Before launching into this week’s barrage of news, I’d like to quickly acknowledge the incredibly positive reception my last post (about depression) received from family, friends and even strangers. Thank you for all the overwhelmingly lovely messages; I’m delighted that people thought it worth sharing.
There are various reasons that this week’s offering is once again late: firstly, I’ve been laid low with a cold which, during one of my fruitless (geddit?) attempts to fix myself with orange juice, rendered me delirious enough to pour said beverage onto one of my increasingly scarce English Breakfast teabags, so I thought it best to wait until my thoughts were more coherent. Secondly, as many of you know, something VERY DRAMATIC has caused my mood to swing 180° mid-post, for reasons that will become apparent when you reach the twist in the tale.
WARNING: CONTAINS UNSUBTLE FORESHADOWING AND EXTREMELY PATHETIC FALLACY. Continue reading
Disclaimer: To reiterate the title, I’m not depressed at the moment! Which is why I’m feeling brave enough to do this post, although as you can tell from the fact I started it last year, it’s been a hard one to write.
Why I’m writing this
Before leaving for France, I spent weeks reading personal blogs and sites like thirdyearabroad.com to allay my numerous fears. This was mostly informative and reassuring, but I was surprised to notice an absence of helpful internet musings about my biggest worry: coping with depression on a year abroad. I’ve therefore ambitiously decided to tackle the topic myself. I can only speak from my own experience, and I’ll focus on the aspects that seem relevant to Year Abroad Stuff, but if you’re interested in more comprehensive information about mental health and depression, I’m sure Google will do an admirable job of turfing up articles.
I don’t expect my opinions to make much of a dent in the internet, but I have a second reason for posting: I strongly believe that openness about mental illness is crucial in raising awareness and reducing stigma, and yet most people reading this probably don’t even know I’ve had depression. The act of publishing this is my attempt to prove that I don’t think it should be considered shameful or taboo.
On that note, here are some of the things I’ve been pondering. I’ll give a quick rundown of my encounters with depression, before looking at the ways it could have could affected a long-distance move, and the strategies I’ve found for managing my addled brain.