For the past few weeks, I've lived in one of the world's most beautiful countries. Every day has the possibility of adventure; after class I could hop on the bus and go to Stirling Castle, take a train into Glasgow for world-class shopping, or go on an especially scenic walk through Edinburgh.
I haven't done any of that. For the most part, I have stayed in my room, only venturing outside for classes, meals, and the occasional walk around campus.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is being tinged by sadness, or more accurately, depression. I've had depression for many years, but I never expected it to come with me across the Atlantic. The reason is an enigma to me (Culture shock? Homesickness? School system changes?). All I know is that my depression is here and it's settled in for a while.
When you read about other students having the time of their lives abroad, people like me don't pop up. After all, it's not very exciting to write a blog post detailing my adventures in my dorm room. All of the big plans I made for my study abroad experience when I was in the United States have imploded, leaving me with a hollowness I didn't realize was possible while traveling.
It's weird having depression while studying abroad. I feel like I have to keep quiet about my condition, like if I talk about it I will disappoint everyone who's supported me so I could get to this point. So I've wasted away, disguising my sadness through cheerful social media statuses and reassuring messages to loved ones.
I know of places where I can turn to for help, but I'm embarrassed to. I can't imagine going to counseling services and saying I spent a fair amount of time and money to be here, and I'm not enjoying myself.
Although my situation feels bleak right now, I refuse to give up on my study abroad experience. I know that I'm here for a reason, and that reason is to get out of my comfort zone. Throughout the semester I’ll post updates about my condition and share any solutions I find.