In 2014 I was diagnosed with severe depression. In late 2014 I had the most severe breakdown of my life, which put me in emergency mental health care. This helped me be able to travel to Paris in May 2015, even though I was still severely depressed.
The main thing I took away from that whole experience was that travel is not always easy, and depression is not easy, so when you mix them together, surprisingly, it’s not always easy. I know that that trip to Paris really helped save me in some aspects; I found this new thing I loved, which showed me there was a big beautiful world out there that I wanted to see. It showed me there was so much more than just my tiny room in my rented house and my sadness and loneliness.
However, while travel reignited something in me, it also overemphasised the scary bits of travel. When things went wrong, it felt like the end of the world. When I got separated from my friend and got lost, I was on the verge of a panic attack. And homesickness was the worst thing in the world.
The main thing I took away from that trip when I was severely depressed was that travel and depression are more similar than I expected. Both are difficult, and both taught and are still teaching me more about myself every day. The biggest lesson I learnt was to look for the beautiful in these experiences, and to keep learning along the way.