, beautiful temporary life in another world, coming home and adjusting to what you know, is kind of hard. Part of you doesn’t want to accept that you’re home and that you’re still out on an adventure roaming around the rainy streets of Florence, the steps of Greece or the canals in Venice. Part of you still wants to be there, more than anything, because there, depression didn’t exist. Only happiness, and exploration and good contentness, like everything is beautiful contentness.
Over there, possibilities were endless, the days were endless although they always did end, sadly. The days were wanted, yearned for, ready for, excited for. New sights, new sounds, new foods in a new place, my idea of ultimate happiness. Being able to break away from my life where I AM my business and my thoughts can sometimes over take my head in sometimes they take over in a negative way and bills and friendships and life and grocery shopping is always on the to-do list. But when I travel, get away, and take time from my very loved, but busy and sometimes tiring life, I get re-energized like no other. Being a Gemini and also just attributing it to being an entreprenuer and working like crazy every day, I need my rest and I need it in a fierce way. When I am overworked and in need of a vacation, I need to fully unplug and break away fully in order to get the rest my body, mind, and soul need. Being away from normal life, although normal life has its moments, many moments that choose to be great often, traveling only makes it better. Knowing that travel will never stop in my life eases the slight little pain I bear every time I return home from a trip.
Yet, how ironic is it then when I come home from vacationing and taking a break, I feel like I need another break. Part of it is jet-lag yes, part of it is also the multiple days of 15 mile walks and maybe the jump back in time difference. Most of it is just plain being sad and missing the fact that my happy little heart wasn’t still off adventuring.
So, here are some things I learned this week being home, things I wish I would of known, had there been a manual for coming back home from vacation for depressed people.
- Get off your flippin ass. The muscle memory in your body probably still wishes you were walking 15 miles a day, don’t set it into shock and choose to sleep/sit/work form bed/work from the couch all day. Move your body as much as you can, again I know it’s hard to even pick your self up out of bed. Get your headphones, put on your favorite music, mine being Mac Miller, and walk down to your local park, or local puget sound waterfront. It will help. Also yoga and mediation, lot’s of that, especially after hours of sitting on flights.
- Take yourself out like you did on vacation, even if it’s just to a coffee shop. Sit down, eat a croissant, order some coffee, work, read, do whatever, just be out, out of your house, pretending to live life or just imagine that this large, drafty coffee shop you’re in is a cute little pastry shop on the corner of a cobble stone intersection.
- Keep yourself as busy as possible. It is a fact that you will feel lonely, sad and fully depressed if you just hang out on the couch and choose to into interact with the world. If you can’t seem to make it out of the house yet, then keep occupied in your home. Craft, read, meditate, listen to podcasts, cook an elaborate meal, listen to podcasts, watch thrilling earth documentaries, or just watch Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain. Keep occupied, and do some things everyday to make you smile. Also, make sure your plans are different every day. Stay away from being too still.
- Eat good food for your body. If you know certain foods will make you feel a certain, poor way, don’t do it, because theres nothing like your mind and physical body telling you you fucked up.
- Hang out with your damn friends. There’s not better way to try and start feeling like yourself again like hanging out with your homies.
- Think only fondly of the places you once were. Think of them like how you think of other vacations you’ve had in the past. Be appreciative, grateful, and remember all the goods times that helped enriched you and your life as a person. Put yourself back there and wear your scarf you got at the market, work at the public library with your new Italian laptop bag. Relish in the memories and the goods you carry physically and in your heart.
- Know that in a good week to 2 weeks you’ll start remember what it’s like to be back. You will welcome it and not fight it anymore and life will continue on and more wonderful and beautiful experiences are to come.
- Plan new travel, as soon as you can, even if it’s years away. Just get excited for the next adventure and know that there will be one.
- Find the beauty and wonder in everything around you. Just like how everything was new and glorious on vacation, try and look at things that way being home. There is magic all around this world, even where you live, find it and relish it it’s glory.
I want you to all keep in mind that this is coming from the gal who is going to be living in a van next year so I can always just be full time traveling. Coming home from travel I think will always be rough for me but I hope this can help someone out there who feels the same way or struggles from post vacation blues!
Enjoy some of the shots I was able to take on my Iphone X and edit in Lightroom! I also used the amazing Moment lens for my phone which was able to take better quality phone photos! It was a great little travel camera for a photographer!