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Study abroad, intense overwhelm and depression

( i didn’t expect this to be so long but i just kept going, sorry if there are typos or its confusing. you don’t have to read it but if you do I appreciate it greatly)

it feels like every aspect of my life is completely different and increasingly being complicated by both my real life circumstances and the way my mental illness manifests.

im from colorado and moved to germany to study abroad a week ago.

eating? i had covid in december and currently everything tastes the same, and that taste is AWFUL. i get so hungry but i can barely take more than a bite before i get too disgusted. PLUS… im in a completely new country… so :)… food is different! they don’t have my comfort foods. i can’t get my mac and cheese, my burritos, my fast food, nothing. i can’t find iced coffee anywhere. i have found some tortellini that isn’t /too/ bad and there’s a mcdonalds down the street. but it just makes eating so hard.

my sleep has been ok, but my room gets insanely hot and i can’t stop sweating between like noon and 8 pm.

friends? i have a couple good friends at home and we used to play video games every night but the time difference has made that basically impossible. my schooling also doesn’t start for another 3 weeks so it’s not like im making friends in class.

speaking of that, i was supposed to start an orientation course a week ago, but there was a mess in communication between me, the scholarship program funding my study abroad, the german university, and the local organization helping organize my housing. Basically, i wasn’t officially accepted for study abroad until late June, 6 months after I applied. after that, i received minimal communication as to exactly how im supposed to go about coming to germany and studying correctly. the process wasnt as similar to how it works in the US as I thought it was going to be. I got instructions on how to ‘register’ for the university which is different from ‘enrollment’. This overwhelmed me and I wasn’t as proactive as I couldve been. I assumed that I would have to register and enroll before I could sign up for the orientation course. but before i could even register, I had to be accepted to the university, which didn’t happen until august 15th because the study abroad coordinator is notoriously ‘lazy’. i don’t know a better word for it, but he was unhelpful. I learned that the registration for the precourse itself was also due mid august. I could have signed up for it if I realized this, but I was overwhelmed, without assistance, and unaware of this mismatch in dates. so now I feel bad because these people are paying for me to be here but I am not even in the orientation course. I told them and they haven’t said anything. I just hate the thought that they are mad at me or that im doing something wrong based on my own ‘laziness’.

the orientation course helps ppl practice their german and helps them finish their ‘tasks’ like make a bank account, get insurance, register for semester courses, etc. This would have been INSANELY helpful for me. but they didn’t let me enter the course late, which feels bad.

for the first few days i was insanely overwhelmed by all of the bureaucratic tasks i had to do because I didn’t fully understand what was expected of me and i didn’t wanna get kicked out or denied of experiences like i had been of the orientation course.

i am a little less overwhelmed by this now, as i have a lot of contact with people from my home university that are helping me, which i am so appreciative of. however some of this stuff requires me to go to public offices or print things out. i don’t have a printer and the thought of finding a place where I can print, and then doing so gives me massive anxiety, let alone going to public offices that might take 30 minutes to get to. (i only have my legs and public transportation, which is good, but still can be scary in a foreign country to figure out). i wish i could list every single thought i have but i dont know if thats possible. PLUS i have to do all of this by certain deadlines and a lot of the times it feels like im doing this on my own because the program sending me is extremely unhelpful. like i said though, my home university has stepped up and that is more comforting.

i am here studying german studies, history and education. I am incredible insecure about my skills in communicating in german. ive been studying it for 7 years in the US and i just feel like a big dumb idiot. it feels like i can only get 30-40% good at something before I cap out and my brain just cant do it. It’s so frustrating. In video games I only ever get to silver ranks. in german i can only remember a certain amount of things. sometimes i looks up the same word 50 times and still cannot remember it. its so disheartening that everything i do feels like this, especially the thing that I am majoring in. I am majoring in german. this is my 4th year. i should feel confident but i just dont.

i made a call to the international office of my german university to ask them questions and, in german, i asked ‘can i speak english or do i have to do german,’ just because i wanted to make sure that my questions were understood and that I could understand this woman’s answers. She said we could speak in english and i asked her a bunch of questions about the registration process. she seemed frustrated and told me this information was online, but I had read this information online about 100 times and could not for the life of my fully understand what was expected of me. She then asked me what I was studying and I said “I am study german as a foreign language,” to which she responded, “youre studying german and cant speak german?”

this. felt. awful. because I am so insecure about it. I just wish i was better. I can say a lot of things in my head but when it comes to conversation i just choke and I feel like such a god damn idiot. i always assume people see me like this, just in utter confusion about my lack of skills. “why can’t he do this?” “why can’t he do that?” and I just wish I could force my brain to be better but I just can’t.

on my first day, I went to the store to get some groceries and, in german, I asked the employee, “are there bags that I can buy or use?” but I didn’t know the german word for ‘bag’ so I said ‘bag’ in english. she just said ‘what’ and couldn’t understand what I was saying and laughed at me. I felt horrible. why can’t i do something so simple. my first interaction in germany went so horribly that i got laughed at. it made me scared of germany, it made me scared of the germans. at this point i am just horrified to do anything, even go buy food. it doesn’t help that everything smells and tastes bad. so i just have this scary and intimidating and overwhelming association with living here so far.

i did have some better interactions, especially after seeing spanish-born (for lack of a better term) people communicate with store clerks in english seemingly with little to no anxiety, they were just trying their best and getting by, in english, so why couldn’t i do so in german?!

i went to mcdonalds yesterday and was able to ask for chicken nuggets, fries, I asked if they sold iced coffee, to which they said NO (i just want some iced coffee omg). and I did the same at another coffee shop today. It just sucks that im scared to really do anything. It feels like the germans hate me, they are waiting for me to mess up. Im scared to talk too loud at the mcdonalds counter if there’s other people behind but i want to talk loud enough to be understood. how am I going to survive in a university course??? if getting food is hard to do without crying. will i look like absolute dummy, going to this prestigious german university? my home university is very forgiving and understanding, but so far germany is really scary and strict.

for this first month i am staying in an apartment with another student around my age, and his aunt occasionally stays here as well. this living situation makes me incredibly anxious. i dont want to overstep, i dont want to understep. i wish i was this perfect roommate who made good conversation, but only when it was appropriate. but im mostly either in my room or going on a walk cause im just so anxious to do anything. i dont want to come across as mean or ungrateful but :///. i don’t know all the rules or customs, i don’t know if im doing something wrong. and my roommate is very nice but i dont want him to feel a burden to be my friend or show me around. i would appreciate it, but i don’t want him to think my german experience relies on him, but i also have no friends and nothing to do until october! on october first I move into a different housing accommodation, where i think i will be alone and can relax a little. but this makes registration with the bureaucracy a little tough and moving again is kinda overwhelming. plus then i will have to face the horrifics of starting classes in german.

on top of all this, life feels impossible without a guy being interested in me. i am 24/7 thinking about what i look like, how i come across. this was true back home, its been true my whole life. but it feels like here everyone is so attractive. everyone fits into the perfect expectations of what the gay community deems as ‘attractive’ to be pg. it just makes me think of my ex. i think of him all the time. i wonder if i fucked up, because he really tried being patient with me and my mental illness. he would tell me im enough. sometimes i think i deserved to be more than just ‘enough’ and that there was a reason we ended. but right now it just doesn’t feel like im going to find a love where i feel unique and special and truly truly loved, simply because im not this perfect person. i don’t have the skinniest body. i have body hair, which in my experience is not something the gay community loves. i am getting older. i am 21. my ex and i met when i was 18 and he was 22. when we broke up i was a couple weeks away from turning 20 and i asked him if he wouldve been interested in me if i was older when we met and he said maybe not. this has absolutely wrecked me since i heard it. how could my youth be so important to someone who was supposed to love me. but then i wonder if im misinterpreting the situation and if i missed my one chance at being loved. we spent so much time trying to make it work and i think he was really trying. i used to think i deserved more than what i got in that relationship but now i don’t know. now, the patience he had and the time he spent listening to me and the hugs he gave when i was crying sound really really nice. i havent met anyone since him that felt like they were looking at me in my eyes, and not just evaluating if i was worth having sex with or not. and dating isn’t easy for me. i have a lot of these issues that hurt me every day. but i also have hpv, which i seem to have gotten from birth, but its complicated.
i cant just date around and sleep with the whole town to try and make myself feel better. (lol). i cant do anything more than kiss someone without disclosing things. it sucks. i just wish i could live a normal dating life and not be haunted by fitting into ideals and age brackets and body types and stds that i can’t do much about. like truly, what if he was the only person thats gonna love me like that.

I used to be okay with the thought of not being loved for my whole life. i used to find value in being alone and showing up for myself. it used to be really fulfilling. but now it doesn’t. now i feel completely alone and undesired.

i know i have people at home that are there for me if i need, and i use to find a lot of comfort in that as well. but right now i feel completely without support. i don’t feel supported. i don’t feel loved. i don’t feel appreciated. i dont feel understood. i don’t feel desired. i don’t feel cared for. i don’t feel ok. i don’t feel like i can survive alone. i don’t feel like talking to anyone could help. i don’t feel like distracting myself would help. i don’t feel like exercise would help. i would just be hoping i get skinny enough to be desired.

i can’t see my therapist anymore because she’s based in arizona and im based in colorado, but living in germany. the thought of finding another therapist here is just so low on my to-do list i don’t think i can even get to it.

i have problems with dissociation. ive had them since i was a kid, as long as i remember. i feel completely dissociated right now. i am in a foreign country. im scared to talk to people. eating is hard. im walking on eggshells everywhere. im scared for the near and far future. no one is showing interest in me. talking to people at home is hard because of the time difference. i am just completely disconnected right now. all i want to do is tell my ex that its hard. i think he would understand but i can’t. i cant talk to him like that. i just wish i could cry to him about it while he held me like he used to do.

things are just so so hard. i don’t really see any hope right now.

if u read this far. i appreciate you taking the time to listen to my current ‘story’ and every little thing that is on my mind.

4 Likes

Hey, I just want to start off by saying you have SO much going on, I’m not surprised you’re overwhelmed!
It sucks there was a miscommunication, I’m sorry that happened.
Could you speak with the person you’re living with about things? They also may know where to get iced coffee if you do! I know it’s scary living in a new house with new people, but you may even end up good friends.
With the finding information hard, is this new since you had covid, or got worse since you had it? I only ask because covid brain is real, a lot of people including myself have had the covid brain fog, if so I think it’d also be worth speaking to someone at your university about, hopefully they’ll understand.
Please don’t be too hard on yourself, I have friends that have lived in England years, with English as their second language, and they still forget some words in English. I’m so sorry that the person was mean and laughed, it doesn’t make you an idiot though!

Please, before you jump into anything with anyone, concentrate on your studies. Obviously you can do what you like, but 21 is SO YOUNG. I’m a 31 year old single mum, if you’re “getting older” I’m a dinosaur :joy: but honestly, I understand how tough it is. I won’t lie and say I know what it’s like having hpv, because that must be super difficult. You don’t need to compare yourself to others though. You have so much time to meet someone. Remember, if you’re looking for a relationship, it’s not easy to find “the one” with so many people out there, relationships will fail, it just means they weren’t right for you and what you need.
You’re loved and appreciated here. And while you said you don’t feel like talking to anyone would help, you came here. Did just typing it all out help a little?

Do you suffer with eating disorders? You can be desired no matter what your size, and honestly, I was less loved at my anorexic small size than any other time. Your size doesn’t matter, it’s what is in your heart that matters.
Remember things will get better, and this time next year you’ll be in a completely different place, and you’ll be aceing it! :heart:

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thank u for this :smiley: it definitely felt a lot better to write everything down, it feels like there are a million things to be considering and with the time zone difference its hard to talk to people back home. It also sucks that my friends don’t seem to notice that I’m trying to reach out to them because of how lonely I feel, but maybe I just need to be more communicative about that.

I have had brain fog my whole life but covid and all this stuff definitely hasn’t helped hehe. I’ve had a few good days where things have been making more sense. I’ve had many successful german conversations, however difficult. I went to the library and tried to print important documents but the information desk explained to me the things I have to do before I can access the library. though I didn’t fully understand everything this very kind woman was saying, I understood the gist of what she was saying, and she said it all with a smile which really helped.

In my head I know that I am young, and having experienced a break up a year ago, I have learned a lot about love and how hard it can be, but how much it helps you grow, whether it works out or not. But in my experience the gay community often has a special focus on age and weight and sex, which can suck. But sometimes I can realize that if anyone comes into my life again that is worth falling in love with, despite the risk of… a lot of pain… that they won’t care about these things and will have my best interests in mind (hopefully)

I have never formally been diagnosed with an eating disorder but there have been times in my life, especially in my last relationship and during the breakup, where I did my best to eat as little as I could. That’s part of why I get nervous to exercise because I often fall into a pit of trying to maximize my weight loss and stop eating.

things are still a little tough, but I have been having good moments. I’ve learned about a starbucks about 10/15 minutes away and have mastered ordering an iced mocha in german. maybe at some point someone will show me how to get iced coffee elsewhere. but I am finding a bit of comfort :slight_smile: .

Thank you again for your words and attention. I always know that even if I don’t feel supported by my family and friends that I can join the stream or talk on the forum. everyone is so understanding.

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