How Travelling Helped Deal With My Depression & Anxiety

I believe everyone goes through that phase where they feel mentally and emotionally low. You’ve been there, I’ve been there, (so please be nice) – where everything seems to be going wrong and nothing seems to be going the way you expected it to go. You physically want to stop fighting and shut everything and everyone out of your life, curl up into a little ball and disappear. I’ve been there, I’ve been there a lot of times and I’m sure many others like me have also been there.
Life can seem hard, seems like it’s passing you by and you are just existing, not living anymore – at least, not the life you planned, wanted or thought you would have. You are just doing the things you have to do to survive from one day to the next! Life isn’t just about surviving, life is for the living – experiencing, feeling, seeing and believing in people, ideas and things.

Now before we get any deeper into my story, which is hard for me because I am such a private person, I want to please ask you all not to hold me accountable for anything in this article because I am certainly not an expert on depression, paranoia and anxiety or any other health condition. I more or less would say I’m ‘an expert’ on my own personal issues and I think that it is so important to take ownership of my (your) feelings, experiences (decisions and choices).

Everyone’s mental and emotional health issues are different; and I deal with mine by travelling – seeing the world, experiencing different people, cultures and environments – as often as I can. I think my worst period of depression was just after finishing university – which I believe is very common amongst many graduates. Post-graduation depression is a serious issue that isn’t spoken about enough. According to Top Universities, adjusting to life after university can be traumatic. When I finished university, I remember finishing exams and asking myself ‘what next’? What am I going to do with my life? You see, I don’t feel like these institutions prepare you for what we call life! I wasn’t sure what was out there for me and I was seeing my peers secure jobs. I felt lost for a long time and it was really hard for me to get out of that hole I found myself in.

I was applying for job after job and I was getting rejection after rejection. I slowly began to close myself in and hide from the world. It became me and my laptop with no one to really talk to because in my head no one really understood what I was going through. I asked myself a number of times, what I  had done wrong. It didn’t make sense to me. In my head, I had gone to a good University, graduated with a 2.1 travelled to over 20 countries and had gained experience whilst at uni. In my head, I thought I was the perfect candidate for good jobs and a great career.

Despite having savings, I realised quickly that I needed to earn income. I began to apply for anything and everything. I secured a job in sales – BAD DECISION!!! You see, I wasn’t cut out for sales. Let’s just say I didn’t last long. I knew I didn’t want to do the job but I was happy to have a so-called ‘graduate job’ so I stuck it out for 3 months but was later left with nothing. I was back again at square one – with no job and steadily depleting savings!

I was back being unemployed, looking for work but it just wasn’t going my way. I know you are probably thinking this isn’t a big deal, but for me it really was! I was always the one that was doing something, so not working was weighing me down. I felt like everything I had worked for wasn’t going to amount for anything. I didn’t realise that this was just the beginning!

Rewind slightly, I hadn’t travelled for that whole year after losing my job in 2014 and I had hit rock bottom. I decided to take a trip to Nigeria to just escape my reality which I perceived as a nightmare. I can honestly tell you that it was the best decision that I made for myself. I spent time with the Nigerian arm of my family, people that I truly believe understood what I was going through. They advised me that I was still so young, with a great future ahead of me; and they still advice me this today. My Auntie Lola, in particular, is always reassuring me on how far I have come and how much further I can and will still go in life. It’s what keeps me going to this day.

It’s weird because when I got back, my mindset changed completely! I got another job and moved away from home. My home then was paradise to where I was going, but I needed to do that to move forward. I won’t lie to you, moving away from home was hard, I had no one around me that had my best interest, it was all for their own personal advantage; and once they were done with me, I was no longer needed. What kept me going was my drive, motivation for the fruitful future I envisaged and most of all, God.  I knew the experience I was going to gain was going to take me places. So I bore it all, though I hated where I was and the people around me; but slowly I got myself back on track and with enough money, was able to book a trip to Dubai.

This was again another good trip, it gave me ten days to escape the harsh environment that I was living in. I was able to escape reality and (sigh)….. just breathe – trust me, when you are not enjoying your current situation, travelling can be a good escape and was/is my only hope. It is always a good form of escape for me. It helps me not to lose it! I was able to escape from the bitchiness and the heartbreak from a relationship which was no longer working.

Travelling is honestly a good escape for me. It helps me to realise what is important and what isn’t. An escape from reality is always needed for me to self-reflect. Life can sometimes be so hard that you just have to take time out to fly away and come back refreshed. When you come back you are better prepared to fight, fight all the bullshit and crap life throws at you. God has given me so much opportunity to see varied life and cultures in different parts of the world; to gain different perspectives. It has been amazing. At that time it was hard, but now life doesn’t seem all that bad.

Your mental and emotional health is so important. You have to always take care of your mental and emotional health – so that you don’t hit rock bottom and develop habits you can’t get yourself out of (like drug abuse); or do something untoward – which may even harm you, others, or mar your life!

Depression, paranoia, and anxiety have been my biggest enemies, but I have learnt to deal with them in a very good and positive way. I have also learnt to remove myself from toxic people and those who do not have my best interest at heart. If people aren’t good for my mental and emotional health, I will not allow myself to be around them. I hope to talk to you more, about mental and emotional health issues (because emotional health affects mental health – or vice vasa) in our community because they are real and they need to be properly and openly addressed.

For anyone who is experiencing anything similar, I recommend that you find something which is good; and which makes you happy and or allows you to escape – even for a while: and ensure that you stick to it – often. The brief respite it provides for you, maybe all that you need to get yourself back on solid/staple track. This isn’t the end of my openness with you all, in fact, let us just say it is just the beginning.

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14 Comments


  1. Olli

    July 27, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and thoughts around finding a job – I am relating to that. It’s been hard for me to find a decent job since I moved to the UK and then I got hit with some health issues so finding a decent job working from home that’s something I like even 3% has been difficult. Getting rejection letter after rejection letter caused me to slide back into my depression. Usually, I would travel lol but since I’m on a tight budget I can’t but reading this post just reminded me I have a purpose and things will work out. Looking at my life today in comparison to a few months ago, things are 50 times better so that’s a start…

    Olli | http://www.olliviette.com

    Reply

    • MBV

      July 27, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Hey beautiful,

      I would like to first say thank you for taking the time to read my post! I was so scared to write this and to know this has helped you in one way is just an overwhelming experience for me! Secondly, I am very sorry to hear about your health issues, I can assure you that I will be keeping you in my prayers hunnie. Please don’t lose hope, you have no idea where God is taking us and I know, feel and believe that he is taking us places that we can’t even imagine.

      Every time I got those rejections I thought I had done something wrong in my life, I thought I had chosen the wrong course or shouldn’t have even gone to uni. I was blaming myself when really I should have been taking as a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we don’t realise what God is saving us from and get upset or angry. We must know that is not for us is not for us and what is for us no enemy can stop our blessings.

      Even if you can have a day trip by yourself somewhere you haven’t been in the UK would be good because I know just having that break has done me wonders. Keep me updated sweetie and God bless.

      MBV Xxxx

      Reply

      • Olliviette

        July 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm

        I was just telling my brother this – I was like even if I just walk around this city I need to get a break to help my mental state. Traveling was always my go to and my treat and after reading your blog and a few other black travel bloggers blogs I decided if it KILLS me, I will find a way to get back that vibe.

        Keep writing your truths. I think as black people we get so scared to admit things are affecting us mentally but chile, I don’t care who gets mad. So glad you pressed publish.

        Reply

        • MBV

          July 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm

          Thank you so much! Your words of encouragement is just giving me the confidence to talk more about myself. I can’t wait to grow and flourish you and everyone now.

          Reply

  2. Lucia (TwoofthemOneofme)

    July 27, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I loved this post.
    Im so happy you decided to let us in and share with us your experiences with depression, paranoia and anxiety!
    Also, I couldn’t agree more that travelling is the best escape. Even getting on a plane makes me feel like I’m a new person and I can be whoever I want to be during my time in this new place.
    I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of your blog post 💕💕

    Reply

    • MBV

      July 27, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Heyyy beautiful,

      Can I just say again that I love your twins they are gorg!! I have lots of twins in my family so I am hoping I have twins for my first pregnancy!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and comment, it really means a lot to me! I get so excited when I see a comment that I have to read it instantly! Yes I know that feeling when you get on a plane. I’ve had a rocky few months and I was able to travel with work and I was just sooo excited, I couldn’t even contain myself and when I came back I was just so open minded.

      I will continue to be more open. Once again thank you so much for your support.

      MBV Xxxx

      Reply

  3. road2culturedom

    July 28, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! I think a lot of people use travelling as therapy without realising so and I agree, it’s one of the best ways to take yourself out of stressful or difficult times..it’s helped me in those instances too xxx

    Reply

    • MBV

      July 30, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hey beautiful,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I can honestly agree with you travelling is a form of therapy that has worked really well for me. I am already looking forward to my next holiday it is sooo needed!!

      MBV Xxxx

      Reply

  4. Its Kelle's Space

    August 2, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Thank you sharing.
    Sorry to hear about your health issues.
    I pray that God continues to give you strength day by day.
    I’m glad to read that you have found solace in travelling – it really is one of the best things we can do to escape reality from time to time.
    Kelle – http://www.itskellesspace.com

    Reply

    • MBV

      August 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Heyy beautiful,

      Thank you for reading I really appreciate it. And thanks for the apology I guess its things we go through in life and with God we find strength to keep going.

      MBV Xxxx

      Reply

      • Its Kelle's Space

        August 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        You’re very welcome.
        I totally agree.
        God gives us the strength we need to face anything ❤️

        Reply

  5. The Black Girl and Her Backpack

    August 8, 2018 at 12:41 am

    This post really touched me! Thank you for freely sharing your challenges with us. I use travel for a similar purpose, and thus far it has worked wonders. The only trouble is when I return and experience post-holiday blues and have to pick myself up again! God will continue to comfort and guide you on this journey of healing 💕

    Reply

    • MBV

      August 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      Hey sweetie,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, it means so much to me. I think we all go through similar challenges and its about how we manage to get through them.

      God bless.

      MBV XX

      Reply

  6. […] it’s been just over a week since I wrote my post on ‘How Travelling Helped Deal with My Depression and Anxiety’ and the responses I’ve received have […]

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