How A Car Can Help Ease Your Mental Health Troubles


I did not have the best start in college. For one, I wanted to pursue Fine Arts or anything art-related, but my parents thought that was a waste of money and time. No matter how much I said I wanted to paint for the rest of my life, they countered, “You should go on your computer and find how many celebrated artists died poor or hungry then.” They dismissed my idea and made me enter the medical school program, considering I had the GPA for it.

Then, since the university was in California and my hometown was in Ohio, I thought my parents would let me get an apartment or live in a dormitory. I had always wanted to practice my independence and not be surrounded by family members who often told me what to do. However, I forgot that Gran Peggy, my mother’s mother, lived close to the university. The sounds of protest could not escape my mouth when we arrived at her house, and my father brought my luggage straight to her guestroom.

On top of all that, since my heart was not into medicine, my grades began to slip when the school year began. I tried to keep up for a month, but I could not force myself to attend the classes every day. Sometimes, I would only go during quizzes and exams, and I failed some of them. Two months before the finals, I chose to stay at grandma’s house and gave her alibis whenever she asked why I would not leave my room.


Getting A Car For The First Time

One morning, my grandmother shook me awake. I was a little groggy because it was the first time in three days that I managed to fall asleep. She wanted me to go downstairs with her, but I said I was tired (that was true). Still, she pulled me out of bed and towards the window and pointed at something on the roadside. When I looked down, I saw a car with a big blue bow on it.

Surprised, I asked, “Is that for me?”

“Who else will I buy it for?” Gran replied, grinning.


I hugged her tight, smiling genuinely, before running downstairs to take the car for a spin. I kept on driving until I could no longer see houses, until I felt lighter than ever. And I thought of how having a car could help ease a person’s mental health.

It Can Take You Away From Your Problems (Literally)

One of the things that I hated the most when I was depressed was my inability to leave my depression hole (a.k.a. my bedroom). I spent two whole months there and only went out a couple of times to buy snacks and keep Gran from noticing that something was wrong with me. However, it felt like I would not be able to get better until I left that place. Unfortunately, I did not have a job back then and lived off parents’ money, so I could not afford to move out of my grandmother’s house.

When Gran gave me a car, though, my entire perspective changed, and I felt a renewed sense of hope that I could get away from my problems. Instead of moping around in my room, after all, I could drive towards the coastal road and watch the ocean. Instead of feeling miserable all day, I could leave the house and do something fun. I would not need to come back until it was nighttime, and my mood would have improved by then. 


It Is An Excellent Distraction

Before the finals came, I felt a desire to fix my grades and pass the last exams for the semester. Since I pretty much drifted for months and did not pay attention to any class, I had to cram four or five months’ worth of lessons in my brain within two weeks. I know it was awful, but I had no other choice if I did not want to start all over again.

After a week of studying non-stop, I wanted to give up again. But then, I saw how dusty my car was and thought of cleaning it by myself. So, with the water hose, soap, and sponge, I scrubbed the grime off every surface of the vehicle. I even found an old toothbrush that I used to make sure the tires would be as good as new afterward.

I realized then that cleaning a car took much effort, but it served as an excellent distraction. In the two hours that I was doing it, I did not think of the humongous piles of books that I had to read – I just focused on removing the dirt off my car. When I went back to the house later, my head no longer felt congested with information, and it became easier to go through my lessons.


Fast Forward To 2020

I cleaned up my act and became a full-pledged neurosurgeon, thank you very much. I barely passed my subjects during the first semester, but I worked harder than ever from then on, and my GPA never dropped again.

As for my dream of being a painter, I still did it. I bought a canvas and cans of paint one weekend, realizing that I did not need a Fine Arts degree to make it happen. Some friends saw my artworks, and they helped me find a curator that would like to put them up in an art gallery. Hence, once or twice a year, I would hold an exhibit and send all the proceeds to charity.

My life would not have turned out like this, if not for the car that my grandma gave to me.