How I Quit My Life and Beat My Depression

How I Quit My Life and Beat My Depression

The Beginning

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It is common for people to meet a long-term traveller and ask “what are you running from?” I used to stumble upon my answer to this question every time until one day, I found the perfect response: “or am I just running towards?”
When it comes down to it, no matter what pay check we earn most of us yearn to be somewhere else other than at work. How many times have I sat at my computer and thought “I’d love to be in the mountains right now”… Hmmmm, about a thousand a week. How many times have I sat upon a mountain top and thought “oh how I’d love to be in the office”… never!
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Full-time traveling became the thing for me. Now of course there are a couple of conditions.
1. I have worked very hard to achieve this.
2. I’m not normally living luxuriously.
That being said I love adventure, new sighs and experience these two things almost daily and can certainly hold my head up high as I query “or am I just running towards?”
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But sometime last week, behind my bravo response, the question lingered in my mind.
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Am I really just running away? Is that what I have been doing all this time? 

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That is hard to determine because in truth I have left a part of me behind. It’s a part of me that I somewhat cherish for developing me into the person I am today but it’s a part that I am also very happy to have lost. My depression split me into two halves that never quite agreed with one another. Something that constricted me into the confinement of my own desolate world but also something, when the time was right, that forced me to reach out and grab everything with both hands. Needless to say it was the exciting, passionate times that made the destructive and painful worthwhile and I held onto it but to continue on this track would not have ended well for me. In order to compensate for the lows my highs would gain intensity and momentum, which in the end led only to one thing, deeper lows.
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Lacking the ability to create an equilibrium with my emotions I experienced several severe moments and came too close to ending my life. After one such episode and a good talking to from a friend, my ‘high’ self broke down and acknowledged that there might be a problem.
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Depression - Straight on Detour - rebecca mayoll
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This was the first time my two halves admitted the other existed but one thing was for sure, they would have to get to know one another a whole lot better if I was going to quit this roller coaster before it did permanent damage.
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I had always had a passion for the unknown, loved adventure and after a gap year in Eastern Africa I was hooked. Traveling became mine for three reasons: I loved it, it distracted me and thankfully, it gave me a whole new
perspective.
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Being distracted obviously does not equate to a medial cure but I was so excessively excited that I didn’t break-down once in the 6 months that I was away that I believed my depression to have gone for good. In reality, somewhere in the back of my mind my lows were lying secretive and dormant. I was a ticking time bomb waiting for a single opportunity to present itself and drag me down. Despite the respite that my adventurous travels gave me, my in-between life continued as it had for a very long time, with periods of intense elation and intense agony.
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Imagine waking up once or twice a month to a schedule you had not designed by yourself but by some prankster you barely knew. In the throws of a low I would wake up and feel the full force of manic Becky’s decisions. Topping a full university schedule and a part-time job she might have signed me up to cheerleading- CHEERLEADING for goodness sake! Then she’d add a volunteer placement at a family support centre on Monday mornings, a volunteer assistant position at a school for autism on Thursday mornings. She would buy a  surfboard, skateboard and guitar throughout the week and put her name down for Wednesday’s social night. All of this completely neglected the wants and needs of her other half, who would have to face these situations while trying not to cry. There was one Becky on a mission to do and learn as much as possible and there was another who just wanted to disappear.
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Depression - Straight on Detour - rebecca mayoll
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Nonetheless to make myself appear more ‘normal’ I adopted a ‘normal’ life because everyone was telling me that it would make me feel better. I finished university, took up a proper job and threw myself into a loving relationship, now all I had to do was wait for the happiness.
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Failure.     Depression : 1  Becky : 0

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Of course that failed! Think of pushing a square block through a circular gap, my mould was not made to fit that kind of life. I was a custody detention officer on a marvellous wage, intrigued by my job, trying to get comfy on the couch every evening to watch films with my boy. But I sometimes would be too tired in the morning to care that he was there, I’d sometimes be out drinking with friends and find myself dancing in a circle feeling isolated and alone.
I required some drastic changes and I realized more than ever that I needed the time for me to get to know me. I quit my job, my relationship and my life and headed back out into the world. This time I was going for the long-term and so I took my depression with me.
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Using travel to my advantage

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My travels began as normal, I’d lose myself to the moment and doubt that I had any problem at all. I was full of adventure and barely recognizable as the person who would require assistance from their mum just to get into bed. I dotted myself all over the world; Crewing a sailboat through Papua New Guinea, working as a Scuba instructor on the Great Barrier Reef and climbing volcanoes in Indonesia but somewhere, in and amongst all of these distractions, distractions themselves became the norm. Alongside that, travel itself forced a silence upon me, when lengthy buses outlasted my ability to concentrate on reading and when my iPod ran out of battery, the only thing that was left to entertain me was, in fact… me.
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I’d contemplate the world outside of the train window, looking at everyone going about their daily lives. What a simple thing that was, to go about your daily life. It was something I’d never achieved correctly and this instant recollection was both puzzling and intensely saddening. With a second jolt of surprise I realized that my bravo half had let in a little sadness, not a spiraling disastrous amount but just enough to feel sad without feeling too sad. This was the beginning of my self-discovery, a quest that would take years and it all began by watching three women washing their dirty laundry on the roadside.
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Depression - Straight on Detour - rebecca mayoll
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By reliving the highs and lows I’d experienced over the years, I began to unite my mood swings. I’d sometimes laugh out loud while revisiting my past, or shudder in embarrassment when I connected to one in which I’d lost my social abilities and I would certainly shed tears for the girl who was so sad she wanted to die. By embracing all of these past memories I began to consolidate my persona in the present. I started to become whole, slowly teaching myself that things didn’t have to be in the extreme. Something could be amazing without the need to squeeze the life out of it and things can go wrong without it being a disaster. I began to realize when I was getting too excited and start calming the highs down.
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Something that didn’t change was my love for travel, that I continued but with my two halves slowly becoming friends.
 
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And in the end

Changes don’t happen overnight, they are slow and thoughtful progressions that take many years and even a lifetime to achieve but I see a huge difference in the person I am now to the person I used to be. I’ll never consider myself ‘cured’ from depression because truthfully, in life it is very easy for anyone to fall. Plus I must also confess that I‘d hate to wholly lose such a significant part of myself, a part that has helped me to create the alternative lifestyle I lead today. The beautiful thing is that the changes I have made while traveling have continued to keep me balanced on this unstable platform that we call life. Not only has travel offered me the chance to teach myself who I want to be, given me clues on how I want to live my life and how to contain my emotions, it has given me a lifestyle I love.
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A lifestyle in which I find myself going about my daily life with relative ease, and hurrah to that!
Over the years I have earned the ability to hold my head up high and state “I am running towards” and I can’t wait for whatever adventure comes next.
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If this 1500 words hasn’t bored you to tears, I’ve written further on this issue of long term travel and how you can achieve it too. read it here: ‘How I Travelled the World for a Decade and How You Can Too
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As always thank you for reading and supporting what we do. 🙂
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Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

10 Comments
  • Jennifer says:

    I loved that you shared this. I never really know if I’m running away, but I know that at least for the time being, travel brings joy – and more joy in the world is always a good thing.

    • Hi Jen,

      thanks so much for your comment. And I completely agree, if it brings you joy… just keep doing it!

      I am happy to read that your knee is back in action and you have the summer ahead of you, that must be wonderful. Keep up the extraordinary hiking, we’re missing those Canadian vistas!

      Becks

  • Evelyne Baker says:

    Wow! Great post! There’s a quote that says, if you want to become something you’ve never been, you have to do something you’ve never done before. Now that sums up pretty much what changes are all about. It takes courage to set the first step, but as soon as results get visible, it will get easier. I took my initial courage from my horoscope. I always read it on http://www.astrosofa.com. I consider it everyone who struggles with their first steps. No matter what you do, you can do it. Just keep in mind that everything takes its time. As Becky says, changes won’t come overnight. xx

  • I’ve often felt like a round peg in a square hole too Becks.

  • juliamenn says:

    This is something I’ve been struggling with for several years, and only recently have I started trying to marry my extremes. It’s nice that someone has been pretty successful at doing what I’m attempting – it gives me hope. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Julia,

      thanks so much for your comment, your support and honesty. It has been a very long journey for me accepting that all parts of me exist in the same body but it is so worth it. My first steps were just forcing me to acknowledge (whether in a high OR a low) that there was something waiting on the other side.

      I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more of your posts,

      Becks 🙂

  • Thumbs up for this great honest post, Becky!! Love it 🙂

  • Alexandra Leeming says:

    What can I say Becks, you’re a legend, I think I must be your 3rd biggest fan. xxx

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