I can't remember the exact day or year, I realized I hadn't been happy, or if I ever was. But what I can remember is everything that happened after I opened about it. My world pretty much came crashing down around me. My then girlfriend kicked me out of the house, finically crushed me, and emotional destroyed me further than I was already feeling. I remember going deeper into depression than I ever had. Looking back at it now, despite how hard it was for me to overcome this insanely dark time of my life, it was for the better.
I tried many things to over come the depression with out resorting to medication. I am not a fan of medication by any means. I understand it has its place, and I am not some anti-vaccination nut job by any means. However, as many people know, one of the scariest things about dealing with depression is the suicidal thoughts. And personally, any medication that can increase those thoughts seems like the opposite of what I am looking for.
What I did find that worked for me was just a simple driving therapy. At the time I was driving the unique Scion xB. That car had some serious charm to it. Sure, the styling was love or hate, but the handling dynamics of the car were great and the little 1.5L engine was “peppy”. A unique blend of one of a kind styling, car like handling, a very roomy and useable interior, great gas mileage, and an awesome group of fellow owners and enthusiast made this car one I’d really regret having to get rid of.
I really didn’t notice how much driving helped me to find mental balance and stability at first. It just kind of sank in one night on a drive. I was driving down road the followed the banks of the Ohio River. A road that follows the twist, turns and elevation changes of the landscape around it. It was a spring night, a little fog in the air off the river, and I was sitting at a pull off spot enjoying a smoke and some music. I realized that when I was behind the wheel driving aimlessly to an unknown destination that nothing mattered. The moments behind the wheel had blocked everything out. Concentrating on the twisting roads and taking in the scenery had blocked everything completely out of my head. It was amazing to finally feel free.
It is amazing to think that something so simple, has kept me going for so many years. Driving has simply brought me a much-needed balance in my life. I’ve been in some dark places mentally and have had my own thoughts scare me. Driving has basically saved my life at times. Sometimes the signs of oncoming depression are very easy to catch and a quick drive through some country roads are enough to clear out the head and help keep things in check mentally. Other times, life is busy and it’s hard to find time to just get out and enjoy some wheel and road time. But no matter how busy I am, I usually try to find 30 minutes or more of just solid driving time at least once a week.
Life can be hard and throw you some serious unexpected curveballs. Or maybe you just mentally struggle with life and find the thought of living scarier than the thought of death. I understand both extremes and everything in between and it is okay. You are not alone. You may not be sure why you keep getting out of bed and facing the world in your dark times, but you do. I may find it hard to face the world, but I know there are others in the world that do as well.
For me, driving is a great escape. I always try to promote it to those who may be having a hard time. It’s a simple distraction, that allows you to refocus your attention in a better direction. It doesn’t require a fast car, or great car, just a car. There is no need to invite friends along, or even stop for anything except maybe gas or using the restroom. Put some good music on, or no music at all. Don’t answer the phone if it goes off. Just drive. Focus on the road and use it to block out what has you distracted. Our vehicles can be more than just transportation. They can be our savior and escape from all the problems life throws at us. And remember, if you don’t think you can go on anymore, please ask for help. You may feel like nobody will miss you or you’d be better off dead, but that is simply untrue.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline