“I’m over it!” I said, voice, raised a bit, while talking to my therapist.
“I feel trapped here, like I’m stuck in a place where I get up, work, take a nap, do more work, eat some food, allegedly ‘safe at home ‘ but what it is doing to my mental health… is depressing to me. I’m retreating to a place I don’t like when I’m done working and it’s making me hate it here, in my so-called safe space.”
It was late May, 2020. We were three months into the start of the pandemic, and I had reached a point where I was OVER it.
And, I was becoming depressed. For the first time in my life, as an extrovert, stuck inside, cut off from people and the energy which I thrive on, I started to feel a 'darkness...' I've never felt before. And it wouldn't end.
Depression. Way past anxiety... way past my own personal self-esteem and insecurity issues related to body, size, life changes... well beyond confidence issues. This was a dark feeling. It was starting to feel... well... hopeless.
“You don’t have to be trapped, Toby,” my therapist said. “You CAN go meet up with people, just be socially distant. You CAN find places to go and things to do outside… hikes, camping, they say it’s safest to travel by car, and hotels in some places are starting to re-open with limits and you should consider some of that. I’m not sure about flying, but that’s a risk you could consider, but you know it’s not clear that it’s safe, but there are things you can do which are, so open your mind and think about what YOU would like to do, things you’ve never done before, and do it. Do it for YOU, not for anyone else. Make that list for YOU and, then, go do it.”
That conversation set me on a new course. It sparked... hope. It revealed a light at the end of what is still a very long tunnel... but it charted a course out of where I was descending... I realized there’s a lot of world within four, five, six hours driving distance which I’ve never seen, and so, I sat down and started to make a list… and then, I started to travel.
And it snapped me out of the depression feelings and emotions which were taking hold...
I’ve been keeping notes over the last year on the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done. I’ve not really shared them because, well, life gets busy, I have a ton to do every day and sometimes, sitting down and putting ‘fingers-to-keyboard” gets kicked to the bottom of the list…
… but travel. New experiences. Seeing new things. Learning and trying new things. They’ve been a better antidepressant for me than any ‘script a doctor could write for me.
So, want to see some of the places I’ve been? Places you can go?
Let me start with last weekend… and what I call a #OneNightStand… in one of America’s best cities: Annapolis, Maryland.
I found this place about two months ago, looking around at places near the water, because, I find peace near the water. A random search led me to this place... they were - and continue - to offer in-state rates for residents to come enjoy a 'staycation' and they offer other amazing rates for AAA members, Military and more. The rates were and are INSANELY AFFORDABLE! I mean, who can beat $85 bucks a night for a KING room in a boutique hotel?
Now, I should point out, these rates are most likely due to COVID and the season. They have taken amazing steps to be clean and safe for travelers, as have most hotels you'll hear me talk about, and some amenities are suspended due to safety mandates, like room service, bars, etc. But... when you are saving that much, and, with grocery stores and such fine dining steps away from you in the capital city of Maryland, why would you need this? You can bring your own stuff with you, or, you can go to any number of world class restaurants within walking distance! Or, grab an UBER or LYFT ride over to SOUL and have a unique Annapolis dining experience and enjoy some amazing Southern food.
I've stayed at this hotel three times over the last few months as part of my "change the scenery on weekends" plan to survive what's left of the pandemic... and it's been so good for my mental health. It's been a great place to hang with a 'situationship' for a night, giving us respite from the relative hell which is life working from home or whatever. The hospitality there is great. The people are friendly. The accommodations are perfect for a quick getaway from life and it's reachable via Amtrak and air to BWI for those who may want to take a longer break at a great place where you are in the cradle of American history.
If you want to know more about 'em, message me. I'm happy to share what I've observed... email@example.com
Thanks for reading... and I hope you and your family are well!