Category Archives: Mental Health

Moving to a new country with a mental illness

I posted recently about moving to Tokyo. And since the move I have been having a lot of good times, but also a lot of down ones.

Moving to a new country is tough even without a mental illness. But when you have a history of depression, anxiety and eating disorders (not to mention some self-harm scars still visible on your arm), the whole process can be even more traumatic.

I moved to Tokyo whilst still on antidepressants which, despite what anyone says about this type of medication, did help. An SSRI can sometimes feel like an anti-shyness pill, and this was certainly helpful for me, as one of the main things I was worried about was making friends.

I brought a six month supply of Fluoxetine from the UK and it is important to remember the following points;

  • bringing drugs of any kind abroad, especially to Asia, can be problematic. It is legal to take a three month supply of Fluoxetine abroad with only a pharmaceutical letter as proof.
  • bringing a larger supply of any medication, such as I did, means you have to check with the embassy and possibly get a certificate. I did have to get a certificate for entering Japan, but overall there were no issues.
  • Think about possible contingencies for getting medication if you run out/lose it. This is important as some countries might not have favourable health insurance schemes.

 

But medication wasn’t the only thing that made moving to another country slightly easier. Here are the main points I advise:

  • plan in advance and know what to expect; I was ready for the cultural shift to Japan because I had done a lot of research and I knew roughly what would be appropriate and inappropriate.
  • This includes food – other countries and cultures can have very different types of food, though western alternatives are also available nowadays. The variety of food is a big part of what makes moving to a new country exciting, but remember to research into dishes that are healthy and you will like so, unlike me, you don’t end up eating junk food for the first couple of weeks because you are unsure what everything is. (I would like to point out here that my reservedness was mainly due to being a vegetarian, and had I been sure that some things did not contain meat, I would have gone for it).
  • Likewise, eat well and healthily as this well always contribute to both your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • plan where you want to live; this is a very important part of moving anywhere. Make sure you pick an area you will like that has your amenities, and consider if a flat share, single apartment or share house is the right way of living for you. Personally, I chose a sharehouse, where I also share a room. Despite my concerns about sleeping in a room with two other girls, I haven’t had any major issues and it means I can live in an area near my work for much cheaper. A sharehouse also gave me the opportunity to make friends, something which I would have found very difficult otherwise. I’m not sure if I will spend my whole time here, but as a transition it is alright.
  • Make sure you have a routine and exercise. When moving to a new country it is easy to feel as if you are on a permanent holiday. But settling into a routine and getting the necessary exercise you need for the endorphins rush is very important for keeping your mental health balanced.
  • Try new clubs and social situations to make friends. Believe me, I am shy, and this was one of the biggest things I was worried about. But you will find that a lot of people are friendly to you and it is important to accept or suggest hanging out. Also consider “MeetUp”. I was skeptical of this beforehand, but the site is actually good for meeting other people in a similar situation as you. And in Japan, most events are free for foreigners.
  • But most importantly, keep in contact with home. I am not prone to feeling homesick, but keeping the relationships with family and friends alive is important for keeping yourself stable and realizing that there is still support in the world if you need it, no matter how far away!

A view on “incels”

In the wake of the horrific van attack in Toronto last month, our attentions have been somewhat forcefully drawn to the online group of people calling themselves the “incels” or “involuntary celibates”. These men (and they are all men) claim that they are genetically predisposed to fail at sexual encounters with women, and ferociously claim in manners ranging from mildly misogynistic to utterly vile, that it is the woman’s fault that they did not have sex.

While I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions, I do wish to express my very own ones on this particularly sensitive topic to me.

Because I too was an “involuntary celibate”, so they call it, well into my mid-twenties. I, however, am a woman.

Now I know what a lot of your first thoughts are – if I had truly wanted to have sex then I could have done, sex is easy for a woman to get, right? And yes, I agree it is perceived that way – now out of my celibacy stage and having discovered figure-hugging dresses, I do admit that it is more often me doing the turning down than the opposite way round. But the latter does happen. Just last month I was sent careering back to the brash confidence issues of my virgin state when on a drunken night out, after talking to this guy and being invited with my friend’s to an after party, I was told that “I was not his type” and that he would rather not waste any more time pretending to be polite to me. I wasn’t fucking expected him to want to marry me, the cunt.

But anyway, my point is that as a teenager I had very low self-confidence and mental health issues, much like a lot of the incel communities of today. And this feeling that I had, whether justified or not (I would like to point out here that I was not fat, I did not have spots and I do not have some hideously disproportioned Picasso face. However, back in the day that is definitely how I saw myself, and worse), directly contributed to my success with the opposite gender.

Boys felt like a different species to me. Especially the good-looking, athletic ones that embody the caricatured “ideal man” known as “Chad”, which incels claim women will always choose over them. The thing is, with girls it’s the same, and, dare I say it, worse. So many girls are utterly jaw-droppingly beautiful nowadays, (owing a little thanks to make up techniques, hairstyles and nice clothing), that it can be hard for an ordinary woman like myself to stand out from the crowd. And believe me, as a fucking self-conscious, shy and awkward, I did not stand out from the crowd. Men would choose my friends. I never got chosen. I still rarely do now based solely on my looks.

So, throughout my entire teenagehood, the closest I got to a guy I was attracted to was when the bus became uncomfortably over-crowded and I ended up being awkwardly shoved up against them.

But things changed in about my second year of university. Because, after years of hating myself and thinking it was other people’s fault that they did not like me, I finally took the initiative to get more thorough treatment for my mental health (which by then included anxiety, depression, OCD and some horrible eating disorders, partly fuelled by my imaginary feeling of constant rejection by anyone and everything).

And, guess what, pretty much the moment I started to change my views and attitudes, things started to get better. I saw myself in a more realistic, yet better light – I wasn’t the most attractive girl anywhere and I probably never would be (the variables change from place-to-place anyway, so it is so hard to understand whether you yourself are attractive or not). However, what I did have was other qualities – I was smart and kind and caring, and that was my natural disposition. Many of these incels are likely to have similar temperaments if they stopped taking out their anger of perceived “rejection” on the world.

So yes, I am unlikely to get any guy that I find supremely attractive; the “Chads” at the bar with perfect cheekbones, charisma and muscles. But I accept that. The people I get learn to view me as the most attractive girl because they get to know me for who I am. And I with them.

I didn’t lose my virginity in university. Not for years after in fact, the insecurities surrounding my youth and hatred of my body and personality were hard to overcome for good, and probably never will be.

But I met a guy years later who all my friends said was not attractive, but who I still bothered to listen to anyway. And it turned out that when I got to know his inner beauty who was one of the fittest guys in any room, despite being slightly overweight and having trouble socially. He has since broken up with me. And the battleground, or meat market as I prefer to call it, was no better on returning. Still beautiful girls who all guys gawk over. Still the handsome guys who will only get the girls.

The difference between me and incels is that I do not blame my lack of success with men on society in general. I blame the majority of it on myself. I found it hard to be confident, but when I started trying and practicing, things got better. I thought I was unattractive, so I didn’t decide to clean myself up and be the best possible version of myself. So of course guys would never go for me. And most of all, I had my sights on the unachievable, when really in actuality it is probably best that I can’t get the attention of those “Chads” at the bar. My expectation has been shifted to find a guy who is genuine, kind and actually likes me for all that I am. And they are out there.

The thought that someone would hurt innocent people because they couldn’t get laid is abhorrent. You didn’t get laid because of your looks or genetics. You didn’t get laid because you are an absolute fucking cunt who did not see that there is more to life than sleeping with the hottest girl. And who failed to see that there is more to girls than sleeping with them.

 

For more information, please see this article: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-44053828