It’s possible to be swimming in blessings and still feel like a stale piece of gum stuck to the bottom of a dirty boot.
I never thought of my depression as something to be discussed with anyone other than my doctors. I felt shameful and tarnished and this intimate detail of my life would be reserved for 1 P.M. on Wednesdays when I would see my therapist. I always thought that if I wore the moxie of a female who never solicited an invitation for help I would fool myself enough to metamorphose into the hyperactive, tough as nails, invincible caricature that I deemed as respectable in all of my social and professional circles. But mental illness is not a common cold that eventually dissipates with extra sleep and orange juice. When I realized that it’s possible that the only reason I’m still here is because I have been enlightened by the brave souls stomping out the stigma of mental illness, I felt it was reasonable to contribute to that healing perpetuation myself.
Even though depression can be isolating and feels like what I imagine having your whole body stuck inside of Chinese handcuffs feels like, there are actually millions of other people suffocating with you. Besides that sounding rather sadistic, the world becomes comfortably smaller. That realization literally opens your eyes to an entire world of otherwise petrifying experiences. Truthfully, I would often start crying and have to call my mom thinking about having to do something like go to the post office.
Despite the oftentimes humorous yet debilitating anxiety and depression lingering in my head, a rational part of my brain has always known that diversifying my worldly experiences can be just as beautiful as it is terrifying, and just because my neural circuits are a little wacked out, I should be able to get on with whatever I want to do. In this case, I’m throwing myself into four months in the land of 1,000 welcomes.
Being away from home for four months can seem like a rather daunting task, especially to someone who starts sweating just thinking about squeezing onto a bus at 5 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. But my frustrations with my condition would often lie in the potential that my life experiences would be hindered, so I am in the process of clumsily trampling those possible hindrances.
Separating myself from my comfortable and familiar life with the distance of an ocean is something that would have previously made me uncontrollably vomit. Me a year ago would fabricate irrational scenarios in my head like my luggage spilling out into the streets and swept away by cartoonish wind, which would inexplicably result in me dying in some dramatic fashion. But with help from my family, friends, and doctors, it is now a probability that I will thrive. It is a way for me to translate to myself that I’m not branded by my illness and just because I needed help I am not by any means weak.
I pride myself in capitalizing on the abundance of resources that I gratefully possess as a student dancing through cities of immeasurable possibilities. I have always been fearful of living in an intellectually, culturally, and psychologically comfortable bubble, and I believe that a full immersion in Dublin has the potential to contribute immensely to my personal growth in all of these areas.
Perhaps my experimentation with this blog will allow for myself and others to symbiotically benefit from my opportunity to destigmatize the conversation about mental illness. Even though there are still days that I feel like a cinderblock trying to dance, I am much healthier today and ready as ever to conquer another corner of the Earth.