Hello again, world! part 2
Almost seven years, however, I decided to go back home–under not so-pleasant circumstances. Looking back, I’d say it was clinical depression that did me in. I think it started after I had two major surgeries to deal with my gallstones and a protracted recovery that almost led to a third surgery. I felt I lost more than my gall bladder in the ordeal–I don’t know. I’d rather not dwell on it.
Before I finally reached home, however, in a period of self-destruction, I burned a lot of bridges–professional and personal. To this day, I haven’t addressed this thoroughly. I regret having done it to colleagues who had been good to me, to persons who’d been very supportive to me, and to friends who took me in without question when I was feeling un-well already. Still, there are some connections I don’t regret losing because I had proven they were, at best–fair-weathered friends.
After arriving, I didn’t step out of our house for almost 10 weeks. I only did when I had absolutely no choice; I had to select the coffin for my father who succumbed to end-stage renal disease. So, the secret was out: I had returned. The grief led me to further wallow in my misery. Christmas that year was hell. And it took me a few months to push myself to enroll in graduate school even if I felt half-ready to go back to school. I thought school work would somehow distract me from my depression.
I wish. By the time I went back to school I think I had actually become bigger than when I arrived. The commute from home to school fatigued me so much that I spent the first 5 minutes of my arrival at school inside a toilet cubicle to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my face and arms. And who knew school work could be so traumatic? The 18 years between undergrad and grad school certainly didn’t help me. Add to this the intimidating culture of my school.
It seemed that I spent the entire first semester coping with the physical, psychological, and intellectual challenges of grad school. I mean, my grades sucked! I had never received grades this low in my previous life! I wasn’t faring well, socially, either. My classmates were friendly enough. However, I found it hard to trust people–after everything that happened.
In spite of myself, I was able to make a few friends while in grad school. I have chosen to stay behind–with one course to take on the summer term before I can finish my course. Some of my new friends finished their courses this year. Some others will be with me in the end.
And now, in the lull between school, I slowly find my way back to work. I take on few projects–only the ones that do not frighten me for one reason or another. I have taken steps to deal with my obesity. I’m reading books again. Writing, as well. And on some nights, I allow myself to remember good memories of my life in Cambodia.
(To be continued)