Rainy Days in Japan (Literally and Figuratively)

Millie Koong
October 26, 2016

Hello, world! It's been a while since my last post - this post is going to be an explanation and a quick summary of my life these past few weeks.

At the beginning of every school year I am always 100% ready to study and organize my life into perfect squares, I have my calendar ready for the next 20 years, everything I own is highlighted into oblivion, I'm ready to succeed. This first month always goes really well! September always goes really well, and I'm always incredibly proud of my self. When October rolls around, though, that stone of Sisyphus always rolls all the way down, steamrolling me over on the way.

It's a bit embarrassing to talk about because no one but my close friends really knows about any of this, but I have depression and I always forget about it until it rears its ugly little head. Every October the rush of preparing for school runs out and I end up lying in my bed for days unable to get up. I was really prepared for this to happen again, but surprisingly it didn't? I've never been so happy (maybe manically so?) in my entire life, I haven't been confined to bed, I'm living a really good life overall. I think that in compensation for my being pretty happy I've just been ignoring all of my responsibilities. My subconscious logic is something along the lines of, "If I don't think about my problems, they won't exist!" So I've just been ignoring everything that could possibly lead to my thinking seriously about my mental health again. My computer is the one thing that reminds me of all the times I've been stuck in bed unable to move because I've spent so much time just staring at the blank screen in bed, so I just haven't touched it (On the bright side, I also haven't been on social media, so really it's like I was doing myself a favor?). I've also been avoiding most of my friends because it's somehow so scary for me to show people that instead of the very loud, always laughing Millie I try to present, I'm actually very tired, always crying. It's exhausting to be constantly wanting to just disappear but still performing this version of Millie that's still class clown, still exuberant. I guess that's part of why I keep going to the same three areas in Nagoya - adding new experiences on top of performing an entire persona would just be too much!!

On Friday we had our IES Abroad mid-term session, which is what brought me down to reality. All the IES Abroad kids had a meeting where we talked about our feelings*, how we were adjusting to Japan, and such. It was a really good meeting, and I got to eat pizza for the first time in 3 months at it, but the whole time I felt like I was being beaten by bricks around the skull with the words "STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF**" imprinted on them. I took a day this weekend to just stay inside and talk to friends even if it was difficult, make short (so I don't get overwhelmed, lol) lists of things I should do to feel myself again, and eat a lot of chocolate. It's hard because I feel like every moment I spend not doing "something cool" is a moment I'm wasting while i'm in Japan, and I'm always anxiously planning out my entire future, but I'm finally doing things I need to get on with my life so it's worth it. :-) Today is also the first sunny day we've had in a few weeks so it really is fate or something, I guess.

I guess my final point is that even when I'm in Japan away from my therapist, I'm so glad to have met great friends here that I can talk to about anything. I miss my friends at home a lot but it's somehow just not the same trying to talk about my feelings over Skype than it is in person. 

Anyways, this was a bit hard to write about so I don't think I gave mental illness in general any justice because it really does take over your entire life, but I hope this can help anyone worried about mental health overseas. It's fine! Everything always works out in the end! I'm glad I came to this point in the middle of the semester rather than the end!

Also, here's a picture of myself that I call "That Hot Depression" because that monster is dealt with and I can finally live my life in a carefree way again, just like this mannequin (you can find her in a mall called Skyle in Sakae). :-) Just gotta keep dealing with it in the same ways that I've figured out I should and life will be easy peasy!


*During this meeting people talked about how they wished the IES Abroad bloggers would write about Real Relatable issues, so here it is, [unnamed]! Love/appreciate you!

**I know this sounds strange but I always feel incredibly fatigued and then justify my ignoring all my responsibilities with, "Well, I'm depressed, so..." and then just never think my problems ever again so they all snowball into one horrible abominable monster.

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Millie Koong

<p>Hi, I&#39;m Millie! I&#39;m a Southern California native currently studying Critical Social Thought and Asian Pacific American Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I love film, art history, and the Food Network - join me as I eat my way across Japan (and hopefully learn some things along the way).</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
Mount Holyoke College
Asian Studies
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