As most of you know, I battle serious depression. I had been doing really well in the months before we left, with good therapy, a well-balanced if irksome stable of meds, and some new fulfilling things in my life to give me that extra boost.
Collin and I have both worried a lot about me backsliding into depression after moving to South Africa, with the big change in life and the brief disruption in my access to therapy (I brought over 90 days of meds, which should be a big enough window to sort out mental health care over here, fingers crossed).
In the meantime, I’m trying to carefully monitor my moods to make sure I’m staying ahead of depression before it gets the best of me. Trouble is? Moving abroad brings with it a lot of the symptoms of depression.
You sleep all the time. You feel out of step with the rest of the universe, like everyone is breezing through activities that are strange and confusing and exhausting to you. All of your energy reserves for the day can be sapped by something as simple as going grocery shopping.
And you feel so, so alone. And you feel like a huge burden on the few people (or one person) you actually can connect with.
All of this describes me these past couple weeks, and it describes me when I’m at my most depressed. But I really don’t think I am at my most depressed. I think I’m just out of sorts because I’m living in a new strange place that is very far away.
Even though the symptom overlap is coincidental, I worry that feeling like I do when I am super depressed is going to contribute to me becoming actually super depressed. Especially because living in a new strange place hasn’t exactly been easy and isn’t always fun (it’s more like, super extremely fun moments interspersed with long stretches of boredom and feeling out-of-sorts. It’s sort of like M*A*S*H minus the war and the surgery and the preachy messages).
Hopefully my ability to self-monitor my depression levels will return as I become more adjusted generally. In the meantime, chocolate is as effective at alleviating homesickness as it is depression. Did you know that “Smarties” are more like M&M’s on this side of the Atlantic? WEIRD.