Friday, April 1, 2011

A Geographical Cure

Well, the drugs are working.  I feel human today.  Balanced.  Tired, but better.  It's not until I feel like THIS that I realize how bad THAT was.  I let it go too long this time before I took my medication.  I didn't want my sleep to be disturbed.  Note to self ... don't wait that long.  It sucks.  Lack of sleep sucks, too, but not as bad as THAT.

But, moving on ...

When I am challenged with anything in life, my first reaction is to look at what books are out there that can help educate me.  And with depression, it is a continual learning process.  So while at the library with a few minutes to spare yesterday, I went to the health section and came across a book called "Depression:  Your Questions Answered" by Dr. Melvyn Lurie.  Now, on any other day I might have thought that I knew everything there is to know about depression.  After all, it's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  But yesterday I was open to new information.  So I opened it up, and on the page I opened I read about something called a "geographical cure". 

Basically, the Geographical Cure is moving to get away from the stressors that are causing your depression.  In the example in the book, a woman had lost her husband and was asking if moving away to start anew would help.  Here is the explanation as quoted from page 119:

"This is called a 'geographical cure' and it's another example of maladaptive coping.  Geographical cures don't usually work and can actually worsen the problem.  Moving to a new location involves losing social networks and service resources and contacts - everyone from your friends and family members to your doctor and car mechanic.  You would need to reestablish all the connections that you have built up over years and this alone would add stress to your life.  You are also likely to carry your depression with you, wherever you go."

I mention this in particular, because I have done the geographical cure repeatedly in my adult life - and to see it in print is a revelation.  Just ask any of my friends who have tried to keep track of me over the past 20 years.  I'm hard to follow.  The past 10 years - since meeting and marrying my husband have been much better, but I counted the other day and realized that I have moved 17 times (not counting being in the field for summers) since I moved away from home 23 years ago (only 3 in the past 10 years).  That is more than twice a year.  It didn't seem like that much.  But yikes!!

My friend, Andrew, said to me once:  "You know, most people, when they get bored, go on vacation.  You move!"  That comment stuck with me.  And it's true.  When I start to spiral down, I do start to daydream about moving.  And sometimes it has been more than a daydream.  The excitement of moving and starting over is mood-elevating ... although the aftermath of moving and starting a new life is often depressing. 

Moving simply because one is depressed is not a good idea - and I never moved to end depression, at least not consciously - subconscioulsy, maybe.  But my moves have provided me with a lot of stories, great life experience and fantastic friends all over the place.  How else would I have mustered the nerve to move to Texas, for God's sake? 

Nonetheless, it's true: no matter where you go, there you are.


  1. If you feel the need to relocate I think you should honour that as I personally believe climate and location can influence our health. Just my two cents ... says the man who travels every year ;-)

    1. However, I did use relocation as a way of running from my issues. Better to face them head-on.


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