How traveling helped me to kick my depression’s ass

“Not all those who wander are lust, but some of us are, and that is okay’ –

Hey lovely people,

After I wrote a post about dealing with my depression back in October 2015 I was approached by so many people asking me questions about how I did this and it opened a big door of people sharing their story with my. I was honored and felt blessed that so many of you opened up to me and shared their story. If you have missed this post you can read it here: *Click!

Before I continue this post I do would like to say that depression is something that you should take seriously. You should never be ashamed to get and /or ask for help. Traveling has helped me to deal and to beat my depression- how ever, every story is different and everyone is different. This is something that has helped me and I hope it can do the same for you.

Schermafbeelding 2016-01-02 om 08.38.26

So I hope you are ready for my store cause here it is.

I was living a fabulous expat life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had an amazing job, a hot boyfriend, a succesful freelance company. My weekends were filled with trips to tropical destinations, going to the most fancy restaurants, the most luxurious beachclubs in Bali, Langkawi, Thailand. And if I felt like shopping I would go to one of the many malls in KL or fly over to Singapore for a day- Why? Because I could. I had and have a great family and great friends but still- I felt very empty. I knew that I had some issues from my past that I never really got over but I kept running away from them.

I seeked out help and got my self a life coach in Kuala Lumpur. This coach helped me a lot and she made me realize that I really had to get my hands dirty and that I had to work on my issues in order to be able to move forward in life.

After a few sessions with her I realized that I really had to do something because after the sessions I felt great but than the next day I felt sad again. I was living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world and I noticed that I started to spend more time in my appartment. In bed. With the curtains closed. Eating. Drinking. And feeling completely and utterly shitty.13006725_516652785208347_4876792966861348160_n

You can not imagine how it feels to be completely alone in a dark room with your own thoughts. With your dark thoughts- Or perhaps you can relate to my story and you can imagine it. I started to feel shittier by the day and where I was a star at keeping up appearences at some point I even failed at that.

I knew that something had to change. But where did I start? I had no clue.
One thing I had learned when I was younger was that nomatter how shit I felt, that if I went to my ‘happy place’ I instantly would feel a bit better. So I decided to create new happy places. I left my familiar life in KL behind and I started to travel throughout Asia. For once in a very very very long time I did something I had not done in years. I chose me. 

Schermafbeelding 2016-04-30 om 21.16.26The beginning was really weird. There were days where I did not know what to do or where to go but I just kept going. I visited cities that were unfamiliar to me and it was freaking scary but I still knew that I had to do it. I forced myself every day to get up and to see something or do something I had never done before and it had a weird but positive effect on me.
Where once I did not want to live anymore, now I started slowely but surely to love life again. I traveled to the most beautiful destinations and saw the most amazing things. I met people. Great people. People with their own story and people that inspired me so much. Every day was a battle. But I became a soldier. A soldier in my own war against my self and I was starting to beat myself in this war. How weird it may sound. I started to become stronger and stronger and I started to appreciate life again.

Things that I remember vividly that helped me was the freedom I felt when I was riding my scooter in Bali. With the wind through my hair, riding amongst the boulevard in Kuta or on a undiscovered path somewhere in Jimbaran- I felt happy. With nothing more with me than my bike and my sunglasses- I just felt so much joy. I remember watching all those beautiufl sunsets that are so magical in Asia. Pink skies. Blue Skies. Purple skies. Where these sunsets real? It all looked so photoshopped.
I remeber a boatride from one island to the other- Again with the wind in my hair, my face- something came over me. I started to cry for no reason, at least that is what I thought at that point. But I was such an emotional wreck- it had to come out at one point.

I cried so many times when I was traveling but I also snapped out of my sad modes quickly as time passed. I realized that I started to love my life again and that life could be so beautiful. It helped me to organize my thoughts and to strengthen myself and to finally start loving myself again.
Traveling definitely was key for me to beat my depression. It did not ‘just heal’ me. But it did help me to realize that there was so much more at this world that was worth living for. It reminded me that I should not give up on myself and that I was worth fighting for. Being alone on the road forced me to confront myself with my thoughts and to process these. It took me months to get there but I felt ready- I went back to Europe and I started therapy. Where traveling gave me great insights on me and my life, I did acknowledge that I needed the guidance to beat this thing entirely. So I started with therapy and it was the best decision I made in my life. And while looking back now I realize that without traveling the world, being a solotraveler, being a wanderluster I might not have reached that point. Or maybe I would have, but not that quickly. I was running away from my past for so long and those months out on the road forced me to be with me. My thoughts. And to work on them.

I can only hope that you can and will have the same experience if you are battling depression. Invissible diseases should be taken incredibly serious. Never feel ashamed of who you are or the thoughts that you have. Never feel too proud to ask for help. You are worth it. You are worth living a life where you are happy. You are worth discovering this beautiful globe and all the wonders that it has to offer. And perhaps one day you will wander the world again, without feeling lost. I know that I do exactly that now.

For more of my adventures and stories feel free to follow:

Let’s connect!

Love, xoxo

An open letter to my EF BX- How I broke the heart of the love of my life.

I am just an awkward girl that does not know how to handle emotions. When ever something or someone get’s to close I either build a wall or I go all in. And with you baby, I went all in. It felt amazing, wonderful, great- but the danger with going all in is that the only way you can leave is to go all out. Lose everything, literrally everything that you had.

A few years ago I read an interview with Mariah Carey where she said that she’d rather performed in an sold out Staples Center than to sing for family and friends in a small and intimate get together. I could immediately relate to that feeling. I am not a superstar. I am a simple girl with complicated feelings that I don’t know how to process. I rather share my story with the entire world that I see as my sold out staples center instead of having a private conversation with you. Because that is intimate. And intimacy scares the shit out of me. 
We had a perfect life. We were that couple that everyone wanted to be. Not a single day passed without cracking each other up. We laughed so  much.. We were compatible in every aspect. Looks, brains, body and soul. You truly were and always be my soulmate. I do believe when God created you he chose me to find you on this earth when our time was there. And we did. We found each other and our relationship was fantastic. But still I left you. And nobody understood why. You did not understand why.
If I would look up the word „Perfection” in the dictionary- there would be your picture directly next to the word. To me you are perfect. Your beautiful blond hair and amazing blue eyes that can still make my heart skip a beat. The way you have dimples in your cheeks when you laugh, the way you brush your hair with your left hand when I make you nervous. Or excited. The way you live you life. Strong, admirable, respectful humble, sexy, powerful, caring, passionately, loving. You are such a proud person. So tough on the outside, and inside. But not with me. With me you were soft. Understanding. Kind. Loving. Everything.
During our entire relationship I never saw you cry. Not even when your best friend died. You felt sad but said that you could not allow your tears to get the “best of you” and that you would only cry if something happened you knew you could not recover from. The day I left you, you cried. So much. And I realized that I broke your heart. But what you must understand is that during the last months of our relationship every single day I was breaking my own heart. And it hurted so much. 
I was broken.A broken doll. Damaged goods. You deserved so much more than me. I often wondered why you were with me. Why you did not leave me after everything I put you through. You are such a good man, someone who deserves an equal. Not somebody less than him. Don’t get me wrong. I did not always see myself this way. But at some point in our relationship I just lost it. I lost myself in our relationship. I lost my identity. You and I became a WE but who was I? You knew exactly who you were and what you wanted out of life but I did not know anything else than that I was your girlfriend, your future wife. But that thought suffocated me. I wanted more. I wanted to know how I could define my future. I wanted to find out how I could leave my legacy on this planet and by just being a ‚wife’-. well that just did not cut it. 
Remember that scene in the Titanic (you must, I made you watch that movie a million times) when Rose enters the Titanic and she talks about how her life looks perfect on the outside, but on the inside she is screaming. That was me. I was screaming internally every day. Every fucking day. And you noticed. When you looked me in my eyes you saw that I was drowning. You saw that I was hurting and that I could not breath. The endless fights that we had over this where you begged me, screamed at me to tell me what was wrong. I never forget that day where you kneeled down to the ground and hugged my hips, crying and begging me to talk and that you could not ‚Do this anymore’. I froze. I could not say anything, like always. You, the wealthy and powerful businessman, the man nobody could bring down, was brought down, literally, sitting on his knees, begging and crying. You were brought down by the one person that could make you do anything you always said you would never do. But than and there at that moment I made a decision.
I would leave you. The thought that I was the person that put you through this was horrible. The thought that I was your weakness frightened me. I’d rather break my own heart a million times by leaving the best thing that ever happend to me than to even break your heart once. That thought for me was unbearable. It was horrible for me to see you so powerless knowing that you in fact were powerless. There was nothing at that point that you could have done for me. You have not failed me. You asked me this in several text messages after we broke up. I failed myself. I had to regroup and recover. Alone. I needed space. And I took it. Maybe that was selfish of me but we would never have had a happy ending if we continued the way we did.
Even though you wanted to save me and you tried to save me. But the only way you could save me was to let me go and to let me find my own way. I did loved and love that about you. You always tried to save me. To fix me. To be my hero. But you know, sometimes a girl needs to be her own hero and save her self. 
“I had everything, but I chose to have nothing, so I can build towards something, anything of my own”.
I gave up everything. The money, the fancy apartment, the summerhouses, the cars with private drivers, the never-ending holidays but most of all, I gave up you.
My life is so different now than when I was with you. I live in my own city apartment, I pay my own rent, I drive my bike to work (yes an actual bicycle, and I really like it)- I started writing and painting again. I went to therapy where I worked really hard on dealing with my depression and with my struggle in finding my own identity again. I am starting to feel like a whole person again.
I never wanted you to complete me. I want to feel complete (or as complete as someone can feel) and I wanted you to be of an added value to my life. I wanted to feel valuable first and now I do. It is a bitter sweet feeling because I left the one I loved the most find myself. I fell out of love with you in order to fall in love with myself again.
And I did. I love myself and maybe more important I like myself again. I like the person who I have become and you are such a big part of the reason why I am where I am today.
You made the bigger sacrifice by letting the love of your love go with no other reason than to allow me to find myself again. You did not do it for you, like how my main reason to leave you was to ‘FIX ME”. Your reasons were pure and not selfish.
You once told me that if you really love something you will set it free (and if it comes back it was ‚Yours’ and if it doesn’t, it never was). I never understood this. Why would you let something that you love go. You would want to keep that close to you right? You would want to fight for something that you love right? But sometimes the best fight is to surrender. And you did. If you love someone, you will put his or her happiness before your own. So even though it did break your heart, you did let me go because you knew that that would be the best thing for me. So in the end, even though I tried to save my self you still did save me. Because if you did not let me go I would never be here where I am today.
It is ironic how we both decided to break our own hearts so we did not had to break each others hearts. 
I had time to heal my heart and if there is anything I can do to heal yours let me know. Cause there is not a single thing in this world that I would not do for you.
Love always, x

Dealing with depression- The story behind my smile.

Hey lovelies,

Today I will discuss a serious matter with you guys. Something raw, honest and real. I have thought a long time about writing about this subject and I always found reasons not to do it. Call it shame or having a sense of privacy. Somethings are meant to be kept for your self right? And it is not really ‘cool’ to share stuff like this where I actually come across as a weirdo but than I thought..What if my story can help others. What if my experience and thoughts can actually help others, perhaps you.

Isn’t it worth it to put my self out there than? Perhaps my story can change one life, touch one life or influence just one person in a positive way.. Would that not be worth it?
The answer is a 100% yes. So here we go… A little part of me for you.

When people are reading my articles and checking out my Instagram (Click here for my instagram) I often get really nice comments. I love to connect with my followers and readers. You guys send me the sweetest messages and they really touch my heart. But sometimes I read things you guys say and I am like, how sweet it might is for you to say that, it is not always that glamorous.

not good enoughDEALING WITH DEPRESSION- my story
When I was a bit younger I always felt that there was something a bit of. While others were happy and playing with kids their own age, I developed this weird obsession with death. It all happend when I was in school and I was about 9 years old. The mother of my classmate died and my teacher explained the word ‘death’ and from that day on something inside me just changed. I realized that one day we would all die and that thought gave me a lot of anxiety. At some point I became really silent and I was obviously not happy and about a year later I went to therapy. The therapy I had was some kind of  “play therapy’- and of course at that point I did not realize that I was having therapy. I just went to this friendly lady, twice a week and I just played their with awesome toys, colored in the color book while chatting with her. Looking back I realize that that was my first therapy session and I do not know what the conclusion was but at some point the therapy stopped. For a few years everything seemed to be better and I was not so occupied with the thought of ‘dying’ anymore.

Than when I was 12 I have lost someone I have loved more than life itself. And there it was again. “Death’. And this time I had to deal with it. Not being able to deal with this loss I became depressed again and I developed an eating disorder. The thing with me is, on the outside, nobody every noticed. I was a spontaneous kid, I was never bullied, I had many friends and a great childhood. But again, something was always off. I had my ‘rebel period’ where everyone always saw me as this ‘bad ass girl’ being tough and all but on the inside I was crying and dying.  I started therapy again but I the therapists I have seen in that period were not great ones, or at least, I could not connect with them. I felt misunderstood and extremely lonely. I felt so many things inside and I could not discuss this with everyone.

Even though I had great friends and a very loving family, discussing my feelings felt like failure so I never did. I felt like I was drowning all the time, suffocating, being choked but the moment I had to go to school or I had to be around people I could put my biggest smile on my face and I could pretend everything was okay.

I always have had a very good life full of social gatherings, party’ing, social events. Nobody would have ever guessed that after the party was over I could go to bed, shut the curtains and lie there in my bed crying for no reason feeling really sad and bad.
In my late teenage years, when I finally told people about my depression they were so surprised that I have had experienced these kind of feelings because I have always ‘seemed so happy’.

For a long time I went through life feeling completely and utterly lost and for others this did not make any sense cause I did have a good life. I come from a loving family, I did not have to go through a divorce (my parents are still together), I have a fantastic sister, great friends- so why was I so depressed? I really did not have an answer for this. I felt like nobody understood me and I felt like it would never get better. I was so afraid that I had to live my life in this constant fear that I  experienced and that was a thought that drove me even more crazy. For a long time it was really hard for me to be myself, to be me. Cause who was I? Why was this so hard for me to know? I had a really hard time with accepting myself because I always thought that there was something wrong with me. I was never good enough (for myself) and I became my own worst enemy. I developed a very destructive pattern and way of acting and thinking. Whenever something went good in my life, or well, really well, I waited and counted until the day came till everything fell apart. And when it did not fell apart as fast as I expected (or perhaps on some weird level even wanted) I sabotaged myself and ruined the good things I had going on- just to come back to that point in the circle where I felt extremely sad and depressed again because something again went terribly wrong, not realizing that the only reason it went wrong was because of my own behavior and actions..And the even more weird thing is that this behavior gave me a satisfied feeling because it was the feeling of being in ‘control’. Not realizing that controlling my happiness aka making sure I wasn’t, was not a good thing. It was not satisfying, it was sabotage and it was horrible. But this feeling for sabotage became my drug and I was a huge addicted for this feeling.

That is such a powerful phrase. Invisible diseases are the worst of any because they are not visible to others, people can’t help you either. When your arm is broken it is easy for someone to offer you a helping hand. But when your soul feels shattered and broken there is nobody who can help you as long as you do not ask for help because your shattered soul is not visible for the outside world. For years I have not asked for help. When the therapists that I visited did not work out I just gave up. I thought that it will all just ‘pass’ but how can things pass if you don’t work on them? You just put your thoughts and feelings away and I can guarantee you, someday they will pop out!

MY REGRET- Learn from my mistakes.
My biggest regret is, is that I waited so long to actually handle my issues. The longer you wait the more difficult it actually gets. I never knew what was ‘wrong’ with me and why I could have these periods where I felt so extremely down. In stead of getting help I chose to fake smiles and just continue life. People often say that you should not regret anything, I agree with this statement a bit because if I did not wait for so long I would not have developed myself the way I did now. I feel like a strong independent woman who overcame so many bad things. I may have chosen the difficult route but I got there. However, it does not have to be that way. If you are feeling down or depressed, get help. Talk to someone. Even though the person you are talking too does not feel like someone who understand you, do not just quit your sessions. Continue these sessions because you will get to a point where things will begin to make sense. I promise you this.

I have continued this path for too long. The path of feeling lost and sad without knowing why you feel this way. Nobody did me wrong. I truly was (and sometimes still am) my own worst enemy. I am a perfectionist and sometimes it gets the best of me. I was really hard on myself and I set expectations that were really unrealistic and when I could not meet these expectations I felt extremely sad and I felt like I had to punish myself. In my case I punished myself by not eating. Or by binge eating and than puking after worths because I felt so bad. – When I look back on that version of myself I feel so sad and I wish I could go back in time and tell her that it would be okay, to love myself a bit more and to be milder. That I did not have to be ‘perfect’ all the time cause let’s face it, what is perfect these days?
We are so influenced by the image that is created by social media, magazines, tv etc of ‘perfection’. We live in a world were we always want more and more and it seems like nothing is ever good enough. Feeling like nothing is ever good enough is a very depressing thought I can tell you. Feeling like you are not enough is a thought that can definitely make you go crazy. But why would you do that to yourself? Why don’t you let those things go?

EASIER SAID THAN DONE- but I believe in you
When I look back on the days where I could lie in bed for days in a row it honestly feels like a totally different world. At some point I got the help I needed, I went to therapy and I had very long and intensive therapy sessions for over 1,5 years. I combined this with my ‘normal’ life so sometimes it was difficult to keep up appearances but I did it. What really was a turning point for me was to just ‘surrender’ to my depression. In stead of fighting it and trying to fix it (by blocking and denying it) I surrendered to my depression. I accepted that I felt a certain way because deep in my heart I knew that that feeling would not be a feeling I would have for the rest of my life. I was ready to fight. Fight for myself and fight for my life because I knew deep down in my heart that I deserved a life where I felt happy too. Nobody feels happy 100% of the time, but a good 85% was something I would settle for and not for anything less. I grabbed my depression by the balls and I said that I would kick it’s ass and I did. It was a long journey, one from over a decade but I came to a point where I really think I got it under control. Therapy has taught me so much. I would not consider myself ‘healed’, I still have anxiety and panic attacks but I can deal with them in a healthy way. Also because I accept that side of me the attacks have decreased with more than 90%. Where I would feel panic almost daily for over 10 years I now perhaps have a panic attack twice, three times a year and for me that is a really big step forward.

So next time when you look at my pictures and think that I live a perfect life, know that I don’t, I really don’t. I won’t complain, my life is pretty damn good but I am not perfect. When you look at other bloggers lives or lives of celebs or even the life of your friends, never compare yourself with them. You do not know their full and complete story, you do not know their every day struggles and thoughts. And you do not know what happens behind closed doors. Do you think people will post pictures of themselves, lying in bed, depressed, in the dark, stuffing their face in chocolate? No – of course not ! Perhaps we should do it though, because that would be more of an reality than just flat lays, sunsets and unicorns.  Everyone is fighting their own battle and has their own ups and downs.

If you are dealing with depression too please look for help. Tell your parents, a sibling or a very good friend. Even if you do not know why you feel this way, share your thoughts and ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and you should not be ashamed for your thoughts. Do not wait for over a decade to work on your issues. Grab your depression by the balls too and say I am going to beat you Mtherfcker. Cause you can. And you will. I do believe in you and you should believe in your self too.
Invisible diseases are shitty, sucky and fucked up. But you can beat that thing. You just need to take the first step……

And if there is anything at all that I can help you with, please do let me know.

I will be always here for you, even though we maybe have never even met.

Have you ever dealt with depression? And how did you work on it? 


How to deal with a ‘I feel down’ day during (solo) traveling?

How to deal with a 'I feel down' day during (solo) traveling?

Hey Friends!

YesterdayI had such a stupid day. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and I just felt really sad. The thing about traveling alone is that when you are sad or annoyed you do not have any one to turn to. And yes, I have friends here in Bali as well, even one of my best girlfriends is living here but she had a bad day her self as well and I did not want to burden her with my problems.
At moments like those I miss my family a lot. I am 27, and will be 28 this October but still when I have a bad day I want to be surrounded by my family. I want a hug from my mum, have a heart to heart with my sister and go for a walk with my dad. Is that weird? (more…)