How Leaving New York City For The Countryside Cured My Depression

i thought i did everything right. I graduated from university and graduate school at the top of my class. i got a good job I worked my way up and delayed starting a family so I could become financially independent…And I was absolutely miserable.

I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed most mornings. I had no energy, no appetite, and felt worthless for whatever I accomplished. Depression is like taking a big gulp of air in the middle of the ocean before the next wave knocks you over. You never know if you’ll make it back to shore. It’s a relief to be there.

I tried everything to overcome my depression. My Kindle was littered with New York Times best-selling self-help books. I went through repeated use of antidepressants, which only made me feel like a zombie. I even flew to Peru to do ayahuasca, one of the most powerful hallucinogens in the world and reportedly useful for mental disorders. It felt like putting a Band-Aid on a spurting wound. I’ve grown accustomed to the idea that this is life and not for being happy.

What Causes My Depression?

I knew I didn’t have the chemical imbalance that my doctor told me.I was depressed because my life was terrible and needed an overhaul. undermines chemical imbalance theory and gives weight to the idea that it is our environment and choices that perhaps bring us down. It is easier for us to modify our behavior and environment than for a Trojan horse to remain in our biology.

I loved my job, but my clients and life had no boundaries. I missed weddings, baby showers, and birthdays because I made the most money on weekends. Also, he didn’t want to miss a single $3,000 commission. Most of my personal relationships have been toxic and have dug further dents in my self-esteem. I lost motivation. My health was affected by the rapidly increasing stress levels. I suffered from bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, colds and gastroenteritis every year. I didn’t know my values ​​or what I wanted my future to look like, so I let everyone into my life.

I didn’t know my values ​​or what I wanted my future to look like, so I let everyone into my life.

I know I am not the only one who has lived like this. I have introduced the apartment to so many clients who share similar feelings. They were burned out and stuck at work. Life felt meaningless. They failed to keep their relationship stable or healthy. We were living in an epidemic of despair, and no one seemed to know how to get out of it.

solution for my problem

Then, in April of 2019, fed up with it all, I cleaned out my apartment in four days and left New York City. In May, I bought a dilapidated 115-year-old farmhouse without running water and moved to a town of 900 people. Since then my depression has not returned.

In the time I’ve spent remodeling my home, I’ve had time to think about what went wrong in the last decade and why my life improved dramatically when I left New York City. I identified four factors that made a difference for her: creating a meaningful life, realigning with self, spending time in nature, and community.

How we created a meaningful life

I started renovating my house and enlisted my family to help me. I spent months sanding drywall, caulking trim, painting, laying tiles, and learning how to design a home that was a safe place for myself and others. started to have What I thought would come from making money and being successful in a male-dominated industry was instead taking care of my own land, taking care of a long overlooked and forgotten home, and taking care of this world. By the end of that first summer, my writing had improved, my positive mood felt unwavering, and I had a lot of energy.

There are many psychological studies as to why this kind of work creates meaning and, in turn, happiness. Written by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experiencescalled what I was experiencing a “flow state: a state in which people are so immersed in activity that nothing else seems to be wrong.” I was so preoccupied with the task at hand that my brain didn’t have time to think about depression or anything that could go wrong. Gardening, painting, cooking, playing an instrument, or any other hobby that involves (and is consistent with) working with your hands enhances these flow states.

Constantly learning new skills and seeing what I was capable of, my self-esteem began to grow. Rewiring the brain to connect its self-esteem to something intrinsic rather than external, such as kindness, resilience, being an honest person, or not giving up when a new task seems difficult. My nails were black, my hair had dead spiders, and the crevices of my hands were full of dirt, but for the first time in my life, I felt like I was reaching my full potential. Did.

find yourself again

It took me a few years to figure this out, but since moving to the countryside, the energy I embodied has changed. It embodied a darker, masculine energy focused solely on making things and always pursuing them.

In the countryside, as I stepped into the full power of feminine energy, I felt something calm coming to me. In caring for my land and my home, I am empowering the world around me with more nurture, care and love. It was – a trait attributed to women. Away from the pressures and thoughts of the city, I began dreaming of having children and finding a partner who matched the family values ​​I now have.

In caring for my land and my home, I was empowered to nurture, care for, and love the world around me.

I gained strength by developing patience and waiting for things to come to me instead of chasing and forcing them. When I realized that I could create the life of my dreams by receiving what I had, a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Spending time in nature is the way to happiness

I no longer wonder what prompted Emerson and Thoreau to head into the woods and stay there. Spending time in nature is essential for mental health. Being outdoors improves mood, focus, and creativity (perhaps why many famous authors recommend walking when experiencing writer’s block), heart rate, blood pressure, Cortisol (the stress hormone) is lowered.

In this country, the opportunities to get outside are endless. Winter is spent skiing and ice fishing. In the summer, I swim with my dog ​​in nearby streams and lakes, and hike to local waterfalls and lookouts. I recently started beekeeping. On late spring mornings, I head to a hive armed with bee food to keep the bees alive before the first summer flowers bloom.

All the time I spent outdoors gave me time, space and silence to hold and consider my thoughts. , I have a better understanding of the people and things I am willing to accept in my life.

When exposed to this beauty, the smell of smoke rising from chimneys, and the abundance of medicine found in the plants and trees around me, I am filled with gratitude. , is a daily reminder that it’s not somewhere in the future. They are in our house, often right outside our window.

Community building

When I lived in New York City, there was no community. Not only because I put a lot of time into my career, but because relationships were often built on the phase of life I was in. I had real estate friends, club friends, friends I knew from school. Once one of us left these environments, the relationship fell apart. You can have a social life at the ticket gate.

But science has repeatedly found that our communities are the backbone of our lives and well-being. You need a stable relationship to feel.

Here in the mountains, I know all my neighbors’ names. We walk the dog together in the morning. I always make cakes and cookies just in case someone stops by. It’s about sharing a love of nature and the mountains, the warmth of helping each other when you’re stuck in the snow, and handcrafted products. Here sometimes it feels as if time has stopped 100 years before her. Together we breathe mountain air, never leave our phones out, sip tea and watch the world change. It’s a simple life, but we remind each other that it’s the best kind.

Closing words: Be happy forever

I wish someone had told me 10 years ago that my depression wasn’t a failure of my thought process or personality. It’s an opportunity to change routes, find your own direction, and be unaffected by what modern society values.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned living in the country was to listen to my intuition. This may be the surest way to combat depression. Give yourself a chance to reconnect with the wise woman within you, get out into nature, listen to her voice, listen to her direction, and above all know that she will never guide you. please know lost. Sometimes you have to give up your life to hear her voice, but I think it’s always worth it.

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