Hi everyone! I am Shreya, and I'm back with my 3rd AMA! Recently, I suffered from acute post-travel depression. Ever since I have been fighting it, and after 7 long months I feel much lighter and braver. Want to know more about it and how I "got over it"? Ask Me Anything!

Shreya Gupta
Jun 16, 2017

So, after 2 successful and fun AMAs, you know that I am a freelance writer and editor. You also know about the trip I took to Kerala, India after which I quit my job. But what you don't know is my struggle with depression post that eye-opening trip! It has taught me a lot, and made me braver, stronger, and happier! Hope to see you on my AMA! :)

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Hi everyone and thanks for joining my AMA! Keep asking and keep sharing some more! Have a gorgeous day! :)

Jun 16, 11:21AM EDT0

How does post-travel depression relate to seasonal affective disorder?

Jun 15, 11:04PM EDT0

Sorry, I cannot answer that since I am not really aware of the other disorder you have compared PTD to in all honesty.

Jun 16, 10:49AM EDT0

But SAD is a recurring disorder and happens every time at the same time of the year, whereas PTD is not recurring or restricted to one time of the year or place in the world.

Jun 16, 10:51AM EDT0

How soon after a trip does post-travel depression typically strike?

Jun 14, 6:21AM EDT0

Depression is very subjective and varied Joseph, and there is no "typical" trait time period associated with it. It purely depends on the person and his/her circumstances.

Jun 16, 10:52AM EDT0

Are there any support groups for those who suffer this issue?

Jun 14, 1:20AM EDT0

Yes, there are numerous online travel forums and blogs that focus on extending help towards those who are suffering. They even have experiences of other travelers to help you relate to and see and try what worked for them to overcome their condition. It is a sensitive topic which many travel blogs sensitively deal with by giving out tips too.

Jun 16, 10:56AM EDT0

Have you tried to raise awareness about post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 10:07PM EDT0

Yes, and in a way also trying to do the same while on this AMA! :)

Jun 16, 11:00AM EDT0

How does post-travel depression differ from a case of jet lag?

Jun 13, 8:29PM EDT0

Jet lag is just a temporary weakness and tiredness that results from sleeping across different time zones. PTD is like any other form of depression is much more grave and impacting.

Jun 16, 11:18AM EDT0

How do you distinguish true post-travel depression from a case of the blues after a nice holiday?

Jun 13, 6:15PM EDT0

Oh I have traveled a lot and suffered a lot of blues, but they are nothing compared to depression. If you want to know in more depth about the distinguishing factors, please read about depression on the internet so that you get the most in-depth and accurate information.

Jun 16, 11:16AM EDT0

How do people react when you say you suffer post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 3:26PM EDT0

Not many understand it, fewer try to understand it. And after my struggle, I personally feel it doesn't matter how others react and what they say. 

Jun 16, 11:08AM EDT0

Do you tend to travel light or pack like a rat?

Jun 13, 12:12PM EDT0

I am a light traveler, hate carrying things around! It is the best way to go!

Jun 16, 11:04AM EDT0

Is anyone doing research on this health issue?

Jun 13, 11:37AM EDT0

I hope someone is! I did my personal research, but cannot say the same for everyone.

Jun 16, 11:02AM EDT0

Do any other ailments go hand in hand with post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 10:51AM EDT0

Did not happen with me, depression in itself is bad enough. However, I did suffer some anxiety attacks on some occasions.

Jun 16, 11:01AM EDT0

Does melatonin or another supplement help with this issue?

Jun 13, 10:36AM EDT0

Sorry, no clue there frankly!

Jun 16, 11:00AM EDT0

What kind of people are prone to suffer post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 9:44AM EDT0

I'd say, people who travel, people who know somewhere deep down they are living their life in all honesty to themselves, who have undiscovered or lost goals and passions, who can never like the routine life and maybe, people like me.

Jun 16, 10:48AM EDT0

How common or rare is the incidence of post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 8:43AM EDT0

It is very difficult to answer this James...some cases never come out in the open, some are never realized for what they are. 

Jun 16, 10:46AM EDT0

Are there preventative measures to avoid a case of post-travel depression?

Jun 13, 7:23AM EDT0

Are there preventive measures of emotional and mental disorders? I will wait for the day when they are known and discovered. Or maybe in the meantime avoid the experiences they are associated with? Does that mean not traveling? I would never take this preventive measure though :)

Jun 16, 10:45AM EDT0

What activities have helped you overcome this issue?

Jun 13, 12:15AM EDT0

Spending more time with myself, by myself. Really listening to myself and re-focussing on what I really want from life. And most importantly, reconnecting with my passions, hobbies and my real self, just through away the mask and weight I used to carry around for the sake of the world - I just accepted I am different and that I want different things from life.

Jun 16, 10:40AM EDT0

How do doctors explain the cause of post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 11:00PM EDT0

Hey Stacey, definitely cannot answer that better than doctors I'm afraid. 

Jun 16, 10:43AM EDT0

Is post-travel depression considered an actual disorder by doctors?

Jun 12, 5:08PM EDT0

It has begun to be considered now, fortunately!

Jun 16, 10:37AM EDT0

Does this disorder deter you from taking further trips?

Jun 12, 3:05PM EDT0

Quite the opposite in fact! It gives you more yearning to go away again. You feel more homesick than ever for the whole wide world! :)

Jun 16, 10:37AM EDT0

How did having post-travel depression affect your job performance?

Jun 12, 2:57PM EDT0

Oh, I wailed like a baby on some days and abhorred it on the rest! I did resign after almost a month from when I came back from that trip. However, I am progressing and very happy and content with my new job and life. I feel calmer and more motivated than ever. 

Jun 16, 10:35AM EDT0

How does exercise and diet affect the outcome for sufferers?

Jun 12, 12:10PM EDT0

Good healthy diet and regular exercise help you keep well nourished and makes you feel cared for. When you eat good, you feel good. The more oxygen you can get in your system the better. Taking care of one important aspect of your life can help you in more ways than one! You will be able to take much better decisions and feel much calm once you feel good in your tummy and body.

Jun 16, 10:32AM EDT0

When did the term ""post travel depression"" first originate?

Jun 12, 11:38AM EDT0

Google may help you there! :)

Jun 16, 10:29AM EDT0

How is a case of post-travel depression diagnosed and treated?

Jun 12, 8:55AM EDT0

That is a very medical oriented question, John! I'm afraid I am not the right person to answer that! Please consult a specialist for the same!

What I can tell you is that try to mould your travel experiences and memories in a positive and creative way and take concrete actions to change your life over.

Jun 16, 10:29AM EDT0

Do you know any homeopathic or alternative medicine cures for this issue?

Jun 12, 8:46AM EDT0

Sorry, no clue there. I tried avoiding medicines during my struggle months.

Jun 16, 10:25AM EDT0

But, please do consult a doctor if you really want to help someone or yourself!

Jun 16, 10:26AM EDT0

How were your private life and relationships affected by post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 8:29AM EDT0

In ways I would never be more thankful for. I changed my life completely after this once I truly understood what was causing me pain and depression. I left my job, and changed my work stream completely -It may not have been the wisest decision, but I have never felt so motivated and purposeful in my life! I realized that not all care about you, and once I recognized the ones who really matter to me, I swore to never leave them. Maybe some things have to happen for you to see the most simple things lying infront of you! :)

Jun 16, 10:24AM EDT0

What is your dream travel destination, if money is no object?

Jun 12, 7:41AM EDT0

Wow...I have always dreamt of traveling to Iceland, the South Pole, Rome and Switzerland (although I have been to the last one once before :p)

Jun 16, 10:21AM EDT0

What ailments are often confused with symptoms of post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 6:53AM EDT0

Some laugh it off as nostalgia, some as jet lag, some as laziness to go to work and some just as boredom. 

Jun 16, 10:19AM EDT0

Does a family history of depression increase your risk of this issue?

Jun 12, 6:43AM EDT0

It certainly may.

Jun 16, 10:18AM EDT0

What are the telltale signs you're suffering from post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 5:46AM EDT0

I quickly list them down

  • Heavy nostalgia
  • Dissatisfaction with normal life and events
  • Tiredness and jet lag
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in your own life
  • A feeling that something has ended and you will never feel as happy or at peace with yourself
  • etc., etc.,
Jun 16, 10:17AM EDT0

What would be a good name for a pill to combat post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 4:25AM EDT0

Sorry, can't help you there. I was never administered drugs for my post travel depression.

Jun 16, 10:14AM EDT0

How can others be supportive of someone with post-travel depression?

Jun 12, 2:36AM EDT0

"Listen". Just listen. You cannot force anything on anyone. Help the person by lending them an ear and a shoulder to rest upon. Tell them it's okay and help them by trying to look at the triggers and solutions. None of us are experts, so keeping opinions to ourselves is better in the long run. Hope this helps.

Jun 16, 10:12AM EDT0

How do you respond to skeptics unaware of this issue?

Jun 12, 1:57AM EDT0

Thank you so much for bringing this here! PTD is a rather less known type of depression and is so much more difficult to bear with and break down because of it. The sadness, grief, nostalgia and reverse-culture shock are not just some "travel blues" like those pesky "Monday blues". 

It is difficult to even bring it to the forefront because it is hard to relate to for people who have no idea what it feels like. So I only discussed it with my closest people and never cared about how I look to others. I have a mantra "Never tell somebody what they don't wanna hear unless they must or need to". So, that's what I followed and only told people what they really needed to hear, my struggle with PTD is not important to everyone and I am at peace with it. :)

Jun 16, 10:08AM EDT0

Are you expected to suffer with this disorder for a lifetime?

Jun 12, 1:01AM EDT0

Hey Misty, well fortunately not in my case. The important thing is to learn and grow from such experiences. These "disorders" are secret blessings to actually bring your life back in "order", or so is my belief. Getting at the root cause and understanding what triggered it and what can help one cope with it is essential, just like any other medical condition. PTD is not easy to live with, and some may have it worse, but nothing lasts forever and life always wins in the end.

Jun 16, 10:02AM EDT0

What is the longest trip you've taken so far?

Jun 12, 12:37AM EDT0

Honestly, my trips have never exceeded 3 weeks! Low on funds you see! :p But the one that gave me PTD was just a 6-day trip and it was enough to turn my life around!

Jun 16, 9:59AM EDT0

Is another trip the best cure for a case of post-travel depression?

Jun 11, 11:43PM EDT0

It is in a way...though some might call it escapism! But honestly, you don't really need a grand, lavish trip. All you need is to find that momentum and feeling of novelty again which can very much happen while you roam around your own city as a traveler! Go out, explore places and stuff, keep connecting with people, and realize that this is not the end! :) 

Jun 16, 9:56AM EDT0

How do you describe post-travel depression to those unfamiliar with it?

Jun 11, 10:54PM EDT0

Hey Andrew! Well. I am no dictionary, but I can tell you what it actually feels like. PTD is something that makes it harder for you to go back home than go away, emotionally and mentally. It's the realization and the sudden shock of the fact that you changed during the course of this travel, but nothing else did, not your home, not your routine, nothing. Everything feels stale and meaningless and no one around can relate to what and how you feel. Quite a lonely place!

Jun 16, 9:52AM EDT0