Tag Archives: mental-health

Quitting Writing

My husband thinks I should quit writing for a while.

He said he thinks it makes me unhappy. He told me tonight while I was in the middle of a mini nervous breakdown that had me crying on the floor of our bedroom for a couple of hours.

I love writing. The only time writing doesn’t make me happy is when the crippling self-doubt kicks in, when everything I write sucks and I’m not getting better fast enough. I know it takes time to get good, but I don’t have time when everyone else is already good and I need to make money to pay bills.

I hate my job. I can’t get a better job because my stupid Japanese still isn’t good enough despite years of studying. And while I’m barely pulling in any money, my husband is basically supporting us both, and I feel guilty. He’s smart and very capable and works so hard, and he deserves someone stronger and more mentally stable than me, someone who can share financial burdens equally.

Since we got married, he’s used every bi-annual bonus to help pay off my student loans, and the guilt kills me.

If writing makes me unhappy, it’s only because it feels selfish.

He thinks I should quit writing and take Japanese lessons so I don’t waste my time here. But I already created a deadline for the story I’m working on. I’ve already made a goal to write every day of the year. And enrolling in Japanese classes would mean I’d have to work longer hours to pay for it.

But taking classes might be the push I need to reach a level of Japanese that will let me get a job I like, one where I can earn more. And then maybe the guilt will go away. I just hope I don’t forget about writing along the way.

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Filed under Japan, Personal, Writing

Choo Choo, All Aboard!

I’m not sure what just happened, but after a week of feeling happy, positive, and motivated, including this morning, I had a miniature meltdown.

It came so suddenly and hit me hard like a speeding train. I felt so hopeless and couldn’t stop crying. I felt alone because I barely saw my husband this week and was alone all day despite the fact that it’s Saturday, because my husband had a work event. I felt angry at my husband for leaving me alone. I felt overwhelmed with anxiety about the work week starting again on Monday, despite the fact that I’m currently working only two days a week. And I felt like trying to write was pointless, that I’ll never get better, even though I spent all morning making progress and feeling good about my story.

This meltdown is technically still happening. I’ve managed to stop crying and pull myself away from the couch, but it feels like anything might start me crying again if I’m not careful. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m trying to reason my way out of it, because there’s no reason I should feel this way.

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October 5, 2013 · 5:31 pm

Depression and Clarity

English: Silhouette of cranes and buildings, B...

Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three months ago, I realized my hearing had suddenly gotten worse. I had to keep the TV at a higher volume, and my husband needed to repeat everything he said, which annoyed both of us. After visiting a specialist, it was decided my ears were fine. But I knew something was wrong since my hearing had decreased so suddenly, so I turned to the internet and found the cause was probably my new antidepressants.

At that time, my next appointment with my doctor was only a month away, so I didn’t want to go through hassle of trying to go in sooner. But I didn’t want to deal with hearing loss anymore since I thought I knew the cause. So, I did what everyone knows not to do, and I started to cut my dosage.

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Is It Just Culture Shock?

Every time I write about my feelings toward Japan, I worry I will start sounding like this guy and people will begin to hate me. Well, here I go.

Last week I wrote about losing interest in Japan. I’ve lived here a year now–two if you include my year in Nagoya in 2009–and it’s been five years since I started studying Japanese and about Japan in general. The easy answer for what I’m experiencing would be culture shock… but is that really what I’m going through?

Loneliness, Part 1: Old friends

When people experience culture shock, many mention feeling lonely because they don’t have the same group of close friends and family that they did back home. When I was still in the US, all but two of my friends lived far away, so we were already used to using the internet as our main way to interact. As for my parents, my relationship with them was and is nearly nonexistent, so nothing has changed in how I interact with friends and family.

In fact, I’m less lonely now than when I was still living in the US. Continue reading

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Filed under Japan, Personal

Losing Interest in Japan as an Expat

YokohamaThe more time I spend in Japan, the less I’m here for my own ambitions and the more I’m here because this is where my husband is rooted.

Whenever someone finds out I majored in Asian Studies in college, they say, “So you could become an English teacher?” Definitely not! (Those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter might not know that I teach English and very much dislike it.)

When I chose to study about Asia–specifically Japan–it was not with a post-graduation career goal in mind. You see, growing up, I learned nothing about Asia. Then in college I suddenly had so much information about Asia available to me. My boyfriend (now husband) was Japanese, and all my friends were studying Japanese, and there was an entire academic department dedicated to Asia. It was new and exciting intellectual territory, and I wanted to learn everything. I didn’t have an interest in using my future degree to become a translator or an international consultant in a large company. I just wanted to explore.

Fast forward to now. Continue reading

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Filed under Japan, Personal

The Dull Clawing

There’s a dull clawing deep inside you. Something familiar but undefinable. An emotion, an idea, a thought that both describes you and terrifies you.

It’s something heavy and deep-rooted. It feels like the very secret of existence, and you want to understand it.

But if you follow it, try to put it down on paper and make it definable, you may fall into the hole. And you fear you won’t be able to climb out.

You fear how that state of mind will affect your relationships, your well-being, your breath.

So you don’t follow it. You go to work on something quieter, something safer, instead.

 

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March 29, 2013 · 8:48 pm

The Quiet Days

Yesterday was one of those days where I just wasn’t “on.” After two busy days with early starts and late nights, I didn’t have the energy to handle anymore social interactions, which was difficult since I had a class to teach.

I spend a lot of time being tired.

I’m capable of being productive, social, relatively energetic. But once I’ve finished what needs to be done, I will retreat into my head. If I have free time after a busy day, I will spend most of it dozing on the couch.

And I feel really guilty about it. I know there are more things I should be doing, but during these days, I’m completely drained of energy and don’t have the will to do anything more than make coffee and eat meals.

That’s what yesterday was.

I think a large amount of the conflict from my younger years stems from my parents trying to make me behave like an extrovert and thinking something was wrong with me when I needed time away from people. I was often scolded by my stepfather for being too “antisocial.”

I also had the same pressure from teachers and friends, and I really wish they could have seen that what I needed was time to recharge. And I wish I had fought a little more to defend myself.

But now I understand myself better–what I can handle and when I need a break–and I’ll keep moving forward. That is, as long as I can avoid feeling guilty about needing my down time.

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