Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I studied abroad in Spain for 3 months last winter. While I was there, I had 2 major (and a few small) emotional breakdowns, episodes, whatever you call it when all of the sudden everything is crazy in your mind and body and you can't mentally or physically handle it. After a lot of discussing we came to the conclusion that the cause of these breakdowns was a mixture of a few things:
1. Extreme Jet Lag (1 day of traveling through 8 time zones)
2. Change of medication dosage (who would do that while they're in a far away country with nobody they know?? I must say, in my defense, my doctor did suggest it. Just saying.)
3. Extreme change of habitat. I went from sweet loving roommates who shared the same faith to a family still grieving from losing their father and who had recently apostatized from the faith i still thought was true.
These episodes were the lowest points but there were weeks of intense insecurity, self-doubt, doubt about everything I ever believed in, excruciating loneliness, frivolous spending (which I'm convinced affects our health-mental at least), and even anger at God- that is if I believed He existed. I was not the me I had been all my life. Every foundation I had built my identity on was rocked and threatened to crumble into nothing.
(In a future post I'll tell you how I got out of that shaky place. I'll tell you one thing though, during my first "episode" all that I could say or think while I was on the bathroom floor on the verge of ripping all my clothes off (weird effect the episode had on me) was "I love you Heavenly Father and I know you're with me." And I did, then.)
So, with that background information, the post I wanted to write will now make sense;
(In an email I wrote to my Study Abroad director/instructor/friend/counselor/psychiatrist/doctor/mother after our Spain Study Abroad reunion)
"Thanks so much for a fun reunion! The food you made was great and a sweet reminder of Spain. And the memories everyone shared literally made my heart ache to be there in the Study Abroad again.
Isn't it funny how much more we see and understand after an experience. I definitely enjoyed it while I was there (minus the emotional episodes) but now I wish I could go back and get to know EVERYONE more, rather than the few I really bonded with.
Without intending, I think I allowed myself to be somewhat introverted and only opened up to a few people (you being one of them.) I think that happened because I was less sure of myself than I think I ever was in my whole life. Now, I would be happy and even anxious to open up to and learn about EVERYONE in the group, but I just was not in the state of mind to do that then... too bad. But, it's OK, because I've learned from that and that's what life's about, right?"
Little pic of me smelling a flower in Spain. Yes, this was staged, by me.
Us studious students getting some work done in a foreign land.