The Challenges of Living Abroad

By Yvonne;

I am currently living abroad and have been for nearly three consecutive years. My home country is the United States, and I have only been back for one visit in 2019. I started my journey in South Korea in 2014 and have been back and forth several times since then.

I have struggled with mental health for as long as I can remember. However, I mostly “had it under control” until mid-2019. I now know that I probably didn’t have it under control at all, but 2019 was a bursting point for me. I had neglected my needs for long enough, and it was time to pay.

I remember after having a particularly bad breakdown, a trusted superior of mine asked me if I would be better off back home in the United States. After all, mental health care was more “widely accepted” there and a bit less stigmatized. I truly weighed the pros and cons, and decided, in the end, that I wouldn’t be happy even if I changed my environment. While the environment was a huge stressor in my life, I knew that the stress of uprooting myself again would make things worse.

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Where to go? The struggle of disassociation and fear.

Fear, hopelessness and sorrow can cause us to try and separate ourselves from society, not just out of self-protection but, also, self-detachment or disassociation. It can be difficult to take any action because we lose touch with our self. Without the guidance of interests, passions and hopes, inertia can result.

I don’t know much about myself at the moment, but, I know that I sometimes am interested in reading and, also, history. I question myself whether these interests are just another means to avoid action and enable disassociation.

Moreover, they’re not consistent guides, as, for example, my choice of reading is irregular and depends a lot on chance. Lately, I have been mostly moved to leave my home for either walks in nature or to attend places of historical memory, especially, museums or cemeteries. In one case, this was triggered by reading a biography of a famous writer. I still don’t have a sense of taking necessary and important actions and have doubts about why I am doing things but, I do feel that these interests are worth holding onto for me.

Continue reading “Where to go? The struggle of disassociation and fear.”

What No One Tells You About Traveling and Depression

By McKenna;

Depression and I go way back. When I was around 12, I noticed I felt incredibly sad for no reason at all. At least at the time, I thought it was no reason at all; now as an adult, I can see that years of bullying and low self-esteem had taken a toll.

And even before depression, there is another friend I must introduce you to (I need to use up these nine wine glasses) . . . let’s give a warm welcome for social anxiety!

How I look so fondly of those years where I was too scared to pick up the phone, order my own food at a restaurant, raise my hand in class, and stand up for myself! How I cherish those moments of feeling like I’m balancing myself on two moving tectonic plates as I say hello to a stranger!

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An Interesting Lyft from the Airport – stereotypes and self-understanding

By Christina Juyoung Byun, a college student in the US, and first published on her site.


I arrived in Chicago O’Hare airport last night at 10:03pm and was ready to pay for an overpriced lyft back to Hyde Park. Typically in lyfts/ubers I am not one to strike up a conversation with the driver–not that I’m necessarily opposed to it– I’m just nervous and don’t know what to say. I confirmed the $63 lyft, plugged in my headphones, and cued music for the 40 minute drive. The lyft driver arrived and was kind enough to get out of the car to help me load my giant luggage into the trunk. Once I was in the car he started to strike up a friendly conversation with me, which I didn’t mind after hours of sitting silently on a cramped airplane. Although I didn’t mind, I’m always nervous to talk to strangers. It’s a more recent development; one that’s come from paranoia/anxiety around bad experiences with strangers this past year, and a healthy dose of social awkwardness. 

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