- Photos: Jeric Jaleco

Motorized Therapy: Going home never felt so much like a road untraveled

What I've learned as I return home from applying some self-prescribed medicine on the open road.

11w ago

(Author's Note: 𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘺 𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘱 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴. 𝘐'𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘻𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦. 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘺 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦, but 𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦. 𝘐𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵'𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘶𝘻𝘻𝘭𝘦, 𝘐 𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺.)

All good things come to an end. Just as the sun sets on any day, my mental health relief trip playing vagabond between three cities has reached its end. As I publish this in the weeks following those events, I've managed to reflect on what I've learned, what I've done, and where I'm going. As I returned home, I faced the realization that the bad things that may pester us never really go away, but at least I'm back with my chin held higher and a little more hope stowed away. It never felt so great yet so daunting to finally be home.

I packed my bag, hopped in the Mustang, and I drove. Then I drove and drove and drove some more until the tank went dry and my eyelids got heavy.

Oh, where to begin. How about the start where I dropped everything to leave home for eight days to escape the suffocation I was experiencing? A few interpersonal issues with those close to me, a dash of work-related worries, and a full serving of deep internal conflict and self-loathing had gradually compiled into an unbearable weight on my chest and a detriment to my sanity. It's been an uphill battle in which I promised myself I'd never surrender, but some days, all I want to do is lay down my arms and admit defeat. But that wouldn't be what the idyllic vision of myself would do, would it?

Months of therapy and much-needed self-care could only do so much. I needed something more, something different than home as much as I love my friends and family. I thought that if I couldn't fight my troubles, I could try to outrun them. And so I did... Or tried to, at least.

I packed my bag, hopped in the Mustang, and I drove. Then I drove and drove and drove some more until the tank went dry and my eyelids got heavy. Then it was merely another tank of 91 and a cup of coffee before I was off and wandering yet again. Back home, I was a sad mope searching for a cure, but out on the open highway, I was just some overly ambitious ant breaking its monotonous routine to stray from the colony.

I ran as quickly as 305 horsepower could take me.

I ran as quickly as 305 horsepower could take me.

Um, yeah, never mind that those lone ants are typically picked off by predators or some kid with a magnifying glass unless you want to make them analogies for depression and anxiety. In which case, who the hell do you think you are? My AP Literature teacher? If so, that's fair. He was pretty cool.

Leaving behind that shaking that looming, crushing anxiety proved to be easier said than done. From the miles racked up crossing the desert to my time spent with an old friend in Reno, all that was on my mind was anything but enjoying myself. Will the ash from these (then) fresh wildfires hurt my paint and clog up the intake? Will my friend up there be okay during her own rough patch? Are my friends and family back home okay? Will taking time off and blowing money on this trip even be worth it?

The voices interrogating me were ceaseless, and I was still aching. For over a year, I've greatly struggled with my aforementioned woes to the point of it nearly killing me. Even after months of self-care, indulgence, and proper therapy, it still felt as though I was missing a certain edge factor to turn my mind around. Little did I know I've always had it and never realized sooner.

I was a fool to ever think I was fighting this uphill battle alone when I was never have been from the start. I still had most of my best friends to pick me up when I was down even when some never knew what I was going through. Their camaraderie filled me with the warm support I've been needing. At the same time, I took lessons from a few of them in how to better take of myself and stand tall on my own whenever I have to fly solo. It wasn't just people back home in Las Vegas, but kindred spirits from everywhere I visited as well.

Thank you to my friends in Reno.

Thank you to my friends in Reno.

As I was traversing vast highways and twisting two-lanes, I would tune in to 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘚𝘮𝘰𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘛𝘪𝘳𝘦 podcast episodes in which co-host, Matt Farah, would bravely confess his own mental health concerns over the air. Most of which sounded familiar to me. As he would go on, he expressed the importance of simply being present in day-to-day life; learn to live a little more in the moment and give back what it's trying to give to you, something I've been admittedly terrible at. I've always dwelled on the past or feared the future to the point where I could never truly appreciate living for now.

It was an eye-opening yet comforting revelation that even successful icons that some often associate with "living the dream" can go through the same distress we can. To be fair, they are people just the same as you and I, so wouldn't they? But to hear it stated publicly and confidently instilled me with a sense that I could tackle my demons and live better than I ever could. I've felt a tad wiser and stronger because of these past few weeks, more progress than any prescription meds could ever make.

Thank you to my friends in Boise.

Thank you to my friends in Boise.

Embrace an uncertain future but never forget to live for the present.

As I finish this piece, my expedition to find a better version of myself on roads less traveled had ended weeks ago. I'm currently in some hotel room in Reno during National Guard training as my first ever overseas deployment fast approaches adding unwelcome stress to my already full platter. Would I say I've defeated my demons since then?

Nah, fam. Probably not. You've got to be higher than the Empire State to think you can undo over a year's worth of emotional turmoil in just a few weeks. I've come home only to return to fight the same battles. I still ponder on what could've been and am scared shitless about what awaits me on the horizon. I still have anxiety in both social and original flavors. My therapist would probably say that I still have mild depression. I'm also pretty sure ADHD doesn't magically disappear, either. Same shit, different day, but over the past couple weeks, I now have the knowledge, resources, and support network to better take it all on. So where does that currently leave me?

In this rare instance where I show my face in a written piece, I say thank you to my friends in Salt Lake City

In this rare instance where I show my face in a written piece, I say thank you to my friends in Salt Lake City

Months ago, I was yearning to just throw in the towel. Nowadays, I welcome an uncertain yet promising future, and rather than mope about focus on the negatives, I have nothing but thanks to give. I've stated in the first part my unpopular carpinion (𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩, check out that tribe, by the way, 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩) that cars don't directly bring you happiness, but they can lead you to it. To this day, I still stand by it. I've recaptured some spark in the fascinating places I've visited, the sensational adrenaline rush of those fast canyon jaunts, and especially the people I've met who've shared in the fun. I bid thank you to each and every one of them.

Anyone experiencing rock bottom should do so too as you'll never know what it's like to be back at the top if you don't make it there. When life kicks the shit out of you and instills within you maddening fear and/or crippling depression, get the hell up and hit back twice as hard. Stand strong as your own person. Do what you need to win your war. Meet old friends, take a long drive, etc. Most importantly, set aside those woes as much as you can to enjoy the moment and appreciate all it's trying to give you.

To those feeling like they're at the bottom of a ditch, know that the only place you can go is up.

To those feeling like they're at the bottom of a ditch, know that the only place you can go is up.

Thank you, the community, for hearing me out with open ears and a warm reception. Life is too short to live in fear and hatred all the time, so take it on with a smile and an open mind, instead. Live free and drive hard, DriveTribers.

Join In

Comments (3)

  • Great series, Jeric. Thanks for putting yourself out there for others. It's important for people to understand that we are all human with real issues. Don't hide it. Others can help. Don't be ashamed. I applaud your doing this for everyone to see.

    I have ADD/ADHD and have been bouncing off the walls for 48 years. Depression? Check. Issues? Oh, that's a big check. I feel you. You aren't alone!

    Stay safe on your deployment and come back to us in one piece. I respect and thank you for your service.

      2 months ago
    • I have to echo your comment and say thank you for putting it out there. As an Aspie man who can empathize, I think it is great for men to be talking/writing about things that we historically didn't. Mental health matters as my wife always...

      Read more
        2 months ago
  • Beautiful! Drive safely, wherever you are. Take one step at a time.

      2 months ago