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Depression on the Road: A Nomadic Shift Series

Doctor’s appointments. Medications. Multiple pharmacy visits. Endless questions. These are all things that can be expected when you’re dealing with depression and searching for something, anything, to ease the burden and make you feel better. But when you’re on the road, you don’t always have access to your doctor. It’s difficult to deal with the side effects of medication while moving around. Not every town has major pharmacies and, when they do, it’s a major pain to get your prescriptions transferred. The endless questions come with all of the above. Doctors constantly asking how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, how you’re adjusting. It can be a lot. At home, though, you likely have a strong support system of family and friends ready and available to meet you the second you need a shoulder to lean on.

This is where the situations differ. On the road, you have yourself, your pets, and, if applicable, your better half. You have as many free phone calls as your psychiatrist is willing to make because, let’s face it, they want to earn money for doing their job, too. Sometimes you want to quit medicines altogether. Sometimes, when you do quit, you have to deal with withdrawal without any help.

The biggest difference with dealing with depression on the road is the test of self-strength when isolation becomes unbearable. At home, you know people. You can visit family or get a job where coworkers become close friends. When you’re moving around, it becomes difficult to form meaningful attachments with other people. If you’re lucky, there might be art classes in the area or an event you’re interested in. Most times, however, this isn’t the case.

Yet, I still choose to deal with all of this, despite how much easier it would be to call it quits and move into a permanent residence. Why? Because I don’t want to let my illness keep me back from what I think are important life experiences. I don’t want to give up and regret letting go of my dreams. Sometimes, the best things in life are the things that you fight for, that you refuse to give up on, that you chase after with all of your heart. Travel is one of those things for me, and I will choose to chase it over and over. Even when the depression takes away all of my happiness and isolation becomes an unwelcome friend. The depression isn’t me. I’m not unhappy, I just think I am. I’m not alone, that’s just my depression telling me that I am. I am surviving and chasing my dreams.