Wry Exchange

Dear Wry – I’m Miserable
09-18-08, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Depression, Exchange Students, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: , ,

 Dear Wry,
Im an exchange student in my second month of a year long exchange in Sweden.
i googled homesickness and look at this, a the second link site about homesickness for exchange students, and you even write about the 3 month slump, where you settle back into what seems to be inevitable, repetitive an boring day to day life. you nailed it with – “the family sometimes annoys them, school is boring, and their lives are almost what it would be if they didn’t go on exchange. Except they’d be back home with their friends, families, and pets.”
I actively hate my host parents, but luckily, because im with rotary ill switch in 4 months to a reallylovely host family. but for now im stuck with these people i hate, a mother who i think is kind on some levels but is rude, tactless, and controlling, and a father who creeps me out, and it super annoying. Ive realized that highschool is highschool everywhere, and the people are still 16-18 year olds, my town is small, people here are super shy and its hard to make friends, esp with the language boundary. Even if were easy, is super difficult too find people who really interests me.
but going home is not an option, and i know i need to stick it out, and it will improve, it has for everyone else and i am a social creature so i know i will make friends, but for now im incredibly lonely and im startíng to feel homesick. and i know that ill need to keep active to keep it at bay, but my school offers no clubs or extracurricular activities.i guess i dont really have a straight question you could answer im just pretty desperate for something to make me feel less like how i feel right now.

Dear Rose,

if you ‘actively hate’ your host family, MOVE NOW.  Tell your Rotary counselor.  If you don’t get help from him/her, tell your Rotary counselor back in the states.  Rotary has very strict rules in place.  If your host father gives you the creeps, that’s a huge sign it’s time to get out.  This is YOUR year, ½ of it shouldn’t be with people who make you miserable.   This is unacceptable in a Rotary program.

Are other exchange students near you?  Are any former exchange students around?  Does your Rotary program have meetings, language lessons, or trips available to you?  It’s normal for European schools not to have extracurriculars, but is there a nearby gym you can join?  Are there any sports clubs?  If your town is small, can you take public transportation to a different town to explore?  What do students in your school do for fun?  Find one kid a day, and try to talk to him or her.  They’re probably intimidated by you. 

 I added you to my MSN Messenger list, if you use it, we can chat later.  Keep in touch.


How is Your Exchange Student?

 How is your student doing?  If you are a FES abroad, how are you?   Is life good?

Physical Self-Are the headaches going away?  Are you getting enough sleep, but not too much?  Has your stomach adjusted to the food?  How is your weight-stable, or are you gaining/losing weight?  Are you getting enough exercise? 

Mental Self-Can you help yourself when you’re lonely, bored, sad, or homesick?  Are your language and comprehension skills improving?  If you take medication regularly, do you remember to take it?  Do you have someone to talk to?  Do you feel strong and confident?

Emotional Self-Are you crying for no reason?  Do you get frustrated and feel like you just can’t think?  Are you slowly distancing yourself from ‘home’ to your new home?  Are you enjoying yourself?

If you need help, ask for it NOW.  Don’t wait.  It’s much easier to fix a small problem now than a big mess later.  “Things will get better” isn’t always true.  People want to help you.  We all know this is one year-your year.  You aren’t alone.

Culture Shock Again

From last year:  Is your student homesick, depressed, or bored?  The students have been in their new countries, including the US, for 6-7 weeks now.  They are over the initial culture shock, and they are able to communicate in their new languages.  They should feel comfortable within their host families, and have new friends.   Everything should be wonderful.  This is supposed to be “The Best Year of Their Lives”  But sometimes, it’s not.
 It’s the second wave of culture shock.  Their lives have become routine.  What the students are doing now is what they’ll be doing for the next 8-11 months.  The realization that they are living in a family with rules, the family sometimes annoys them, school is boring, and their lives are almost what it would be if they didn’t go on exchange.  Except they’d be back home with their friends, families, and pets.
Solution?  Keep them busy!  The kids should have all sorts of activities going on.  They should be playing some type of sports, or getting exercise of some type daily.  The students should join clubs-Drama, Language, 4-H, Scouts, Chess, Swim team, etc.  Most of the kids should not come home from school and stay  all night.  (Sparky, P, and Cle were all content to stay home often, but they were happy.  They weren’t homesick or bored. Husband and I also didn’t expect them to be our little friends and stay to keep us company.  Some host families want to keep the students all to themselves. That’s not healthy for anyone.) They are exchange students to learn the culture of their country.   Let them visit with another exchange student, or invite one overnight.  The student should see his counselor regularly.  The exchange program should have activities at least once a month for the kids.  The host family should plan activities with the student; they don’t have to be expensive-go for a hike, go fishing,  or yard sale shopping.  Take the student to a football or volleyball game, and permit (shove) them to sit with friends and go out with the others after the game.   Take the student to help volunteer-She can coach younger kids, he can visit senior citizens.  Anything to take their minds off of themselves.

Bipolar-I’ve been cheated!
04-21-08, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Depression | Tags: , ,

From the advice column Annie’s Mailbox:
Dear Annie, I was so grateful to see that you mentioned angry moods and increased energy as episodes of mania in bipolar disorder.
I was diagnosed with depression in college and, despite various medications throughout the years, continued to struggle with extreme anger and an inability to sit still. I self-medicated with alcohol. I never considered my moods abnormal, so I never elaborated upon them in therapy. A suicide attempt prompted a trip to a new psychiatrist. I accidentally arrived an hour early, and by the time I saw the doctor, I literally could not sit still.
When the doctor diagnosed me as bipolar, I was shocked. I had depressive episodes, but never happy ones. It is really important to understand that the opposite of the “low” in bipolar is not necessarily “happy.” It could be excessive energy or anger. The diagnosis saved my life, my marriage and my friendships. I finally realized other people were not experiencing the same mood swings. I only wish I could get back the 20 years of not knowing. —Looking Forward in North Carolina
Dear N.C.: We’re sorry it took so long for you to get a proper diagnosis, but please know your letter will surely help others. Thank you.

 Wry here.  Well, that’s me.  I generally describe myself as depressed, not bipolar.  I wouldn’t mind being bipolar if I had the super-happy or really energetic moments.  I think it would balance the lows.  Instead, I get really pissy (my psychiatrist told me I should see a urologist for that.) or have racing, obsessive thoughts.  There are times when I get unreasonably angry, and can’t think straight.  I have to be alone for a while to calm myself.
I’ve been on 75mg of Effexor for 3 months now.  I think that’s a good trial to see how it works.  I saw my psychiatrist this week, and told him I didn’t think it was all that great.  He said many people take 300mg daily.  I’m going to try 150mg for a while.  I usually improve with Springtime.  He also mentioned the strong drugsmeds like Lithium.  Uh, no thanks.  They all have huge side effects, and I don’t think I need to take something that strong.  I’ll go back to the damn Wellbutrin first!

Reader Question…
04-21-08, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Depression, Home | Tags: , ,

 Wry Exchange was originally going to be exclusively about exchange students.  The blog has evolved since I started it last June.  I’ve written about my depression fairly regularly, and now I’m writing once a week about women’s topics from the blog group I joined.
I try to post 5 or 6 times a week, but I can’t think of that many exchange stories to write.  I like writing about depression so maybe other people will see they aren’t alone.  Sometimes I write about my husband, dogs, and travel.
What do you think?  Should I keep this solely about exchange students?  Should I post less?
 I changed the comment settings so you can leave an anonymous comment.  I did keep the ‘hold for moderation’ setting.  I don’t want some little shit writing ‘Wry’s real name is Lizzie Borden.’  Yeah, I’m paranoid.

Lunesta & Effexor
04-03-08, 12:50 am
Filed under: Home | Tags:

 The 3mg Lunesta pills really aren’t working.  According to RXlist.com,  people have taken dosages as high as 36mg and recovered from the overdose.  People have taken as much as 100mg in testing without adverse effects.  I’ll see my psychiatrist next week, and ask about upping the dosage.  Lunesta is supposed to kick in quickly.  It’s always taken at least a few hours for me, but now I’ve backed it up to 5:00pm, and hopefully I fall asleep by 2:00am.  That’s unacceptable.  I don’t want to take Lunesta, and drive.  Lunesta is the only sleeping pill I’ve ever tried.  I liked it because while it didn’t help me to fall asleep, it did help with racing thoughts, and more important, if I woke up in the middle of the night, I could just roll over and fall back asleep.  Without it, I can’t go back to sleep for several hours.

I think I gave Effexor an honest try.  It’s been three months.  I don’t like it that much.  I take 75mg, and normal dosage can be up to 225mg.  I want to know if it’s possible that Effexor and Lunesta are ‘fighting’ with each other.   I feel lethargic, but not fuzzy-thinking.  Wellbutrin was better until I melted down with it in January.  Effexor doesn’t seem effective, but it is because I’m a lot better than I was in January.  Clear as mud, huh?

I’m not taking Ritalin or Adderall.  I haven’t taken them since the beginning of the year.  They make my chest pound and face flush, and with the severe depressive episode, they weren’t helpful.  My therapist suggested I stop for at least a while.

See my other drug post.

Depression and Loving Yourself
03-27-08, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Depression, Home | Tags: , ,

 “Why I Love Myself” is this week’s topic on the blog tour.  I’ve been obsessing and avoiding this post for several days.   I have Depression.  I don’t love myself.  I think I’m worthless, and wouldn’t mind dropping dead tomorrow. I can remember first wanting life to be over when I was in middle school.
 I also have Dissociative Disorder, which for me means I compartmentalize things.  The normal, rational part of my brain realizes I’m ridiculous.   I’ll be fine as long as the healthy part stays stronger than the sick side.  Regular readers know January was bad for me, hell, I even wrote a suicide note one night.   I got to my psychiatrist quickly, to change and up my happy pills.  

I’m married to the best man in the world, I have made a difference in hundreds of students’ lives over the years,  I love our exchange sons and they love me, I have understanding, wonderful friends, 2 great dogs, no major bills, and travel often.  I have it good.  I am appreciative.   And I hope next week’s blog tour assignment is all about pink fluffy bunnies and rainbows.

ETA: I’m not pathetic.  Depression is part of me, but I hope I’m not whiny about it.  I’m not miserable.  I laugh often, and enjoy making others laugh.  I don’t walk around with a black cloud over my head.

Other stops on the women writers blog tour include AllyKat’s Alcove, The Absent Minded Housewife, And then there were three, Chrisnada’s Journal, Fat Angie, Heartstart’s Journal,  Hijinks’s Shenanigans, Housewife 2000, How can I live life in the fast lane if all I’ve got is a bicycle?, la_eme, life in the land of maeve, Ramblings, Ramblings of a Grad Student, Seven angels, three kids, one family, Space Age Housewife, Such is Life, Tales of an Ordinary Life,  VeryContraryWhat’s my life? , and me- Wry Exchange.