My Pursuit of Happiness

A handful of days ago, I was sitting in my friend Mo’s Bangkok apartment in tears. I had come to Bangkok for the weekend to celebrate the birthday of one of my TESOL friends; I had been so excited before leaving Nakhon Pathom for Bangkok–I was convinced the weekend would be fabulous. I recall thinking it might the first weekend in a long time that I’d be excited to go out with friends…

Well. It wasn’t.

Instead?

Instead, I spent the whole weekend feeling incredibly sad. Incredibly homesick. Incredibly lost. While I watched all of my friends have an amazing time, I felt like I was only half there. I wasn’t enjoying myself and all I wanted in the world was to go home…and not home to Nakhon Pathom, mind you–but home to the United States, to Minnesota.

It was only when I broke down at the end of the weekend in Mo’s apartment that the clarity I had needed all weekend came to the surface. “I just want to go home.” I blubbered to my friends. “I don’t know what’s happening to me…but I feel so lost and sad and just want to go home.”

It was in that moment that my friend Sarah looked me right in the eye and said something I knew instinctively to be true: “Britta, you’re not happy here. You’re not even happy with us.”

Her words rang in my head: You’re not happy here. In a matter of moments, the state of mind that had made up my whole semester made sense. Truthfully, in the last few weeks, I had come to realize this. Deep down, I had known that I wasn’t happy in my current situation. I was afraid to admit it to myself, though, because I was so determined to stay in Thailand and live my life as an expat.

Sarah was right, though. She is right. I love teaching and I love my students, but I haven’t experienced a true and lasting feeling of contentedness in Thailand since leaving the emotional high of Chiang Mai. I come home from school at the end of the day and don’t know what to do with myself. I haven’t been successful at meeting Thai people here and more so, I’m finding that I don’t want to. When I do meet up with my TESOL friends, I find myself not wanting to do anything. I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore partier in the slightest, but I do like to go out on occasion–and I have had absolutely no desire to do that at all here. I feel uninspired and lost and although I’ve learned so much and tested myself in many ways in these past few months in Thailand, my life has felt more lifeless than anything. There have been moments, yes–mostly while traveling with TESOL friends, but also instances at school when I had a really successful class or after I’ve had a great interaction with a local in my town–but they have been far and few Continue reading “My Pursuit of Happiness”

When You Simultaneously Yearn for and Struggle With Change (Spoiler: This is Me)

Once upon a time in a far away land (also known as my college town on the Minnesota prairie), I sat in a psychiatrists office–anxious, nervous, and really, really scared. For the past few months, my life had been turned upside down. Since January, I had been experiencing severe anxiety that often times bordered on depression on a daily basis. It was now late March and there seemed to be no end in sight. My mind was going to dark places that I had never experienced before and I was terrified. My life had never before been clouded with so much darkness and I had no idea how to cope.

Furthermore, I had no idea why this was happening. At this time, I was in the middle of my third year of college and I knew that, in a year and half, I’d be graduating. I was, admittedly, quite nervous about my unknown, post-college future. I had also come out of an extremely unhealthy relationship a few months prior. That said, I couldn’t understand how my previous relationship or my nerves about the future landed me in such a dark place, questioning my very existence daily, hourly, every single minute of every single day.

So, there I found myself in the psychiatrists office. Looking for help. Looking for answers. I had been in counseling at my university all semester and though it was helping, I wanted something more. I had tried anti-anxiety medication and within a day of taking the first pill, I became so severely depressed that my mind and body felt numb to the world. I could barely function and I was terrified. I went off the medication as quickly as I started it; I needed something more and medication wasn’t my answer.

So, I found myself in this psychiatrists office where, after an hour-long appointment of questions and discussion, I walked out with a diagnosis–though I was told I would need more than one Continue reading “When You Simultaneously Yearn for and Struggle With Change (Spoiler: This is Me)”

Dear Doc…Or, a Birth Control Story

I was put on “the pill,” as they call it, in October of 2009.

Early one fall morning–the morning that my third attempt to earn my driver’s license was scheduled, in fact–a nasty, gut wrenching ovarian cyst erupted within me. Oh man, was it painful. I don’t think I’ve ever been in as much pain in my life. I remember writhing around on the couch, clutching the right side of my abdomen, wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

Well, needless to say, my license would end up taking one more month to obtain because that nasty, gut wrenching ovarian cyst, which I was worried might be appendicitis at the time, landed me in the Emergency Room.

Fast forward a week or two to my first ever trip to a gynecologist. A lady doctor. At 16, I felt so adult to be visiting such a doctor. At 16, I listened as my brand new gynecologist explained to me the benefits that birth control could have on my body–not just that it would help prevent further ovarian cysts erupting, but that it could help with acne, it would make my periods lighter, and of course, the obvious–it would keep me from pregnancy.

At 16, I was three years away from my first sexual experience and I sure as hell had no plans for sex in the immediate future…but lighter, regulated periods sure sounded nice and I couldn’t deny the fact that another ovarian cyst eruption was not at the top of my “to have happen again” list. So, I went and filled Continue reading “Dear Doc…Or, a Birth Control Story”