How to Change Your Life in 106 Days (approx.)

As my study abroad comes to an abrupt end, I thought I would post something kind of wrapping everything up as well as update you guys on my last few days.

So as I said in my last post, I went to Barcelona. A beautiful trip where I got to be a Cheetah Girl as well as watch my favorite soccer/football (whichever you prefer) play. I got to go with my good friend, Lauren, who has also been studying abroad but in Germany. Getting there was such a pain in the ass since I missed my flight out and then looked extremely suspicious running around the airport asking everyone if there was a flight out to Barcelona that day. I got there though and it was a beautiful experience. Barcelona is really an amazing city.
Also shout out to my study abroad friends, Meredith and Hannah, for being there for me when I was a complete mess and another shout out to my love, Philip, for being there for me even though we are 3900 miles away from each other. Thanks for listening to my problems as I cried on the floor of the Edinburgh airport and you had a meeting to go to.
It’s nice having great people around you.

Anyways, this past week has been quite hectic. I had my final papers to write and I had to try and fit in everything I possibly could to take in Edinburgh one last time before I leave. It’s been quite emotional. I can’t quite figure out my feelings. I’m excited to go back and see my family, friends and queso dip but I’m also really sad to be leaving this place. Edinburgh has been my home for the past 4 months and I am not ready to let it go. I fell in love with this city and it kind of breaks my heart to leave it. I have learned so much from this city and I feel like it has so much more to teach me. I’ll come back though. I can feel it. Just like how I felt when I came to this beautiful city the first time. It’s a love affair that is not near its end. I grew up a lot here. Being 3900 miles away from a safety net kind of does that. It’s the closest thing to real independence that I’ve felt and it’s terrifying. It’s been interesting.

I decided to study abroad because a part of me wanted to run away from everything back home. I thought I could leave behind my problems. I got too uneasy and I got too scared. I told myself it was a new experience and it would be good for me and it was all those things but I’m also starting to realize the only reason I did it was to just press the restart button and hide away from my feelings. Before coming here, I was very unsteady. I wasn’t very happy and I felt like I was lying to myself about everything. I was simply pretending to be happy and none of it was real. I stopped feeling and I became extremely numb to everything around me. So I wanted something to wake my sense and just reset everything and it did. In a sense it did work but in a sense, it was foolish of me to try and run from, well, myself. Depression doesn’t just disappear because you run from it. It follows you everywhere and it’ll hit you stronger than ever because it smells fear. I learned that. In so many different ways. I’m a better person for it though.
It’s been about 2 years since going to the hospital. I really thought I would be so much better by now. It’s still a massive uphill battle. I feel like everyone just expects me to be 100% cured because I went to the hospital and did the whole lot. So I kept pretending to be 100% cured when I wasn’t. I think it made everything so much worse. I got panic attacks more frequently and I never used to get those so that was real annoying. I think I have insomnia now, which is also real annoying. It’s all just a ball of annoying and I’m over it. So I left. I packed everything and decided to leave. I was done. But shit follows you and it all hit me at once. All the emotions I kept hidden hit me all at once like a damn freight train late for a delivery or something. It’s not a pleasant experience, let me tell you that.
So I finally realized that I don’t have to be 100% cured. 5 days in the hospital isn’t going to cure years of depression. I don’t know why that was so hard to understand for me. I also realized that it’s okay to not be okay. I didn’t have to pretend all the damn time. It’s okay to feel things. It’s okay to let people in. It’s okay. I’m not broken. I’m not damned. I’m just going through some things. It took me 106 days and a plane ticket to Scotland to realize that.
If you ever feel like studying abroad, you should. If you feel the urge to take the opportunity, you should. That pull you feel means you are just itching to become something greater than yourself. Studying abroad is a beautiful experience that thrusts you into a situation where you have to depend on yourself in ways you won’t understand until you do it. You take that step and it’s life changing. I came to Scotland hoping for an escape but I simply met a part of myself that I never really knew before. That sounds real cheesy but it’s the truth. So far looking back on my experience, studying abroad was probably one of the greatest decision I made for myself. You learn a lot about yourself. You realize what you’re capable of.
I don’t know if I’m going back a stronger and better person. I don’t know if I’m more grown up or wiser. I just know that it was worth it.¬†Everything that has happened to me prior to studying abroad and the actual studying abroad part, it was all worth it. It was worth the tears and pain I felt before. It was worth getting smacked in the face by my own faults. It was worth the battle. It’s been a challenging semester but it was worth it. It was all worth it. Because in the end, it was an amazing time. I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I’ve met some amazing people and experienced amazing things.

Thank you, Edinburgh. Thank you so much.

-jl

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