Monday, September 13, 2010

Transition Shock

So, having a little bit of trouble accepting my decision to come here. Living life much of the time feeling like I've had the rug pulled out from under me and I just can't seem to find my feet. Kicking myself because I am the one that pulled the rug out from under my very own feet. Who does that? What was I running away from?

My normal support system is so unreachable at times (and a special shout out to Julie and Kelley and Anne and Judy who have gone out of their way to let me know you are still there. Thank you! Without your precious contact I really would be completely lost).

In my effort to fight the desire to crawl into a closet and drink myself to death I am trying to help myself by figuring out what is happening to my psyche. Good old Google (though it is probably obvious to those of you looking on from the outside) has identified this as a process which I must go through. Definition: Culture Shock. Since I have never shied away from experiencing different cultures, embrace our differences, somehow I just thought I'd be imune to that. mmm nhmm. No such luck.

Wikipedia is a good place to start. Though depending on what you chase, there are from four to ten stages of adjustment in moving overseas and experiencing culture shock. There are also as many different time frames to expect to move through these stages, and, like all life processees, it is not a linear process. I get to make progress and digress...step forward...fall back.

My gem for today, from Wiki

Transition shock
Culture shock is a subcategory of a more universal construct called transition shock. Transition shock is a state of loss and disorientation predicated by a change in one's familiar environment which requires adjustment. There are many symptoms of transition shock, some which include:

excessive concern over cleanliness and health
feelings of helplessness and withdrawal
glazed stare
desire for home and old friends
physiological stress reactions
getting "stuck" on one thing
excessive sleep
compulsive eating/drinking/weight gain
stereotyping host nationals
hostility towards host nationals
Note: I score myself with varying degrees of all 14. The "one thing" I am finding myself stuck on is a feeling of abandonment by so many of my good friends back home. There. I said it. And as I mentioned above, there are those of you who are giving such good support that you are the reason I remain tethered. You are also the only ones I think that are even bothering to read my blog. This is also a familiar symptom of depression (and self pity). Life goes on for everybody else. They are not stuck in this world of the unfamiliar as I am. I try to quiet those voices in my head that say "I guess (fill in the blank) has forgotten entirely about me." "I must be easily replacable as (fill in the blank) seems to have already filled in the spot in their life I used to fill with something else." A symptom of the homesickness is thinking constantly about the people I left behind so I am thinking and missing all the time. Life goes on for those who didn't change it up. It's my bad...not theirs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you've diagnosed yourself very accurately. Now, what to do about it. Well, the first step is acknowledging. You've done that. I think the second step should be to make a plan. What is something new and different you could do? Is there a native craft you could learn? What about getting a start on that novel? I have every confidence that you will pass through this period. I SO appreciate your introspection and honesty. I am proud of you, and I love you.