Moving abroad is something that is seen as exciting and a chance to start over. A chance to escape all of your problems and begin creating the life that you had imagined, right? Wrong. While these aspects can be true, the truth is that no matter where you go in the world, your problems will follow. For me, that problem is depression. Having depression is something I finally accepted about three years ago when I was in my junior year of college at FHSU. It was something that started during college and I was hoping it would end there too. It was difficult because I had always considered myself a happy person and I still do, but sometimes my smile is forced. I found myself very sad all the time and not knowing who I really was. I remember forcing myself to go to therapy and most times just sitting in my therapist’s cold office and crying to where he probably couldn’t even understand what I was saying. Therapy did help but it didn’t solve everything. During my senior year I quit going and I did a great job at sweeping my depression under the rug and avoiding it, not allowing myself to work through any feelings that I had. While I thought I had broken through this barrier, it has recently snuck back up on me while being abroad. I can admit that I have gotten better at “dealing” with it I suppose you would call it, but I also still have my bad days; very, very, bad days. So since it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I would open up about my continuing struggles while being abroad.
- My days exploring new places are counterbalanced by the days I can’t motivate myself to leave my bed because I was up until 4:00AM crying and overthinking.
- Despite living in a new and exciting world of opportunity, which should naturally give me energy, I still feel lethargic on many days because my overactive thoughts are just as exhausting as running a marathon.
- “Talking to someone about it” isn’t easy at home, let alone in a place where you know no one that well and there’s a language barrier.
- Going for walks, daytrips, and other “remedies” can sometimes quit working, just as your body become resistant to a medicine if taken for too long.
- As freeing and liberating as my time alone is; being alone can also be suffocating to the point where it’s difficult to breathe.
- I’d be lying if I said I didn’t come here to “find myself” but the dark part of it is dissecting every detail about myself no matter how ugly it is and then trying not to hate myself in the process. It’s like having an ugly break up with yourself.
- To my family and friends that try to send me comfort and love everyday, my heart accepts what you say, but my mind may never will.
Don’t take this post as a plea for help or a sign that I am only homesick. The truth is that this is my life no matter what part of the world I’m in. I wrote this because mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and I am not ashamed to live with it and will openly talk about it with anyone. It’s time we start taking care of our minds just as we do our bodies when we have the flu or a broken bone. If you know anyone that is suffering, simply be there for them and listen; definitely do not make them feel weak or ashamed of their mindset. It probably took everything in them to open up in the first place and they probably already feel bad about themselves without any added guilt. To those that also suffer and read this post, go easy on yourself and trust that things will get better.